Some top players from around the NHL could be on different teams when the 2020-21 season arrives.
With the league suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, it is a good time to look ahead to the offseason to project which key players could be headed for pastures new. There are some talented playmakers on the market who could be the difference-makers franchises need to make runs at the Stanley Cup.
Here's a look at several of the top players who are set to be available during free agency, along with predictions for where each will land heading into the 2020-21 season.
Alex Pietrangelo, D
Over his 12-year NHL career, Alex Pietrangelo has only played for the St. Louis Blues. He's a two-time All-Star, the team captain and led them to the Stanley Cup in 2019. But he could become a free agent this summer.
Pietrangelo is set to hit the market July 1 unless St. Louis works out a deal with the defenseman beforehand. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has made it clear that the team is interested in bringing back one of its integral pieces.
"Alex is a 30-year-old pro, he's the captain of our franchise and he's someone that I have the utmost respect for," Armstrong said in February, according to The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford. "Our goal is still to try to get him signed. I'll address, if he doesn't sign here, what happened at that point. But our focus is to see if we can get him signed."
Maybe the Blues will do that before free agency begins. Or perhaps Pietrangelo will hit the market to hear what other teams have to offer. Either way, don't expect him to go anywhere else. He will be back in St. Louis for the 2020-21 season and beyond.
Prediction: Pietrangelo re-signs with Blues.
Taylor Hall, LW
Will Taylor Hall be on the move again this summer after his midseason trade from the New Jersey Devils to the Arizona Coyotes? It's possible given the 28-year-old left winger is set to hit free agency this summer.
Hall hasn't replicated the success of his impressive 2017-18 season, when he won the Hart Trophy, but that was largely due to an injury that limited him to 33 games the following season. This season, he has 52 points (16 goals and 36 assists) in 65 combined games between New Jersey and Arizona.
Even if Hall doesn't tally 93 points again, as he did in his MVP season, there are still plenty of teams that will be interested in adding him this summer. And the Coyotes were not in a playoff spot when the season was suspended, as they were struggling down the stretch, so perhaps a reunion between the two sides isn't a sure thing.
Instead, maybe Hall won't go far and sign with a team that has better playoff odds. The Colorado Avalanche are already one of the top teams in the Western Conference, and by adding Hall, they would get even better. Many teams will show interest, but Colorado will be the one that brings in Hall.
Prediction: Hall signs with Avalanche.
Mike Hoffman, LW
After beginning his NHL career with the Ottawa Senators, Mike Hoffman has had success since getting traded to the Florida Panthers via the San Jose Sharks prior to the 2018-19 season.
In his first season with Florida, Hoffman recorded a career-high 70 points, which included 36 goals. This season, he had 59 points (29 goals and 30 assists) in 69 games before play was suspended and may have been on his way to surpassing that mark.
While the Panthers may have interest in bringing back Hoffman, it will be interesting to see how much teams will offer the 30-year-old left winger. He's been a consistent player throughout his career, tallying at least 56 points in each of the past five seasons.
One landing spot that would make sense would be the Edmonton Oilers, who always have a chance at contending in the Western Conference as long as they have superstar center Conner McDavid. Expect him to head to Edmonton and continue to be a consistent scoring threat.
Prediction: Hoffman signs with Oilers.