Over the last few days, we have seen a few re-signings; some of them good, some of them not so good. The contracts to Zack Kassian (which I nailed by the way – here) and Yanni Gourde were small risk, and could provide decent reward for depth forwards. On the other hand, Esa Lindell and Patrick Eaves will likely end up being slight overpayments. However, this is nothing compared to what some names will get on July 1st. Thankfully for the bidding teams, there aren’t as many big names to go wrong with this summer.
As a side note, it seems as though Edmonton and Connor McDavid are close to a contract extension that would see the generational centre become the highest paid player in the NHL at the moment. The extension cannot officially be signed until July first, so I plan to cover it once it becomes official. Keep checking back in for the recap on that one.
Now back to the UFAs:
Joe Thornton – San Jose Sharks
Expiring Cap Hit: $6,750,000
Expected Cap Hit: $4,500,000
Top Destinations: Dallas, Nashville, San Jose
Joe Thornton seems to be on the move, and he will want to be headed to a contending team. Two of the best bests seem to be Western Conference foes from the central division. Thornton is going to make a nice second-line centre for a contender. Nashville may be losing Mike Fisher to retirement, and Dallas just lost Cody Eakin in the expansion draft. Both teams have the hole to fill, and lost almost exactly the right amount of money for Thornton to slide into on a two or three year deal. Dallas also just bought out Nimei, and now has a little extra room to make a splash. On either of these teams Thornton would be well insulated. On Dallas he would likely fit in on a four-man powerplay. On Nashville, if he doesn’t make it on to the top power play, then he will be the focal point of a very underrated second unit.
However, this is all assuming that Thornton will be willing to leave his bearded buddy Brent Burns. San Jose still has a very competitive core, and if they bring Thornton back into the fold at a reduced pay, then they can take at least one more kick at the can. Remember, this team made it to the Stanley Cup final just last year, and they haven’t lost any major pieces from that roster. Thornton may just be testing the waters on July first and then turn right back to the Sharks and stick with what he knows. Staying in San Jose would also keep from uprooting his family (two kids both under the age of eight).
Alexander Radulov – Montreal Canadiens
Expiring Cap Hit: $5,750,000
Expected Cap Hit: $6,500,000