Top 10 NHL free agents of 2014
The Capitals have some decisions to make
NHL free agency begins on July 1. This year teams have been given the right to speak with potential unrestricted free agents beginning June 25. Here’s a list of the top 10 players expected to be available:
10. Dan Boyle, 37 - D, San Jose Sharks
$6.66 million cap hit in 2013-14. One of the oldest players on the free-agent market, Boyle is still an offensive threat from the blue line and would be a nice complement to a team in need of experience on the blue line.
9. Brooks Orpik, 33 - D, Pittsburgh Penguins
$3.75 million cap hit in 2013-14. He’s got a lot of mileage on him but Orpik is still one of the NHL’s toughest defensemen to play against, especially in a playoff series. If a team can sign him for two or three years at under $4 million per season he could be a valuable addition.
8. Marian Gaborik, 32 - RW, Los Angeles Kings
7.5 million cap hit in 2013-14. The talented right wing saw his stock skyrocket in the playoffs, where he recorded 21 points in 26 games with the Kings.
7. Ryan Miller, 33 - G, St. Louis Blues
$6.25 million cap hit in 2013-14. After being eliminated in the first round as a new member of the Blues, it will be interesting to see what Miller will receive on the open market. The Capitals have been rumored as a team with interest.
6. Mikhail Grabovski, 30 - C, Washington Capitals
$3 million cap hit in 2013-14. A solid two-way centerman, Grabovski missed 24 games due to injury this season but still would have had trouble hitting the 20-goal mark. He’s seeking $5 million but may need to settle for less.
5. Matt Niskanen, 27 - D, Pittsburgh Penguins
$2.3 million cap hit in 2013-14. Niskanen is expected to hit a home run this summer after finishing 12th among NHL defensemen in scoring (46 points) and first in plus-minus (plus-33).
4. Jarome Iginla, 36 - RW, Boston Bruins
$1.8 million cap hit in 2013-14. Iginla had a remarkably productive season in Boston with 30 goals and 31 assists and added five goals and two assists in 12 playoff games. He’s a nice pickup for a team that thinks it’s a player away.
3. Thomas Vanek, 30 - LW, Montreal Canadiens
$7.14 million cap hit in 2013-14. A natural goal scorer, Vanek managed 27 goals for the Sabres, Islanders and Canadiens this season but hasn’t cracked 40 goals since 2008-09.
2. Ryan Callahan, 29 - RW, Tampa Bay Lightning
$4.275 cap hit in 2013-14. A hard-hitting, shot-blocking forward with captain-like qualities, Callahan is the perfect fit for a team looking for some two-way grit.
1. Paul Stastny, 28 - C, Colorado Avalanche
$6.6 million cap hit in 2013-14. The son of former NHL star Peter Stastny, Paul Stastny is in his prime and coming off a strong season in which he recorded 25 goals and 35 assists in 71 games for the Avalanche.