Free agency is set for July 28th. It seems to be a good time to review the most intriguing free agents for each team across the league. I am going to do my best to avoid the highest profile players. That said, some teams leave little choice but to discuss the star free agent. Given options, I've reviewed the teams and have selected what I feel are the most interesting player from each one.
Every team-by-team article seems to start alphabetically. Maybe it's my post vaccine hangover talking but I feel like reversing the order and start with the Winnipeg Jets (In case you were wondering, the vaccine knocked me down for almost three days. I had normal side effects, but the hit me hard. The fatigue stuck around for a while after those dissipated but yikes, not a fun experience) and we'll work in reverse order ending with the Anaheim Ducks.
When referring to predicted salaries I'll be referencing Alex Maclean's article from February 5, 2021, which you can find here
Winnipeg Jets – Paul Stastny, Center, Age 35 ($6.5M)
He chose to not sign with the Jets once. After trading for him this past off-season the Jets went out and traded for Pierre-Luc Dubois. It seems almost a forgone conclusion that Stastny is on his way out of town. At age 35, he's also in for a decent pay cut.
He should have little trouble finding a new home. With 28 points in 54 games, he has shown he has a lot of life left in him yet. At this point in his career, he is probably better suited as a third-line center or shift to the wing to try and prolong his top-six lifespan. He is still a valuable asset on the power play as well.
Predicted to sign for $2.7M he could be a bargain for both NHL team and fantasy owner. I have to think a team will covet Stastny and be willing to try to sign him for close to $3.5M. There are several veteran centers on the free agent market this year, Ryan Getzlaf, David Krejci, Tyler Bozak, Travis Zajac; for teams searching for veteran depth down the middle they won't run short on options. This should help keep Stastny's salary reasonable (for the first time in his career).
Washington Capitals – Alexander Ovechkin, Age 35, Left Wing ($9.5M)
There was really only one choice, Alex Ovechkin. It helps the only two other options were Zdeno Chara and Henrik Lundqvist.
The only thing in real question is the term. I know his predicted salary is $7.9M, but I can't help but think his sentimental value to this franchise is going to keep his salary right around its current value, $9.5M.
A three-year deal with an AAV of $9.5 wouldn't make me blink. The Capitals would likely prefer two years at that cap-hit, but it's Ovechkin, if he refuses to waiver on three, it will be three.
Whether it is $9.5M, $7.9M or somewh