Today marks exactly a week since the free agency period opened and a lot of big names have been taken off the board. Despite that, there are still a few notable unrestricted free agents left on the market that can certainly help a team for the 2023-24 season. As we get deeper and deeper into the summer, another wave of activity is soon inevitable. Before that happens, here are the best unrestricted free agents still available.
Best NHL Unrestricted Free Agents Still Available
1. Patrick Kane (Right Wing)
Due to off-season hip surgery, Patrick Kane is expected to miss the start of the regular season and could even be out anywhere from October to December. This means Kane will likely wait until he’s healthy to sign with a team. Kane was traded to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline after spending 15 seasons and winning three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks.
In 73 games last season for both teams, Kane scored 21 goals and had 36 assists. He had a disappointing transition after the trade though as he only scored five of the goals with the Rangers and had only seven assists. He also only scored one goal in the playoffs (seven games). Kane has vowed to feel better than ever when he’s healthy and turn it around from last season as he looks to prove he’s still a dangerous player.
2. Vladimir Tarasenko (Right Wing)
Joining Kane on the Rangers at the trade deadline was Vladimir Tarasenko, a sight no one thought they’d ever see. He came over from the St. Louis Blues after 11 years with the team. The tank scored 18 goals last season with 32 assists. Life after the trade went a little better than Kane’s did, as he scored eight goals and had 13 assists with New York. He also scored three goals in seven playoff games.
Despite shoulder injuries that have kept Tarasenko sidelined in the past, he still has a lethal sniper in his arsenal and has looked relativity healthy. The wait for him to sign might take just a little bit longer as it was announced that he changed agents and is now represented by JP Barry and Pat Brisson of CAA, the same group that represents some of the biggest names in the league. This is the first time Tarasenko has been a free agent so he feels change is the best way to get the best deal on the market.
3. Patrice Bergeron (Center)
It has been said that Patrice Bergeron will play only for the Boston Bruins so he will either re-sign with them or retire. If your Boston, re-signing him is a no-brainer if that’s what he’s looking to do. At the age of 37 last season, he played 78 games with 27 goals and 31 assists and still factors in on this team’s first line.
He not only can play on offense but is also great on the defensive side, making him one of the most dominant two-way players the game has seen. If me not saying it wasn’t enough, he has the hardware to prove it as he just got done winning his sixth career Selke Trophy for the best defensive forward in the game. He’s played 19 seasons in Boston and they’d love it if he at least rounded out that number to 20.
4. Matt Dumba (Defenseman)
The best defenseman left still on the board is 2012 first-round pick Matt Dumba. He’s been with the Minnesota Wild for 10 seasons and put up good numbers on offense, having 236 career points with 79 goals and 157 assists. In addition to the offense, he’s a tough defenseman who isn’t afraid to throw his body around when he needs to.
To go along with his toughness, he can play top-four minutes, playing just over 21 per game last season and logging 22 or more minutes in each of the last six seasons. His offense has taken a little dip in recent years, especially last year when he only scored 4 goals with 10 assists in 79 games. While his offense has slipped a little, he statistically improved his defense. Despite the offensive numbers recently, Dumba is still a weapon to have and has the ability to turn it around.
5. Thomas Tatar (Left Wing)
In all 82 games, Thomas Tatar tallied his highest goal and assist total since 2019-20. He scored 20 goals to go along with 28 assists this past season. Tatar has a really good shot that makes him a solid scorer but he can also play on the defensive side as well. He’s an underrated two-way player and that’s a desire for any team in the league.
After an underwhelming 2021-22, Tatar had an important bounce-back season in a contract year that will see him get some interest as we get later into the offseason. One thing that was a concern from last season was his playoff performance, scoring only a goal and having no assists in 12 games for the New Jersey Devils. While that was the case, Tatar’s regular season is enough to show he still has a lot of game left in him.
6. David Krejci (Center)
After spending a season playing in the Czech Republic, David Krejci returned last season and his production showed why he’s still a valuable piece in this league. He still has great play-making ability, showcasing his passing as one of the best in the NHL. He followed up his 36-assist season in 2020-21 with 40 assists last season. Krejci also netted 16 goals and had 4 points in four playoff games in 2023.
Like Bergeron, it’s either return to the Bruins or retire from the NHL for the 37-year-old. Krejci was drafted by Boston in 2004 and has been there ever since, playing 16 seasons with the team. If he were to return, he would solidify the Bruins’ second line down the middle and would be a key piece in the 2023-24 team.
Other Notable Unresticted Free Agents:
Max Comtois (Left Wing)
Jonathan Toews (Center)
Oskar Sundqvist (Center)
Denis Gurianov (Right Wing)
Pius Suter (Left Wing)
Josh Bailey (Right Wing)
Martin Jones (Goaltender)
Phil Kessel (Right Wing)
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