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5 under the radar free agents

Dallas Stars v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 15: Antoine Roussel #21 of the Dallas Stars skates back to the bench after an altercation with a New Jersey Devils player on December 15, 2017 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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In the days leading up to free agency, all eyes will be on Islanders forward John Tavares. Where will he end up? How long will he sign for? How much will he sign for? Those are all interesting questions that will likely be answered in the coming days.

Once he’s off the board, the focus will turn to players like Paul Stastny, James Neal and James van Riemsdyk. Those guys will all command big dollars on the open market.

But there are players that are flying under the radar that could be quality signings for your favorite team. Who might some of those guys be? Well, let’s take a look.

• Derek Ryan, Carolina Hurricanes

Ryan doesn’t play a flashy game, but he’s been a useful asset for the Hurricanes over the last few seasons. The 31-year-old had 15 goals and a respectable 38 points in 80 games in 2017-18. He also won 56.5 percent of his faceoffs over the course of the season.

His advanced stats weren’t too shabby either, as he posted a CF% of 57.05 percent, a FF% of 55.78 percent and a SF% 55.67 percent, according to Natural Stat Trick.

In his two full NHL seasons, Ryan has earned $600,000 and $1.425 million. This will likely be his only chance at getting some long-term financial security.

• Matt Calvert, Columbus Blue Jackets

If history has shown us anything, it’s that Calvert will finish with roughly 10 goals and almost 25 points every year. Those aren’t impressive offensive numbers by any stretch, but he’s capable of doing other things well.

Calvert plays a fast game. He’s got wheels, which is ideal for a bottom-six player in today’s NHL. He’s also able to kill penalties, too. In the playoffs, he managed to score three goals in six games against the Washington Capitals.

The 28-year-old is likely on his way out of Columbus, so another team could scoop him up at an affordable rate on July 1st.

• Antoine Roussel, Dallas Stars

If you’ve paid any attention to the Stars over the last few years, you know exactly the type of player that Roussell has developed into. He’s a big winger, that plays a very north/south kind of game.

Before last season, he managed to find the back of the net 12, 13, 13 and 14 times, which shows that he has a little bit of touch around the net. He’s also not shy about racking up penalty minutes either, as he accumulated between 115 and 209 penalty minutes since 2013-14.

His advanced stats aren’t too shabby either. He had a CF% 52.47 percent last year and a FF% of 55.09 percent.

Depending on his asking price, Roussel could be a solid value pick up for his next team.

• Greg Pateryn, Dallas Stars

After being traded from Montreal to Dallas, Pateryn finally got an opportunity to establish himself as a regular at the NHL level.

The 28-year-old finished the year with one goal, 13 points and 50 penalty minutes in 73 games with the Stars. Playing with the puck on stick isn’t necessarily his strength, but he’s able to play a simple, physical game

Pateryn won’t break the bank if he goes to market, but he won’t have to wait long to land a contract from an NHL team as a fifth or sixth defenseman.

• Daniel Carr, Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens reportedly offered Carr $700,000, but he turned it down because of a great offer he got in the KHL. His camp has already mentioned that they feel they can get a better offer if they stick in the NHL.

Carr is a hard worker that battles in front of the net and competes on a nightly basis. Still, the 26-year-old was never able to establish himself as a regular with the Habs.

He split last season between the Montreal and Laval (their AHL affiliate). He had 19 points in 20 AHL games and he added 16 points in 38 contests in the NHL.

Carr’s signing won’t make headlines, but fans of his next team will quickly grow to like his compete level and style of play.


Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.