It won’t be like any other year in the history of NHL free agency.
For the first time since the salary cap was instituted in 2005, it will remain flat — at US$81.5 million — because of revenues lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. That has left everyone in the dark about what the market will look like and how much players will make when free agency opens Friday at 12 ET.— just three days after the NHL draft.
Goaltenders appear to be in high supply this off-season.
Henrik Lundqvist was bought out by the Rangers and seems ticketed for the Washington Capitals, who are letting Braden Holtby leave. Dallas playoff hero Anton Khudobin, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom, two-time champion Corey Crawford, the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, Ottawa veteran Craig Anderson and Calgary’s Cam Talbot are also all available.
There are other big-name players that have become destined for new teams after not being able to agree to a deal with their current clubs.
Defenceman Alex Pietrangelo will be in high demand and expecting a raise from his current $6.5 million cap hit. The St. Louis Blues captain has been unable to come to an agreement on a new deal with the team he helped lead to the Stanley Cup two seasons ago. The 30-year-old right-shot defenceman from King City, Ont., just north of Toronto, figures to be the biggest prize available.
Taylor Hall was acquired by the Arizona Coyotes from the New Jersey Devils in December, but he looks set to leave the desert. The 28-year-old Hall is the most-coveted forward in this year’s free-agent class and should have a number of suitors.
Defencemen Torey Krug and Tyson Barrie could also be looking for new homes after not re-signing with their current clubs. Krug has spent his entire career with the Boston Bruins while Barrie played this past season with the Toronto Maple Leafs after being acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in a trade last off-season.
The Canadian Press
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