NHL Free Agency: Top 10 UFAs Entering August
The NHL off-season has come to a screeching halt in recent weeks, but there are still some notable free agents on the board like Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel. Here's a look at 10 of the best UFAs still available:
1. Nazem Kadri, C, 31
2021-22 cap hit: $4,500,000
Kadri picked an incredible year for a breakout season, scoring 28 goals and 87 points in the regular season and 15 points in 16 playoff games en route to a Stanley Cup run. He's poised for a long-term deal, but teams will need to get creative to bring him in.
2. Phil Kessel, RW, 34
2021-22 cap hit: $8,000,000
Kessel quietly had a 52-point season, but the once-consistent 30-goal scorer only managed to score five at even strength this year. At the right price, Kessel can be good scoring depth, but his contract made him a challenge to move at the deadline in an attempt to win the Cup.
3. Evan Rodrigues, C, 28
2021-22 cap hit: $1,000,000
One of the best value players last year, Rodrigues had 43 points in 82 games, a career-best campaign after never breaking the 30-point barrier in his career. Sidney Crosby was the center he played with the most, though, and over half his goals came on the power play. Still, you can at least rely on him around the net, and he shouldn't be too expensive.
4. Paul Stastny, C, 36
2021-22 cap hit: $3,750,000
Stastny is still chugging along, even at 36. You have to wonder how much competitive hockey he has left, but the skilled center can still hold his own defensively and it was nice to see him hit 45 points this year, his best regular season total since 2015-16. It's his age that's concerning.
5. Sonny Milano, LW, 26
2021-22 cap hit: $1,700,000
He'll forever be remembered as the guy that capitalized on the Zegras over-the-net passing play. He had a good season and clearly has a ton of skill, so it'll be interesting to see his value.
6. P.K. Subban, D, 33
2021-22 cap hit: $9,000,000
Much of the negative attention around him was for how poorly he played at his massive cap hit. At a cheap price, Subban might still be a valuable player, but he definitely isn't the player he once was.
7. Sam Steel, LW, 24
2021-22 cap hit: $874,000
Steel couldn't convert an incredible junior career into NHL success, scoring a career-high 22 points over four seasons with the Ducks. He's still young, and the skill is clearly there; it might be worth taking a chance here.
8. Sam Gagner, C. 32
2021-22 cap hit: $850,000
Gagner is a known quantity around these parts -- inexpensive depth help that can score and does anything asked of him. Can't imagine he'll stay unsigned for too much longer.
9. Anton Stralman, D, 35
2021-22 cap hit: $5,500,000
Stralman's cap hit didn't look that pretty last season, but he still managed over 21 minutes a night on a bad Coyotes team. He likely won't do that on a contender, but he can still be decent help somewhere.
10. Johan Larsson, C/LW, 29
2021-22 cap hit: $1,400,000
Larsson didn't play a whole lot last year and has hit the 70-game barrier just three times in his 10-year career, but he put up decent numbers with the Coyotes and held his own in a limited role with the Caps. At a cheap price, there's value here.