Predicting a home for 5 key remaining free agents

The Score

The initial wave of the 2019 free agency period has come and gone, but there are still some good players available.

Below, we pick out destinations for five of the biggest names left.

Jake Gardiner, D, 28

2018-19 cap hit: $4.05 million
Top destination: Montreal Canadiens

Despite the flak he caught throughout his tenure in Toronto, Gardiner is an incredibly valuable piece, and it's somewhat surprising he wasn't plucked July 1 as arguably the best defender available.

Montreal's swing-and-miss on poaching Sebastian Aho via offer sheet leaves the club with ample cap space to try to ink Gardiner, who would be a big add on the Habs' left side. The opposite flank is in good hands with Shea Weber and Jeff Petry, but Gardiner's mobility and puck-moving skills would round out the Canadiens' defense corps nicely as the team seeks a return to the playoffs.

Other potential suitors: Sabres, Jets

Ryan Dzingel, 27, C/W

2018-19 cap hit: $1.8 million
Top destination: Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers had an underwhelming start to the offseason, but there's still time for new general manager Ken Holland to make something happen, and Dzingel would be a great fit for an Edmonton team desperate for scoring depth.

A versatile forward capable of producing points, Dzingel had a miserable playoff run with the Blue Jackets, which could help keep his asking price down. The Oilers are up against the cap with only $3.9 million available, but Holland needs to get used to working within the financial constraints he inherited, and Dzingel is a player worth exploring.

Other potential suitors: Avalanche, Sabres, Senators

Marcus Johansson, LW, 28

2018-19 cap hit: $4.58 million
Top destination: Colorado Avalanche

Johansson boosted his stock with an impressive playoff showing for the Bruins, providing scoring punch on a dangerous third line and second power-play unit.

#hockey, #professional

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