What do a 115-point playmaker, 42-goal sniper, Conn Smythe winner and Hart Trophy runner-up have in common? Jonny Goudreau, Philip Forsberg, Evgeny Malkin and Claude Giroud make up the 2022 NHL free agent class loaded with firepower.
That is if they all manage to hit the market when the free agent signing period opens on July 13. It is certainly possible that Gaudreau, Forsberg and Malkin will remain with their current clubs.
The Calgary Flames are about to put all the pressure on Gaudreau, the top suspended free agent available this summer. Gaudreau, 28, is coming out of his amazing contract year with new highs in goals (40), assists (75) and points (115) and could become one of the few point players in every game in NHL history to be open to bidding.
“Pedal down”, is how we’re told the Flames are approaching this exclusive negotiating window with Gaudreau, hoping to lock him up for the long-term with the built-in advantage of being the only team able to offer an eight-year contract. This feature ends at 11:59 PM ET on July 12.
Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators have resumed negotiations once again with play and speed winger Forsberg, who has scored 42 goals this season. The Brides are likely to want Forsberg to fall below Roman Josi’s $9.059 million team salary cap. Will that be enough to keep him? Forsberg certainly seemed to take a long look around Bridgestone Arena after he swept Colorado Nashville in the first round, leaving it to the interpretation that he knew then that he likely played his last game as Breed.
Likewise, the Pittsburgh Penguins continued to move back and forth with their top suspended free agents Malkin and Kris Letang, after acquiring Bryan Rust’s signature on a new extension. They don’t seem close to the finish line in any of those deals – they also have Evan Rodrigues, UFA ranked 29th, and RFA Kasperi Kapanen on hold.
While there was no shortage of offensive talent available in the free agent market this summer, what appears to be missing is defensive prowess – especially if Letang can’t make it to the market.
Aside from John Klingberg (#4), if Letang is out of the market, that leaves Colorado’s Josh Manson (#18), Florida’s Ben Chiarot (#27) and Edmonton Brett Kulak (#32) as the top strikers available. Kulak was a strong addition to the Oilers deadline and is a candidate for re-signing there, although Manson and Chiarot had their moments as they struggled with their new teams.
In other words, if teams need to improve on the back end, the best course of action or acquisition may be on the commercial front.
With just over six weeks, there he is Daily Faceoff’s Top 50 Free Agents in Summer Ranking, which uses information from market sources and information to combine a list of potential impact factors and potential total dollars earned:
PointsBet Canada is officially launched in Ontario! Get more details here!