Top 5 UFA left on the market
- The NHL free agent market opened one month ago today and there was plenty of cash thrown around and faces headed for new places.
- Even with all those contracts signed, there are still plenty of potentially helpful unrestricted free agents available on the market.
- Let’s take a look at some of the Top 5 UFAs still available.
5- Brian Boyle, 34 yrs old
- The hulking 6’6″ Boyle led all remaining UFAs with 18 goals last season.
- The 34-year-old has slowed down a bit, but he was never that fleet-of-foot to begin with.
- Boyle is an excellent penalty-killer who had a positive effect on the Devils’ shorthanded operations over the last two seasons and who was notably given a feel-good All-Star nod in 2017 following an injury to Taylor Hall.
- Boyle recorded 145 hits last season.
4- Patrick Maroon, 31 yrs old
- The hometown hero finds himself without a home in August.
- Priced out of a cap-crunched situation in St. Louis, Maroon was deemed expendable by Blues GM Doug Armstrong and is unlikely to be re-signed, according to the Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford.
- Finally having achieved his career goal, Maroon may have sought out a payday this offseason, but it seems unlikely to materialize at this point.
- After a shaky 28-point year, the 31-year-old Maroon has less leverage today than he did one summer ago, but he showed during the Blues’ playoff run that he still has the capability to contribute in the right role.
- One wonders if a certain team in Calgary, going all-in on physicality and ex-Oilers of a certain vintage, might be looking to rekindle its previous rumoured interest in this particular power-forward.
3- Tobias Rieder, 26 yrs old
- Like Boyle, Rieder can help your penalty kill, but he saw a sharp drop off in production last season with the Oilers.
- He received Selke votes just two seasons before last, and is only 26.
- In 67 games, the forward went goalless and recorded 11 points. Before last season, he had reached double digits in goals in each of his four NHL seasons with the Coyotes and Kings. Rieder looks like a real bounce-back candidate in 2019-20.
2- Derick Brassard, 31 yrs old
- After spending the first 12 years of his career with three teams (Columbus, the New York Rangers, and Ottawa), Brassard hit a rare in-season trifecta last season.
- He fell off a cliff, though, posting only 23 points and becoming one of the least impactful and efficient offensive players in the NHL.
- One could argue that this was a result of his frequent trades, but it seems that his perilous stint in Pittsburgh kickstarted a precipitous decline.
- At 31, he might have to settle for a cheap one-year deal to try and reset his value.
1- Jake Gardiner, 28 yrs old
- A top-four option in every sense, Gardiner is an unusual talent to be available in August.
- He provides excellent value in the offensive and defensive zones and can easily drive a pairing.
- He may not win any Norris Trophies, but he can play 20 minutes a night, be a power play quarterback, and provide production from the blue line.
- After being met with lukewarm fan reception in his eight years in Toronto, it seemed that Gardiner was destined to take after his wife’s maiden name and “Cashin,” but he enters his 33rd day on the market having been the subject of little rumour.
- Toronto would probably love to have him back, but with Mitch Marner still unsigned, Gardiner is about as much of a priority there as a toenail is to a proctologist.
- Given the quality of the defensemen in trade rumours (see Ristolainen, Rasmus and Brodie, Thomas James), one wonders if Gardiner is the critical boulder suppressing a rockslide of movement.
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