NHL Free Agency 2019: Predictions, Rumors on Wayne Simmonds, Artemi Panarin

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

Nashville Predators' Wayne Simmonds rects during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, Sunday, March 3, 2019, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

The NHL free-agency period is ramping up into high gear, with Wayne Simmonds and Artemi Panarin ranking among the hottest names drawing interest.

Here's a look at the latest updates on their statuses.


A Dozen Teams Interested in Wayne Simmonds

Simmonds' stint in Nashville proved to be short, as he is not expected to return to the Predators next season.

Not that he has any shortage of suitors.

The Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild are reportedly among "about 12 teams" that have reached out, per Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic.

The 30-year-old had 17 goals and 13 assists last season. He was limited to two postseason games due to a lower leg injury, during which he did not record a point. The Nashville experiment was almost a complete bust; Simmonds never really fit in, and he finished with just one goal and two assists with the club.

Teams like Montreal and Minnesota will hope to buy low on a talented player who spent the majority of his career in Philadelphia. He had posted at least 46 points in each of the previous five seasons before last year's downturn.

Prediction: Canadiens


Avs To Be Aggressive With Artemi Panarin

Panarin is by far the best name on the free-agent market, coming off a season in which he set a career high with 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists). The 27-year-old has posted at least 74 points in each of his four NHL seasons and is one of the best passers among wingers the league has to offer.

Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now reported the Colorado Avalanche met with Panarin's representation and expressed "significant interest."

Colorado ranked 10th in goals scored last season but has a hole in the wing spot that the Russian can easily fill. He would help the Avs build a formidable line and perhaps turn them into one of the best offenses in the Western Conference.

Of course, Colorado has plenty of competition for Panarin. The Columbus Blue Jackets would like to keep him, and he's also generating interest from the Florida Panthers and other teams on the open market. 

This will probably wind up being a deal for the highest bidder, in which case the Avs should be as aggressive as they can to get ink on the contract.