The NHL's free-agent hot stove is basically unplugged at this point of the summer, but there's still plenty of talent available on the open market.

Below, we play matchmaker for 10 of the best players currently unsigned.


Vladimir Tarasenko

2022-23 stats: 69 GP, 18 G, 32 A
Previous cap hit: $7.5M
Best fit: Ottawa Senators

The Senators are seemingly in limbo until they find a solution for Alex DeBrincat. If Ottawa trades the two-time 40-goal man as expected, Tarasenko would be an excellent replacement. The veteran winger is the top goal-scorer still on the market and could come close to replicating DeBrincat's offense in the Sens' top six at a reduced cost. Tarasenko's 2.6 points per 60 minutes were slightly better than DeBrincat's last season, and the 31-year-old choosing Ottawa could be big for morale in the dressing room when it's clear DeBrincat wants out.

Keeping term down is the key to making this deal a win for the Senators, but there's a clear fit here at the right price.


Patrick Kane

2022-23 stats: 73 GP, 21 G, 36 A
Previous cap hit: $10.5M
Best fit: Buffalo Sabres

Kane underwent hip resurfacing surgery on June 1 and was given a four-to-six-month timeline. Given that his recovery could cut into the season's first quarter, Kane might not sign until autumn. Teams may want to see how his rehab is going considering Nicklas Backstrom underwent the same surgery during the 2022 offseason and didn't look quite like himself this past campaign. Kane might also want a better idea of the standings before he commits to signing with a club.

But if the Sabres get off to a solid start, it'll be awfully tempting for Kane, a Buffalo native, to sign with his hometown team. They're an ascending club with $6.7 million in projected cap space. And while Buffalo bolstered its blue line in free agency, it didn't add a single player up front. Sure, the Sabres' forward group is deep with young talent, but they could still use a veteran presence who can elevate their offensive attack. Imagine Kane setting up Tage Thompson on the power play – that'd be fun.