The NHL free-agent market still includes plenty of quality players who could play meaningful roles next season.
Unfortunately for these free agents, many teams don’t have enough salary cap space and would need to make other cap-clearing moves to be in a position to sign UFAs. There currently are 13 teams with less than $5 million in cap space, per General Fanager.
Here are the latest news and rumors involving notable free agents.
Cody Franson (UFA)
Franson arguably is the best player still on the market as a 27-year-old defenseman coming off a season in which he set a career-high 36 points in 78 games between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators.
Franson revealed Tuesday in a radio interview with TSN 1040 in Vancouver that the Boston Bruins are one of the teams with whom he’s talking.
“I asked (Milan Lucic) a few questions about (the Bruins),” Franson said. “With the trade they made with Hamilton and some of the other stuff they’ve done, they’re one of the teams that we’re in talks with.
“Boston would be an interesting spot. It’s obviously an awesome city and they’ve got a great organization and all those things that come with it. Like I said, there’s a handful of other teams, too, and everything’s kind of slow rolling at the moment, and we’re taking it day by day.”
Christian Ehrhoff (UFA)
Ehrhoff being unsigned at this juncture in free agency is surprising. When healthy, he’s a top-four defenseman with above-average offensive skill and the ability to quarterback a power play.
One team with interest in Ehrhoff is the Columbus Blue Jackets, per Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.
“Sources have told The Dispatch that the Blue Jackets and free agent defenseman Christian Ehrhoff have had discussions, and that a deal could come together if Ehrhoff sits on the market long enough for his price to come down,” Portzline wrote.
Columbus upgraded its forward group with the addition of top-six winger Brandon Saad before free agency, but the team’s blue line still need work, and Ehrhoff would provide a much-needed veteran presence with his overall talent and playoff experience.
Klas Dahlbeck (RFA)
The Arizona Coyotes came to terms on a one-year, two-way deal with talented defenseman prospect Dahlbeck, per Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune. Dahlbeck was acquired by Arizona in the trade-deadline deal that sent veteran forward Antoine Vermette to the Blackhawks.
Dahlbeck tallied four points in 23 games between the Blackhawks and Coyotes last season.
Teemu Pulkkinen (RFA)
Pulkkinen is one of many young, highly skilled forwards in the Detroit Red Wings organization. He signed a one-year deal worth $735,000 on Tuesday, per Brendan Savage of MLive. The 23-year-old forward primarily played with the AHL’s Grand Rapid Griffins last season and tallied 61 points (34 goals, 27 assists) in 46 games.
Braden Holtby (RFA), Alex Chiasson (RFA)
Two of the most interesting arbitration cases involve Washington Capitals goaltender Holtby and Ottawa Senators forward Chiasson.
In Holtby’s case, he’s reportedly asking for a massive raise from the $2 million salary he earned last season. [tweet https://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIC/status/623495225390927874 align=”center”]
Holtby has emerged as one of the league’s best goaltenders, particularly in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and he’s just 25 years old. Washington would be wise to re-sign him to a long-term deal.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports Images
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