Every NHL Team's Most Important Free Agent-to-Be in 2015-16

Lyle Richardson@@SpectorsHockeyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2015

Every NHL Team's Most Important Free Agent-to-Be in 2015-16

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    With NHL training camps opening soon, a sense of anticipation is growing regarding the potential rosters of the 30 teams for the upcoming season. Among the issues facing each club are the contract statuses of players eligible next summer for free agency.

    Some, such as Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (pictured above), are unrestricted free agents who could join another NHL team if unable to re-sign with their current clubs before next July. Others, like Calgary Flames center (and rising star) Sean Monahan, will be restricted free agents. All will seek significant raises in term and salary.

    Here's a look at every NHL team's most important potential free agent. Current contract, last season's stats, value to their team and potential re-signing cost factored into this compilation. Feel free to weigh in with your opinion in the comments section below.

Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim Ducks

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm is entering the final season of a three-year entry-level contract worth a salary-cap hit of $894,166, plus bonuses. In 2014-15, Lindholm tallied 34 points in 78 games. 

    Value to his team: In just two NHL seasons, Lindholm is developing into the Ducks' best all-around blueliner. The 21-year-old led the club in plus/minus (plus-25) last season while skating on the top defense pairing. He was also second in average ice time. Lindholm has the potential to anchor their defense corps for years. 

    Estimated new contract: As Lindholm is a restricted free agent lacking arbitration rights, Ducks management could try re-signing him to an affordable, short-term bridge contract. However, it might be a better idea to lock up this blossoming blueliner to a long-term deal. Lindholm could receive a four- or five-year deal worth an annual cap hit of around $4.5 million.

Mikkel Boedker, Arizona Coyotes

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    Hannah Foslien/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Arizona Coyotes right wing Mikkel Boedker is entering a one-year deal worth $3.75 million. A spleen injury suffered midway through 2014-15 limited him to 14 goals and 28 points in 45 games.

    Value to his team: Prior to being sidelined for the second half of the season, Boedker was on pace to exceed his career-best numbers of 19 goals and 51 points. Only 25, he's entering his eighth NHL season and has developed into a skilled playmaker. The rebuilding Coyotes can only benefit from Boedker's skills and experience.

    Potential new contract: Boedker becomes eligible next July for unrestricted free agency. It could cost the rebuilding Coyotes over $5.5 million annually on a seven- for eight-year deal to keep him from testing the market. 

Torey Krug, Boston Bruins

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is entering a one-year, $3.4 million deal. In 2014-15, Krug scored 12 goals and collected 27 assists for 39 points in 78 games.

    Value to his team: This summer's trade of Dougie Hamilton to Calgary and the decline of aging veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg could boost Krug's importance to the Bruins' defense corps. Though undersized at 5'9” and 181 pounds, the 24-year-old has solid offensive skills, finishing last season second in points among Bruins defenders

    Potential new contract: Krug is a restricted free agent next July with arbitration rights, giving him leverage in negotiations with Bruins management. Should he adjust well this season as a top-four rearguard, he could seek a five-year deal worth around $5.5 million annually.

Zemgus Girgensons, Buffalo Sabres

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    Jen Fuller/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Buffalo Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons is completing a three-year entry-level contract worth an annual salary-cap hit of $894,166, plus bonuses. In 2014-15, the 21-year-old tallied 15 goals and 30 points in 61 games. 

    Value to his team: In only two NHL seasons, Girgensons has impressed with his physical two-way style. He's shown consistent improvement and can play center or wing. With the addition of centers Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly, Girgensons could be bumped to the third line. Still, if he maintains his current pace of development, he should become a reliable second-line forward.

    Potential new contract: Girgensons will be a restricted free agent without arbitration rights. Despite his performance, management could decide to ink him to a bridge deal to buy more time evaluating his performance. A two-year deal worth around $2.5 million annually could be an option.

Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan is entering the final season of a three-year entry-level contract worth an annual base salary of $925,000, plus bonuses. In 2014-15, the 20-year-old tallied 31 goals and 62 points in 81 games.

    Value to his team: While linemates Jiri Hudler and Johnny Gaudreau are also in need of new contracts after this season, Monahan is the most important of the three. The 6'2”, 185-pounder is developing into a dominant first-line center, which is a valuable commodity in today's NHL. He was among the Flames' leaders in goals and points last season and has yet to reach his full potential. 

    Potential new contract: Given the largesse Flames management displayed in re-signing young defenseman Dougie Hamilton to an expensive long-term deal, Monahan can expect the same. Should he exceed last season's numbers, he could given a seven- or eight-year deal worth over $6 million per season.

Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes

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    Danny Moloshok/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal is entering the final season of a seven-year deal worth an average annual salary of $8.25 million, though in actual salary he'll earn $9.5 million. In 2014-15, the 30-year-old scored 21 goals and 54 points in 77 games.

    Value to his team: While Staal's production has declined in recent years, he remains the Hurricanes' top offensive player and the face of the franchise. Management is rebuilding the roster, and losing Staal's scoring, experience and leadership could be a serious blow to those efforts.

    Potential new contract: Despite Staal's importance to the Hurricanes, his age and declining production ensures he'll have to accept a pay cut. How much that will be, in term as well as dollars, will determine his future with the Hurricanes. It could take a four- or five-year deal worth $6.5 million per season to keep him in Carolina.

Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Paul Vernon/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook is entering the final season of a five-year deal earning an annual average salary of $5.8 million. In 2014-15, the 30-year-old scored eight goals and 31 points in 82 games.

    Value to his team: Despite playing in the shadow of defense partner Duncan Keith, Seabrook is equally vital to the Blackhawks blue line. He's a key part of their core, playing major roles in their three Stanley Cup championships since 2010. A more physical rearguard than Keith, Seabrook regularly ranks among the Blackhawks' leaders in hits and blocked shots. 

    Potential new contract: Management will undoubtedly attempt to re-sign him, but the Blackhawks don't have a lot of salary-cap room for 2016-17. Given Seabrook's age, they could offer him a five-year deal worth around $7 million per season, though such a deal could mean shedding some salary to free up cap space for other signings. 

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is entering the final season of his three-year entry-level deal worth an annual salary-cap hit of $925,000, plus bonuses. In 2014-15, he netted 14 goals and 38 points in 64 games. 

    Value to his team: Compared to MacKinnon's impressive 63-point NHL debut, his performance in an injury-shortened sophomore season was disappointing. However, the 20-year-old still has considerable upside and should significantly improve in the coming years. He will be among the Avalanche's leading scorers for years.

    Potential new contract: MacKinnon will be a restricted free agent next summer and lacks arbitration rights. While he could be offered an affordable short-term contract, a significant improvement in his play could net the 2014 Calder Trophy winner something in the range of the $60 million deal signed by St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko.

Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Columbus Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner is entering the final season of his three-year entry-level deal worth a salary-cap hit of $788,333, plus bonuses. In an injury-shortened 2014-15 season, Jenner scored nine goals and eight assists for 17 points in 31 games.

    Value to his team: The 20-year-old Jenner is part of the Blue Jackets' crop of good young forwards. His absence due to injury last season was keenly felt. The 6'2”, 208-pounder is a solid all-around forward who can play center or the wing. He is a vital part of the club's future. 

    Potential new contract: Jenner is slated to become a restricted free agent next summer and lacks arbitration rights. The Jackets' limited salary-cap space for 2016-17 could lead management to offer up a short-term, affordable bridge deal of two years and around $2.5 million annually. 

Alex Goligoski, Dallas Stars

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Dallas Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski is entering the final season of a four-year deal worth an annual average salary of $4.6 million. In 2014-15, Goligoski netted 36 points in 82 games. 

    Value to his team: The 30-year-old Goligoski is the Stars' best all-around defenseman. In four full seasons in Dallas, he's netted 30 or more points three times. He also led the club in average ice time and all Stars rearguards in assists. His experience and skills are invaluable to Dallas' young defense corps.  

    Potential new contract: An unrestricted free agent next July, Goligoski appears well positioned to land a lucrative new deal from the Stars. Another strong outing this season could earn him a four- or five-year deal worth upward of $6 million annually.

Danny DeKeyser, Detroit Red Wings

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is entering the second season of his two-year deal worth an annual salary-cap hit of $2,187, 500. In 2014-15, the 25-year-old netted 31 points 80 games. 

    Value to his team: DeKeyser has consistently improved in his short NHL career. He finished second on the Wings last season in ice time and plus/minus. DeKeyser moves the puck well and is on pace toward becoming a full-time top-two rearguard for the Red Wings. 

    Potential new contract: DeKeyser is a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights, giving him some leverage in negotiations with the Wings. Management will undoubtedly reward him for his ongoing improvement with a generous new deal in the neighborhood of five years and $5 million per season.

Cam Talbot, Edmonton Oilers

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot enters this season on a one-year, $1.45 million contract. In 2014-15 with the New York Rangers, Talbot compiled a record of 21 wins, nine losses and four overtime losses with five shutouts, a 2.21 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. 

    Value to his team: The Oilers have had poor goaltending for some time, which is why they acquired Talbot from the Rangers in June. The 28-year-old showed considerable promise last season filling in for a sidelined Henrik Lundqvist. If he proves himself as a capable starter throughout 2015-16, it could significantly improve the Oilers' position in the Western Conference standings.

    Potential new contract: Talbot's performance will ultimately determine what his new contract will be. A solid season as a starting netminder could net him a four-year deal worth upward of $5 million per season.

Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov is entering the final season of his three-year entry-level deal worth an annual cap hit of $925,000, plus bonuses. In 2014-15, Barkov scored 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points in 71 games.  

    Value to his team: After struggling in the first half of last season, Barkov's production significantly improved in the second half. He and wingers Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau formed a very productive first line. Heading into his third NHL campaign, the 20-year-old Barkov seems poised for a breakout performance.

    Potential new contract: Whatever Huberdeau receives on his new contract could directly affect Barkov's next deal. His performance this season will obviously be a significant factor. Another comparable could be teammate Nick Bjugstad, who enters the first season of a six-year deal worth an average annual salary of $4.1 million. 

Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

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    Danny Moloshok/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar is entering the final season of his seven-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $6.8 million. In 2014-15, Kopitar scored 16 goals and added 48 assists for 64 points in 79 games. 

    Value to his team: Kopitar is an invaluable part of the Kings' core. The 28-year-old has been their leading scorer each season since 2007-08. He was also their leading playoff scorer during their championship runs in 2012 and 2014. He's considered among the league's elite centers and top two-way players. 

    Potential new contract: Kopitar will earn big bucks on his next contract, either from the Kings or another club next summer as an unrestricted free agent. The Kings don't have a lot of salary-cap space for 2016-17, but they can still afford to re-sign Kopitar. Expect a seven-year deal worth around $10 million annually.

Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba is entering the final season of his three-year entry-level deal worth a cap hit of $894,166, plus bonuses. In 2014-15, Dumba netted 16 points in 58 games. 

    Value to his team: Dumba is fast becoming a key part of the Wild blue line. The 21-year-old is a swift-skating, hard-hitting defenseman with considerable all-around potential. While the Wild want to take their time developing Dumba, he's quickly proving capable of handling more ice time and defensive responsibilities.

    Potential new contract: Dumba is a restricted free agent without arbitration rights at the end of this season. While management could consider inking him to a short-term bridge contract, a significant improvement in his play could prompt the front office to offer up a longer term before his value dramatically rises. A four-year deal worth $4 million annually could be in the cards for Dumba.

Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec is entering the final year of a six-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $5 million. In 2014-15, the 32-year-old scored 26 goals and added 34 assists for 60 points in 82 games. 

    Value to his team: Plekanec is the Canadiens' best center, their top two-way player and also their most underrated. He's had seven seasons with 40-plus points, with three of those being 60-plus campaigns. He's their best penalty-killing forward and is solid in the faceoff circle.

    Potential new contract: Plekanec is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. As he turns 33 in October, he could receive a four-year extension for the same annual salary. The Habs could gamble that their improving roster and the possibility of another marginal increase in the salary cap will entice Plekanec to stay put.

Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg is entering the final season of his three-year, entry-level contract worth a cap hit of $894,166, plus bonuses. In 2014-15, Forsberg tallied 26 goals and 37 assists for 63 points in 82 games.  

    Value to his team: The Predators have a blooming offensive superstar in their ranks. In his first full NHL season, Forsberg led the Predators in scoring while skating on the club's top line. He ranked among last season's top-scoring rookies and was the Predators leading scorer in the 2015 playoffs. 

    Potential new contract: Forsberg will be a restricted free agent next summer and lacks arbitration rights. However, if he avoids the dreaded sophomore slump and builds upon his stellar rookie numbers, the 20-year-old could earn a substantial raise. A deal of five years in length worth over $6 million annually isn't out of the question.

Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils

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    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri is entering the final year of his three-year contract worth an annual salary-cap hit of $1,466,666. In 2014-15 with the Anaheim Ducks, the 24-year-old scored 14 goals, 15 assists and 29 points in 57 games.

    Value to his team: Palmieri joins a Devils team that was among the NHL's lowest-scoring clubs last season. While he was employed as a checking-line winger with the Ducks, Palmieri will likely see time on the Devils' scoring lines this season. With his speed and offensive potential, he could turn into a genuine scoring threat in New Jersey.

    Potential new contract: Palmieri is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. His performance in his first season with his new club will determine his next contract. If he turns into a 20-goal, 40-point player, he could earn a three-year deal worth over $3.5 million annually.

Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo is entering the final year of a five-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $2.8 million, though he'll earn $4.5 million in actual salary. Despite missing 22 games to injury in 2014-15, the 27-year-old still tallied 18 goals and 33 assists for 51 points. 

    Value to his team: Though hampered by injuries the last two years, Okposo has proved to be a capable top-six winger. He's a strong skater and a hard-working forward. He's also played a key role in helping the Islanders become playoff contenders.

    Potential new contract: A healthy 2015-16 could see Okposo, now in his playing prime, enjoy a career-best performance. He's eligible next July for unrestricted free agency, and it could cost the Islanders a six- or seven-year deal worth over $6 million annually to re-sign him. 

Chris Kreider, New York Rangers

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    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider is entering the final year of a two-year deal worth an annual salary-cap hit of $2.475 million. In 2014-15, the 24-year-old scored 21 goals and 25 assists for 46 points in 80 games. 

    Value to his team: Combining size, speed, aggressiveness and offensive skills, the versatile 6'3”, 226-pounder has the tools to blossom into a top power forward. He's poised to become a key part of the Rangers' core for the next several years.

    Potential new contract: Kreider is a restricted free agent at season's end with arbitration rights, which he'll likely leverage into securing a lucrative long-term deal. Should his numbers significantly increase this season, Kreider could receive a contract of at least five years in length worth over $5.5 million per season.

Cody Ceci, Ottawa Senators

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    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci is entering the final year of a three-year entry-level deal worth a salary-cap hit of $894,166, plus bonuses. In 2014-15, the 21-year-old collected 21 points in 81 games. 

    Value to his team: In only two NHL seasons, the promising Ceci developed into a reliable top-four defenseman. The 6'3”, 209-pounder led the Senators in blocked shots, finished second among Ottawa blueliners in points and fourth in average ice time. The best is yet to come from this skilled youngster.

    Potential new contract: Ceci becomes a restricted free agent lacking arbitration rights next summer. Given the Senators' reputation as a budget club, he could receive a two-year bridge deal worth over $2.5 million per season. Still, it might be wise to lock him up to a longer-term contract at an affordable rate before his value significantly increases.

Brayden Schenn, Philadelphia Flyers

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    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn is entering the final season of a two-year deal worth an annual average salary of $2.5 million. In 2014-15, Schenn scored 18 goals and added 29 assists for 47 points in 82 games. 

    Value to his team: Schenn has established himself as a second-line forward. The 24-year-old can play center or wing and finished fourth on the Flyers last season in assists and fifth in goals and points. Schenn was among only three Flyers to play all 82 games.

    Potential new contract: The Flyers don't have a lot of cap space for 2016-17, which will affect how much Schenn receives on his next deal. His production this season will also be a factor. If Schenn matches or exceeds last year's totals, he could receive a three-year deal worth $4.5 million annually.

Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta is entering the final season of a three-year entry-level deal with a salary-cap hit of $894,166, plus bonuses. Thyroid and shoulder surgeries limited Maatta to only nine points in 20 games in 2014-15.

    Value to his team: When healthy, the 21-year-old Finn is a highly skilled blueliner who gives a strong effort at both ends of the ice and can log over 20 minutes per game. If his health issues are behind him, Maatta should blossom into a talented top-two defenseman for the Penguins.

    Potential new contract: Maatta will be a restricted free agent next summer without arbitration rights. With limited cap space, the Penguins will likely ink him to a two-year bridge deal worth upward of $3 million per season. 

Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues

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    Billy Hurst/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: St. Louis Blues left winger Jaden Schwartz is entering the final season of a two-year deal worth an average annual salary of $2.35 million. In 2014-15, Schwartz tallied 28 goals and 35 assists for 63 points in 75 games. 

    Value to his team: Skating on a line with superstar right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, Schwartz rapidly developed into a core player for the Blues. He was among their leaders in several offensive categories last season. At 23, his best seasons remain ahead of him.

    Potential new contract: Schwartz is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. If he exceeds last season's numbers, he'll have considerable leverage to negotiate a significant raise. It could cost the Blues a five- or six-year contract worth around $5.5 million to re-sign him.

Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl is entering the final season of his three-year entry-level contract worth an annual salary-cap hit of $925,000, plus bonuses. In 2014-15, the 21-year-old netted 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points in 82 games.  

    Value to his team: Hertl's struggles last season were likely tied to ongoing recovery from a knee injury suffered in his rookie season. He still has considerable potential as a scoring forward, possessing solid offensive skills, good size (6'2”, 210 pounds) and the ability to play center or wing. Given time, he can develop into a reliable player for the Sharks.

    Potential new contract: Hertl will become a restricted free agent without arbitration rights next summer. He must make significant improvement to net a substantial pay raise. At this point, he could receive a two-year bridge deal worth around $2.75 million annually.

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos is entering the final season of his five-year contract worth a salary-cap hit of $7.5 million, though he'll earn $5.5 million in actual salary. In 2014-15, the 25-year-old tallied 43 goals and 72 points in 82 games.

    Value to his team: Stamkos is the Lightning's captain, franchise player and sole superstar. He's been their goal-scoring leader in every season but one since 2009-10 and is a two-time winner of the Richard Trophy. Their chances of winning a Stanley Cup are better with him in the lineup. 

    Potential new contract: Given his age, offensive consistency and value to the Lightning franchise, Stamkos is in line for a substantial raise. It could cost them an annual cap hit of $10.5 million on an eight-year deal to keep him in the fold.

Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly is entering the final season of his three-year entry-level contract worth a salary-cap hit of $894,166, plus bonuses. In 2014-15, the 21-year-old netted 29 points in 81 games. 

    Value to his team: Rielly is quickly blossoming into a core player for the rebuilding Maple Leafs. Despite his youth and the club's second-half meltdown last season, he quickly adapted to increasing responsibilities and workload. In the coming years, Rielly should be a vital part of the Leafs blue line.

    Potential new contract: Rielly is slated to become a restricted free agent without arbitration rights next summer. While the Leafs could ink him to an affordable short-term bridge deal, it might be best to lock him up long term before his value skyrockets. Should he improve on last season's performance, he could get a five-year contract worth around $4 million annually.

Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver Canucks

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis is entering the final season of his six-year contract worth an annual average salary of $4.5 million. Despite being sidelined by a groin injury for 21 games in 2014-15, the 32-year-old collected 23 points 59 games. 

    Value to his team: Hamhuis is the most experienced and best all-around defenseman on a retooled Canucks blue line. He logs big minutes and is very sound in his own zone. Hamhuis' skills and leadership will be invaluable in aiding the development of the Canucks' young rearguards.

    Potential new contract: Hamhuis is an unrestricted free agent next July. Considering he turns 33 in December, the Canucks won't be offering him any more six-year deals. He could receive a three-year deal worth slightly over his current cap hit. 

Marcus Johansson, Washington Capitals

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson is entering a one-year, $3.75 million contract. In 2014-15, the 24-year-old tallied 20 goals and 27 assists for 47 points in 82 games. 

    Value to his team: Johansson is a versatile forward capable of playing all three forward positions. He's a speedy player with good playmaking skills, ranking among the Capitals' leaders in several offensive categories. He also plays a responsible defensive game. 

    Potential new contract: The Capitals' lack of cap space for 2015-16 likely prevented Johansson from landing a more lucrative long-term deal. Should he exceed last season's performance, he could receive a three-year deal worth upward of $5 million per season. 

Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg Jets

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    Current contract and 2014-15 stats: Winnipeg Jets left wing Andrew Ladd is entering the final season of his five-year deal worth an annual average salary of $4.4 million. In 2014-15, the 29-year-old scored 24 goals and added 38 assists for 64 points in 81 games.

    Value to his team: The Jets captain is consistently among the club's scoring leaders. Ladd is also their best all-around forward, logging time on the power-play and penalty-killing units. With his championship experience, he provides invaluable leadership and expertise.

    Potential new contract: Retaining their captain is going to be expensive for the Jets but worthwhile if they hope to become a perennial playoff team. Because Ladd turns 30 in December, he's unlikely to get a deal over six years in length. Most likely, he'll receive a five-year contract worth around $6.5 million per season.

    All player and team statistics via NHL.com. Salary info via General Fanager