Players to watch as NHL free agency begins

  • Article by: LARRY LAGE ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Updated: June 30, 2014 - 8:51 PM

Signings could happen quickly because of teams could talk to agents and players beginning last week.

hide

Colorado center Paul Stastny will be one of the most-coveted players available when free agency opens Tuesday.

Photo: Ann Heisenfelt, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland is predicting a busy day once NHL free agency opens on Tuesday, simply because teams began talking to agents and players days ago.

“It’s going to make things go quicker because there has been time to mull things over,” Holland said Monday. “On the afternoon of July 1, things are going to happen quickly.”

Thomas Vanek, Paul Stastny, Matt Niskanen, Matt Moulson and Jussi Jokinen are among the younger unrestricted free agents. At least some of them are expected to get long-term deals because they’re potentially entering the prime of their careers.

Jarome Iginla, Dan Boyle, Martin Brodeur and Ryan Miller are relatively productive older players who might be a short-term fit for a championship-contending team.

“The last crop of free agents looked OK, too, this time a year ago and a lot of those players didn’t play up to expectations,” Holland said. “When you give players long-term money, it’s hard for them to live up to the expectations.”

Columbus, Toronto and Detroit were teams that invested a lot in a few 2013 free agents — Nathan Horton, David Clarkson and Stephen Weiss, respectively -- without getting much of a return in part because of injuries.

St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said it is a big gamble to count too much on new players to produce as well as they are compensated.

“Expecting a free agent to come in out of the wilderness and lead your team is not realistic,” Hitchcock said. “The easiest thing to talk about and the hardest thing to find is good chemistry in a team. That has to be developed mostly with players you’ve had for the most part. That being said, there is depth in this class and there are younger players who could swing the balance of power significantly if the right team gets one or two of these guys.”

P.K. Subban of Montreal and other top-line restricted free agents might not get many offers to leave their teams because franchises don’t like to let talent get away even if there is compensation coming back in return.

Here’s a list of 10 players to watch in NHL free agency:

Vanek: The 30-year-old wing played for three teams last season — Buffalo, the New York Islanders and Montreal — and should be able to settle in his next home with a multiyear deal.

Stastny: The 28-year-old center plays a pivotal position in the league and has done it well. He has 458 points in 538 games over eight seasons in Colorado, which would hate to lose him.

Niskanen: On a short list of defenseman available, this 27-year-old blue liner is the catch of the class. He had a career-high 46 points last season for Pittsburgh.

Moulson: Like Vanek, the 30-year-old wing bounced around last season. After playing for the Islanders, Buffalo and Minnesota, he should land a big deal.

Jokinen: The 31-year-old forward averaged nearly a point per game in the postseason for the Penguins after a 57-point regular season, putting him in a position to cash in.

Iginla: The wing had 30 goals last season, tying for the most in Boston, and had seven points in 12 playoff games to prove he can still produce. He turns 37 on Tuesday.

Boyle: The 37-year-old defenseman is drawing interest from Detroit, Tampa Bay and many other teams in the league.

Brodeur: The NHL’s all-time winningest goalie with 688 victories is available at the age of 42 after playing his entire career in New Jersey, where he played in just 39 games last season.

Miller: The 2010 Vezina Trophy winner was 10-8 in the regular season and 2-4 in the playoffs with the St. Louis Blues after spending the first 10-plus seasons of his career in Buffalo.

Subban: A team might make a run at the 25-year-old defenseman with a seven-year offer sheet, but suitors risk tying up cap space for up to a week for nothing because Montreal would likely match it and can give him an eight-year contract.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 70 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
USC 74 FINAL
UCLA 85
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
UNLV 58
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close