With Free Agency kicking off on Monday, I’ve decided to predict where several UFAs will sign.
I won’t be predicting an RFA signings, as most likely you won’t see many offer sheets as there hasn’t been an offer sheet that has been accepted/not matched since Dustin Penner signed with the Edmonton Oilers in July 2017. Plus, we haven’t seen a RFA sign an offer sheet since February of 2013, when Ryan O’Reilly signed an offer sheet from the Calgary Flames. So, this post will only be about UFAs.
Artemi Panarin (Florida Panthers)- Panarin has been making the rounds to Colorado, New York and Florida among other places but this seems to be the place for “The Breadman” and will sign a long term contract to play with Aleksander Barkov and Joel Quenneville.
Matt Duchene (Nashville Predators)- It has been reported that this move is going to happen even though the Montréal Canadiens are trying to sneak in and steal him. Nashville needs offense and Duchene is coming off a strong season and should improve what was an awful power-play for Nashville.
Joe Pavelski (Colorado Avalanche)- Colorado is ready to make another step after reaching the second round of the playoffs and have loads of cap space. They are going to make some noise and this will be one of several moves.
Mats Zuccarello (Colorado Avalanche)- As I mentioned prior, Colorado has a lot of cap space. The Avalanche have to do something with it and adding two top six forwards to go along with their young core would improve things tremendously.
Anders Lee (New York Islanders)- Reports are that Lee and the Islanders are not close on contract negotiations, but the Islanders can’t let another captain go.
Gustav Nyquist (Columbus Blue Jackets)- Columbus is an interesting spot where they are losing some key players, but they still have some strong pieces to help them stay relevant. They have some money to spend and could use a scoring winger.
Marcus Johansson (Washington Capitals)- The Capitals have some players they would like to resign, but adding back Johansson after a disappointing first round exit will help as they enter the end of their contender window.
Wayne Simmonds (Minnesota Wild)- All of the reports are indicating that the Wild are the favorites for Simmonds. General Manager Paul Fenton seems to be willing to pay him probably more than he deserves at this point in his career. To be fair, Simmonds has been playing on an extraordinary team friendly deal for years, so get get your money Wayne.
Jake Gardiner (Montreal Canadiens)- Montréal is looking to improve what was a mediocre power play and Gardiner can put up offensive numbers when used correctly. This will be an odd sight and it will be amazing when he puts in the OT winner in his first game back in Toronto.
Tyler Myers (Vancouver Canucks)- It is has been rumored for so long. It would shocking if anything else happened.
Anton Strålman (Toronto Maple Leafs)- Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is busy with the Mitch Marner negotiations, but he will make some moves on defense. I predict that we’ll see Dubas bring back Strålman to replace Ron Hainsey.
Sergei Bobrovsky (Florida Panthers)- Again, this had been rumored for so long. It would be shocking to see Bobrovsky not head down to South Florida.
Robin Lehner (Carolina Hurricanes)- After having an outstanding season Lehner can go anywhere he wants and the Carolina Hurricanes will need a starter after losing their two goalies.
Cam Talbot (Calgary Flames)-After Brian Elliott resigned in Philadelphia, Talbot needs to find a new place and like so many teams it seems Calgary will platoon David Rittich with someone. A Talbot/Rittich platoon could be a strong one. But, it might be tough for Edmonton Oilers fans to see Talbot wearing a Calgary sweater.
player profiles – hockey-reference.com