Now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the offseason has officially begun and that means rumor season is well underway. First up on the offseason list is the NHL Expansion Draft (July 21st), followed by the 2021 NHL Draft (July 23rd), and then free agency (July 28th). There’s plenty of talent lined up across the board this offseason, especially among NHL unrestricted free agents looking for a great fit next season. It’s going to be a fun next couple of weeks in the NHL as the chaos unfolds across the league.
Top Five 2021 NHL Unrestricted Free Agents
Alex Ovechkin (Forward)
For the sake of this article, Alex Ovechkin has to be included on this list but he’s either re-signing with the Washington Capitals or playing in Russia. Many expect him to go back to the Capitals and why wouldn’t he? In his 1,197 game career, Ovechkin has scored 730 goals and 590 assists for 1,320 points. He’s done all of this with the Capitals, which will be respected by Washington fans forever. Seeing him play in Russia and not in D.C will break everyone’s hearts around the NHL. Luckily, another round with the Capitals looks like it will happen.
Dougie Hamilton (Defenseman)
With 10 goals and 32 assists in 55 games this season, Dougie Hamilton is sure to get a good payday in free agency. The best defenseman among the NHL unrestricted free agents on the market put together yet another good season, scoring at least ten goals for seven straight seasons. Hamilton finished fourth in the Norris Trophy race for the Carolina Hurricanes. His defense has improved throughout the years and now has become a strong suit on the ice. The 6″6 defenseman is sure to get a lot of offers when free agency hits.
Gabriel Landeskog (Forward)
As important as Gabriel Landeskog is to the Colorado Avalanche, a healthy pay is likely to land him elsewhere. He’s scored at least 20 goals in eight of his ten seasons and has also tallied 30 or more assists in seven of those seasons. Landeskog has been one of the most underrated players in the league but people are finally starting to realize the value he can hold on the wing. The Avalanche surely is talking about re-signing him but he would have to take a pay-cut to do that. There will be a lot of suitors in contact with Landeskog this offseason.
Taylor Hall (Forward)
Taylor Hall is another one of the unrestricted free agents expected to stay with his current team. He was traded to the Boston Bruins during this past season and went on a hot streak. In 16 games for the Bruins, he scored eight goals and tallied six assists. Many say he may have reinvented himself in Boston and it would be smart for him to stay put. There have been talks of the team bringing him back and Hall has expressed interest in staying. He would get some pretty good interest out on the market but it’s more than likely the Bruins won’t let him leave.
Tyson Barrie (Defenseman)
Scoring 12 or more goals in five of ten seasons as a defenseman will get you pretty good looks on the open market. Tyson Barry has tallied 40-plus points five times in his career, with three of them being 50-plus. After looking to rebound from only scoring five goals in 2019-20, he scored eight goals with 40 assists in less game this past season for the Edmonton Oilers. Barrie is a top-four defenseman that proved he is capable of getting back to his old self. He has been durable for the most part during his career and any team that gets him sure looks to be getting a good investment.
Other NHL Unrestricted Free Agents