Free agency this offseason is shaping up to be an interesting time. There are quite a few surprising names and faces on the list who haven’t yet been offered new contracts. While we wait a few more days for the Finals to start, here’s a look at just a few of the top free agents.
I can’t help but feel bad for Hall. He hasn’t yet played for a team with a snowball’s chance in hell to win the Cup. That has to be wildly demoralizing for a player of his caliber. He’s been seen as a potential saving grace for teams in the tubes without anyone to even come close to matching him on a line. So free agency for him could be a chance to find a role on a more successful team. I think in order for him to re-sign with Arizona, the organization would need to show him some proof that they’re going to sign players to better back him. If they can’t do that, it may be the case that Hall moves to a 4th team in 10 years. And at $6mil, he’s a steal, considering he proved in 2017-2018 that he’s capable of a 90 point season.
The Blues may be looking to free up some cap space for re-signings next season. He was drafted 4th overall in 2008 by St. Louis and has never left. He’s at 10 full seasons with the organization, so naturally, he wants to stay. It seems to me that the only way they could afford to keep him a Blue would be for him to take a team-friendly deal. There are very few players who have done such a thing and it’s really only been seen to work when the whole team does the same. And no offense to Pietrangelo, I’m not sure how many teams would be willing to match or pay greater than the $6.5mil he made this season for a 40-50 point guy; Backstrom got the same salary for 70-80 points.
Both the Bruins and Krug have expressed that they’re interested in talking about his future with the organization. The one thing that may be standing in the way is if the Bruins don’t want to give him a long extension. Krug is at the point in his life and career where he wants to fully commit his life to his team. Boston fans may be disappointed to hear that if the B’s front office doesn’t approve of a long-term deal, Krug will consider long-term elsewhere. Personally, I think Boston will give him what he wants (but I’m also wrong often).
I won’t lie, it took me a while to be okay with this one. Holtby has been a fixture in Washington for years. He lifted the Cup for them. But this season was shaky for him and not all of the blame was on the defensemen. With Samsonov looking like he may be ready to be a starting goaltender next season, it makes sense the front office would rather take the younger player for much less rather than re-sign Holtby for $7mil+. I love Holtby, I do, but maybe it’s time for him to move on. He could do good things for many different teams.
Robin Lehner’s best trait is his adaptability. He’s been on 3 different teams in the last 2 seasons and done well on all of them. What it’s going to come down to for him to re-sign with Vegas is money. If the Knights want him back, they’re looking at paying $13-$14mil their two goaltenders total. The tandem style Vegas used this season really worked for them, but I don’t think they’ll find it worth $14mil less cap space for the rest of the team. Wherever Lehner lands, I know he’ll do well.
The theme of this free agency is goalies. There are 5 big names in tendies on the market this fall. There are a few teams, like the Sabres, who could use at least one proven vet in net who have the cap space to pay them.
They may not all be superstars, but there are plenty of players who make big impacts for their team up for grabs this year. Without a real horse in the race, I’m excited to see where everyone falls and how it impacts next season.
-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)
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