With the off-season coming to a close, we’re now looking way ahead to next summer’s free agency, which promises to be a pretty good one with a lot of big names.
In case you missed it, here’s Part 1 featuring forwards and Part 2 featuring defensemen and goalies, all of whom are under 30 years old.
The 30-and-over group is also highlighted by some household names, but some of them are unlikely to play for any other team. This includes Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang in Pittsburgh, Claude Giroux in Philadelphia, Patrice Bergeron in Boston, Dustin Brown in Los Angeles, or even David Perron in St. Louis, who has played for four other teams but has only signed contracts with the Blues and certainly enjoyed his best seasons with them.
Those players are not included in this list, which is not meant to be exhaustive. Instead, this list highlights some veteran players who may move onto other franchises even though most of them are past their prime.
Phil Kessel, Arizona Coyotes, $6.8 million AAV
There’s zero doubt that Kessel will be moving out of the desert by the end of the season. He will turn 34 in October, but he’s still got plenty of goals left in him after scoring 20 in 56 games last season, a big bounce-back performance after a disappointing first season in Arizona. Kessel could be a good playoff rental and the Coyotes have cap space to retain salary. Despite 15 seasons in the NHL, this is the first time Kessel gets to explore free agency, and it’ll be interesting to see which teams pursue him.
Joe Pavelski, Dallas Stars, $7 million AAV and Alexander Radulov, Dallas Stars, $6.25 million AAV
The Stars are at crossroads. They’re one of the older teams in the league and while Pavelski and Radulov have aged like fine wine, by the end of the season the Stars will have to decide if they want to keep their Cup window open by retaining their veterans or shift towards a youth movement. Both players are still in the hunt for their first ring and certainly have the ability to keep playing.