When Craig Custance of The Athletic told Drew Doughty about the “Superclass” of defensemen scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in 2019—a group that includes the aformentioned Kings’ defender along with Erik Karlsson, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Ryan McDonagh and Ryan Ellis among others—all he said was “I didn’t know any of that.”
To be sure, even if Doughty didn’t know about the long list, general managers around the league will have noticed long ago. Obviously, many of these players will be re-signed long before free agency even comes close. Each of them is eligible to sign a contract extension on July 1, 2018 and likely will as soon as they’re able. Others though may take some time with their decision. When you’re talking about contracts that could push eight years and $80MM (or even higher), players often want to know exactly where the team will be when the deal starts.
So which of the those five is most likely to make it to free agency? Each have been core players with their respective teams for many years, but each have different situations surrounding them. Ekman-Larson is in the midst of another disappointing season in the desert, while Ellis has been criminally underpaid for several years. Make sure to explain why in the comments below!
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