We’ve already seen over half a billion dollars given out to free agents since July 1st, and many of the top names are off the board. 34 of our Top 50 Free Agents have already signed with teams, many of them to long-term deals. With the summer months still looming ahead of us, we’ll take a look at who is left on the market. Here are the best of the rest for defensemen on the open market:
(number in parentheses indicates ranking on PHR’s Top 50)
- Kris Russell (12) – There were many reports of Russell allegedly turning down a $17MM offer from the Maple Leafs this weekend, but agent Allain Roy made it clear that they were false. While he’s clearly been affected by the analytical approach many teams are employing, he’ll still likely get a large contract as teams miss out on other blueline opportunities.
- Luke Schenn (30) – How far has Schenn fallen, from being a top-5 pick in the draft, to being traded straight up for James van Riemsdyk. Now it’s hard to see him demand much more than $3MM a season to fill a bottom pair role. His age does help him however, as at just 26 he’s one of the youngest available free agent defenseman.
- Kyle Quincey (44) – Quincey was once an integral part of the Red Wings’ blueline, but after seasons plagued with injury and ineffectiveness he’s now looking to rebuild value on a one-year deal. Quincey is a pretty good bet as a bounce-back candidate on a bottom pair, and will probably be on the market again in 2017.
- Justin Schultz (NR) – Schultz wasn’t given a qualifying offer from the Penguins last month, and became an unrestricted free agent for the second time before his 26th birthday (which happens to be today). The former University of Wisconsin Badger signed with Edmonton after college but still hasn’t found his footing in the NHL. Still with huge upside, teams may look at him similarly to Michael Del Zotto from a few years ago.
- James Wisniewski (NR) – After a knee injury destroyed his entire 2015-16 season, Wisniewski was bought out by the Hurricanes last week. While he’s now 32-years old, the “Wiz” was once heralded as a borderline top pairing defenseman, and might still have some relevant hockey left in him. As the prices steadily increase for right-handed shots, Wisniewski might be a reasonable option for a team on a budget.