With the 2020 NHL Draft behind us, the oddsmakers have already released the odds to win the Stanley
Cup in 2021. After a quick review of Bovada, the sportsbook has Colorado Avalanche favored at 8/1. As
we look ahead to the beginning of the free agency period, let’s go over the Top 10 soon-to-be-available
free agents to see how the landscape of the league might change.
1. Alex Pietrangelo, D, St. Louis Blues
It appears that Pietrangelo and the St. Louis Blues will be separating despite year-long talks about
maintaining the relationship. Pietrangelo recently told reporters that contract talks have pretty much
broken off, as the two sides have made very little progress so far. Blues general manager Doug
Armstrong had stated earlier that the math part was going to be the most difficult section of
resigning him. Pietrangelo could now command a $9 million-plus annual salary on the open market.
However, he has not ruled out a return to St. Louis. Pietrangelo could be talking about his free
agency options to put more pressure on the Blues front office. As of right now, it looks like he’s
moving on. If that’s the case, he’ll be a hot commodity as a lot of teams will be looking to upgrade
their defensive corps.
2. Taylor Hall, LW, Arizona Coyotes
Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong said last night that Hall will not be re-signed by the team and he will be heading to the open market.
Hall has made it very clear that he wants to win. He is 10 seasons into his NHL career and has only
been able to make the playoffs two years, and both of those playoff runs ended early. There are
multiple teams that could be interested in Hall’s services, and one might still be the Avs.
Hall has also mentioned that money isn’t everything to him, as he acknowledged the financial strain
that the NHL is going through due to COVID-19.
3. Torey Krug, D, Boston Bruins
Krug is looking for a long-term contract somewhere as he has spent his entire NHL career with the
Boston Bruins. He has stated that he wants to return to Boston but refuses to sign a short-term
contract in order to make that happen. He’s not only a solid blue-liner but an excellent offensive
4. Tyson Barrie, D, Toronto Maple Leafs
The former Av is almost certainly heading into the free agency market this offseason after his short stint with the Maple Leaf’s didn’t go very well. Barrie has said “at this point I have no idea what the
future holds.” So far, all rumors have been quiet about Barrie’s potential destination in free agency.
But it is apparent that he will prioritize chemistry and opportunity when choosing his new team.
5. Jacob Markstrom, G, Vancouver Canucks
Markstrom is in the middle of an interesting situation. Many fans were urging the Canucks to resign
Markstrom but eventually changed their tone completely after rookie Thatcher Demko had an
incredible playoff run. Luckily for both of them, general manager Jim Benning believes in keeping
two goalies on the roster. Benning stated that their motivation for resigning Markstrom hasn’t
altered, as he is expected to get a nice raise after all indications have pointed towards him resigning
with the team.
If he were to hit free agency, there would be many potential suitors for his services. Including the Red Wings, Maple Leaf’s, the Flames, San Jose, Carolina and Buffalo. Safe to say that he has a lot of options to sift through.
6. Mike Hoffman, LW/RW, Florida Panthers
Hoffman is just one of the many questions that Florida has to answer this upcoming season. After
their loss to the Islands in the qualifying round, they had separated from general manager Dale
Tallon. Bill Zito has now taken over the general manager responsibilities and is expected to make a
lot more changes to this team. Hoffman had been looking like a trade asset at the deadline this past
season but ended up not being dealt. He is expected to be a very popular player in free agency,
especially for the teams that are looking to win it all next year. However, Florida may not want to let
him reach free agency.
7. Braden Holtby, G, Washington Capitals
After many years, it is becoming more and more apparent that Holtby will not be in a Capitals jersey
next season. General manager Brian MacLellan recently told reporters that he fully expects Holtby to
reach free agency. He also said that they will remain in contact with Holtby to possibly bring him
back. Holtby didn’t play all that well this past season, not to mention the fact that the goalie market
in this upcoming free agency is much deeper than usual. However, he was able to win a Stanley Cup,
which should definitely be enough to get him signed somewhere.
8. Evgenii Dadonov, RW, Florida Panthers
Here is another big question for the Florida Panthers. Dadanov is coming off of two very solid
seasons in Florida but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get much success during the postseason. He
is arguably the most intriguing player hitting free agency this upcoming offseason and is worth
keeping an eye on.
9. Tyler Toffoli, RW/LW, Vancouver Canucks
Toffoli was able to have a big bounce-back year once he was traded to Vancouver. This was after a
very underwhelming 2018-19 campaign with only 13 goals and 34 points on a bad Kings team. Toffoli
ended up getting injured early in their postseason run but was able to come back out and play well
throughout their playoff run. Toffoli had been able to fit in Vancouver without any issues whatsoever,
and he has made it clear that he wishes to remain there. Looks like the Canucks are going to be
having quite the offseason.
10. Bobby Ryan, RW, Ottawa Senators
He’s getting a little long in the tooth (33) and has battled injuries and off-ice issues in the last couple of years, but Ryan will still generate interest around the league on what is likely to be a shorter-term, shorter-money deal than he’s been used to. He is said to be fully healthy again and might still have something left in the tank, especially on a good team.
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