A stagnant salary cap and lack of star power hampered this summer's free-agent frenzy, but a loaded class of 2024 has us looking forward to the NHL's next offseason already.

The cap is expected to jump significantly for the first time since the pandemic dramatically altered the league's financial landscape, and a deep group of star players could make for an unforgettable signing period. Below, we present a list of the top players currently scheduled to hit the open market, fully aware that extensions for most of the stars will likely ruin the fun.

Players are sorted in each positional section based on their current cap hits.



Auston Matthews

Current cap hit: $11.6M
Stats on current contract: 269 GP, 188G, 148A

All signs reportedly point to Matthews sticking with the Maple Leafs on his next deal, but until pen meets paper, speculation surrounding the face of Toronto's franchise will run rampant. No matter where or when Matthews signs, he'll likely become the league's highest-paid player based on average annual value.


Steven Stamkos

Current cap hit: $8.5M
Stats on current contract: 434 GP, 203 G, 291 A

The eight-year extension Stamkos inked before hitting free agency in 2016 is approaching its end, and it's aged wonderfully for the Lightning. Tampa's captain has collected 1.13 points per game over the deal's duration to go along with two championships and an additional Stanley Cup Final appearance. As the Bolts' all-time leader in goals, points, and soon-to-be games played, Stamkos might be the least likely player on this list to seek a new team next year.