After the morning news was dominated by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins completing a trade, you might be wondering what is next for clubs looking to improve their lot. While the trade market is apparently open, free agency—set to start in October—is where a number of exceptional names will be available for nothing more than money. Frank Seravalli of TSN breaks down the ten names he believes are at the top of the list, including three different Florida Panther forwards.
Mike Hoffman, Evgeni Dadonov and Erik Haula are all set to hit the open market and it is not clear if the Panthers will try to retain any of them. In fact, it’s not very clear what the Panthers want to do with any members of their team given the uncertainty in the front office. Florida is still on the search for a new general manager, who will have to quickly make some tough decisions (or engage in brief negotiations) with his trio of pending free agent forwards.
- The very top name on Seravalli’s list however is Alex Pietrangelo, the St. Louis Blues captain and one of the best defensemen in the entire league. Pietrangelo actually spoke with reporters including Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic today and explained how much the Blues franchise means to him after a decade manning the blueline in St. Louis. Pietrangelo has always indicated a desire to remain in St. Louis, but in a flat-cap world it’s not going to be easy for the Blues to pull off. The team currently has nearly $79.5MM in salary committed to next season already including expensive extensions that kick in for Brayden Schenn and Justin Faulk. That doesn’t leave room for Pietrangelo, meaning they’d have to clear the deck if they want to bring the 30-year old back.
- Speaking of players who want to stay put, Corey Crawford was clear in his intentions when speaking with reporters today. As Mark Lazerus of The Athletic reports, Crawford explained that he’s “definitely leaning towards staying in Chicago” but that he does want to be a starter still. Crawford admitted that a short-term deal might work for both him and the Blackhawks—which makes sense given the salary cap situation and the fact that Crawford will turn 36 in December.