NHL Free Agency:

Anthony Perkins Avatar

Red Flags, Sleepers, Big Bets, and Sure Things

Written by: #TheUllmanBrosBand

Free Agency Red Flags, Sleepers, Big Bets, and Sure Things.

With free agency opening up in a week from today, and the draft coming in less than a week, I figured it would be a great time to take a look at a few names that are sure to pop up in free agency. There are 256 players who are set to become free agents, and there are some pretty big names (and massive contracts) in this list.

Two of the largest contracts, coming in at 10.5mil cap hit, belong to long time teammates Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews. The Red Flags with their contracts are they are 34 and 35 years old respectively. They are likely on their down swing of careers, they won’t be signing such large contracts this time around. That is, if they even sign anywhere, they could decide to retire.

Red Flag:

Michael Bunting, LW

Bunting’s production has come along side Mathews and Marner, how much of his numbers have been because those two got the defensive attention? Bunting also has a history of an attitude problem, and he is a known embellisher. Example of Bunting’s temper in tweet below.

Bunting elbows Cernak in Rd 1 of the 2023 Playoffs via @Sportsnet on Twitter

2023 stats: 82GP 23G 26A

Which team will take a chance on him? Will he just re-sign with Toronto? He’s expecting to get a raise, most experts are looking at $5.5-$6.0M AAV.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins are a team full of aging play-makers, after missing the playoffs for the first time in almost 30 years, they’ll be looking to add a little extra. Bonus: The Pens are no strangers to having an Olympic Swim Team full of divers!


Gustav Nyquist, RW

Nyquist spent much of his season on the IR due to a shoulder injury, before being traded from the Blue Jackets for a 5th round pick. Nyquist’s numbers aren’t massive, and he’s entering his mid-thirties so that likely won’t change much. After being traded to Minnesota, and coming off IR, he only averaged 15 mins a game, which suggests his ice time being higher in Columbus was simply because of the lack of depth there at the time. In 2021-2022 he was a 52 pt producer and ate up a lot of time on the PK, scoring 4 short-handed goals, Which was good enough for the 3rd most in the NHL.

Nyquist makes a spectacular SH goal vs Vancouver via @Sportsnet on Twitter

2023 stats: 51GP 11G 16A

With his age, his 0.65ppg average, and his special teams play, he could find a home with a team looking for a stop-gap player had a reduced cost. He should sign for much less than the 5.5AAV he just finished up.

Prediction: New York Islanders. The Islanders were a playoff team in 2023, however they saw a quick first round exit due to the fact that they couldn’t generate enough offense. Nyquist has the ability to make plays, especially on the PK. He could fit in well on the second or third line.

Big Bet (come on take a chance)

Adin Hill, G

Adin Hill is coming of a spectacular post season, arguably the main reason the Knights drank from Lord Stanley’s Cup. He is a 27 year old goalie who has only played 88 career games, he has never started more than 25 in a single season. Fact of the matter is his sample size is so small, we really aren’t sure what to expect from Hill. Could he be a starter and maintain the level he played in the Finals for the duration of an 82 game season?

Adin Hill with a spectacular stick save via @hayyyshayyy on twitter

2023 Stats: 27 GP 16W 2.49GAA .914SV% Playoffs: 16GP 11W 2.17GAA .932SV%

Hill could be a solid starting goalie for years to come, or he could just be a flash in the pan goalie who fades off into nothingness. Either way, whichever team takes a chance on him would definitely be betting (Vegas? Fitting, no?) as he’ll likely be looking for a raise from his last contract which saw him making $2.175M AAV.

Prediction: Vegas Golden Knights. In order to do this Lehner would have to be bought-out or unable to play but after all, it is a bet right?

Sure Thing (…there’s no such thing)

Joonas Korpisalo, G

The Los Angeles Kings acquired Korpisalo at the trade deadline in a package deal with Vladislav Gavrikov from the Columbus Blue Jackets. “Korpi” played his whole career for the Blue Jackets until that points. Korpi has a lot of upside, he’s a solid goaltender most nights. However, for every upside he has a downside. He holds the record for most saves in a playoff game at 85 saves.

Korpisalo robs Draisaitl via @RegenSportsNet on Twitter

2023 Stats: 34GP 18W 2.87 GAA .914 SV% Playoffs: 6GP 2W 3.87GAA .892 SV%

When he is on, he’s on, when he’s off, he’s off. The reason I’m labeling Korpisalo as a “sure thing” is because for the price, I don’t thing there is a more solid net-minder on the market this off-season. His last contract was $1.3M AAV, he isn’t going to ask for much more than that. He could very well be a solid backup or fringe starter for any team in the NHL looking for a tendy.

Prediction: Los Angeles Kings. The draft will shed some more light on where the Kings cap space is at, however, I feel like they will make the necessary roster moves to re-sign Korpi. They traded Petersen to Philly, and Pheonix Copley is a career back-up at best. Kings need a calm, reliable goaltender, and they’ll have that in Joonas Korpisalo.




Anthony Perkins Avatar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Articles & Posts