As free agency unravels in the NHL, more and more big names get signed to teams. However, some of the better role players in the league remain unsigned.
Where these players go remains a mystery, yet their value still stands. These players have the ability to impact any team on a winning level and should be considered for roster spots immediately.
5. Danton Heinen, LW, 27
Heinen had a decent year with the Penguins, playing 76 games and scoring 18 goals. He ended the season with 33 points, putting him at 8th place on the Penguins’ roster.
Since his 2017-18 season with Boston, Heinen has had a couple of injury-prone seasons that left him as a pretty big question mark for NHL owners. However, this year’s play is an upward trend, and I can see him demanding over $3 million in cap.
4. Evan Rodrigues, C, 28
Another Penguin, the backup to Sidney Crosby had a major year with 43 points on the season. It was a breakout year, with more than 10 points over his former career high.
He is a power play maniac and can shoot from most levels of the floor. His value is immense, and I see a similar price range to Heinen.
3. Phil Kessel, RW, 34
Kessel was the 3rd leading point scorer on the team and managed to lead the team in assists with 44. Although the Kessel of old is a scoring-centric player, the passing ability and consistent point-creator he is helps his case.
Kessel played every single game of the season, showing his longevity hasn’t wavered. At a lower price tag from last season, he should be a great addition to a score-heavy offense.
2. John Klingberg, D, 29
Easily the best defender left on the market, the 47-point scorer was a star for Dallas. His 41 assists were second on the team to Joe Pavelski, and even managed 6 goals.
Even as time passes and his numbers dwindle, he’s still a great defender in the NHL. He could easily demand $5 million this free agency period if a team is willing to pay.
1. Nazem Kadri, C, 31
On an outstanding Avalanche team, Kadri was a bright spot. The leading scorer on this list and close to the leading scorer on his former team, Kadri brings incredible impact to any organization.
Not only did he lead the team in assists with 59 assists, but is 5 points behind first with 87. To be able to battle for a leading scorer spot on a Stanley Cup team, you’re doing something right.
Even as a pass-first player, his 28 goals are still 4th on the team. He is a starting caliber Center for most NHL squads, and I see a $10 million dollar cap hit from his signing. He is easily the most talented and statistically superior player of the UFAs, and I project him to have another good season during his 2022-23 campaign.
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