NHL Free Agents 2021: Rumors & Predictions for Ryan Suter, Dougie Hamilton, More
We're on the verge of NHL free agency, with the market set to open at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday. While much of the past week has involved the entry draft and a little bit of trade action, teams are now set to focus on players with expiring contracts.
This year's free-agent pool isn't likely to disappoint, as notable names like Dougie Hamilton, Gabriel Landeskog, Phillip Danault, Tyson Barrie and Alexander Ovechkin are all expected to reach the open market.
Naturally, the next few days are going to be filled with activity as teams look to bolster their rosters for the 2021-22 season. Of course, some acquisitions could already be in the works. Here, we'll take a look at the latest NHL free agency buzz.
Former Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter appears to be a popular free-agent target. According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, Suter has "multiple multi-year options" and could be in line for a four-year contract.
Per Russo, the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers are among those interested in Suter's services. The Boston Bruins, however, are out, according to The Athletic's Fluto Shinzawa.
"It is unclear whether Suter informed the Bruins they were out, or whether the team stepped back because of age and contract concerns," Shinzawa wrote.
The Stars would be a logical landing spot, with the team looking to fill out a defensive rotation headlined by John Klingberg and Esa Lindell. According to Saad Yousuf of The Athletic, the interest between Dallas and Suter is mutual.
"With Suter's market shrinking, a firm offer from Dallas may be all it takes to get a deal done.
Prediction: Suter signs four-year deal with Dallas
Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton will be one of free agency's top targets if he hits the open market. He had a spectacular year this past season, finishing with 10 goals and 32 assists in 55 games.
According to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, Hamilton's asking price is believed to be between $8-9 million annually. The Hurricanes would prefer to keep him in-house.
"He has a pretty good idea about what the market is at this point," general manager Don Waddell said, per LeBrun. "So, our goal still is to bring Dougie back."
However, Carolina could see tough competition from teams like the New Jersey Devils.
"We’re told that there might be mutual interest between the Devils and Hamilton, who previously had been linked to the [Seattle] Kraken," Larry Brooks of the New York Post wrote. "That interest could come in the form of a seven-year deal worth an average of $9 million per."
If the Devils are indeed looking to make a splash—and are willing to pay to do so—they'll have a chance to pull Hamilton out of Carolina.
Prediction: Hamilton signs four-year deal with New Jersey
It's looking more and more likely that forward Gabriel Landeskog and the Colorado Avalanche are headed toward a breakup. For the time being, talks seem to have stalled.
"For those curious, it's still all quiet on the Colorado/Landeskog front. Free agency starts Wednesday. I'm sure they'll have at least one more convo by then, but as of now, nothing's going on," David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period tweeted.
Landeskog, who had 20 goals and 32 assists this past season, will be on a lot of teams' wish lists if he reaches the open market. Per Peter Baugh of The Athletic, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic remains "hopeful" that Landeskog and goalie Philipp Grubauer can both be re-signed.
Unfortunately, Sakic and the Avalanche may not be able to get a new deal done before Wednesday.
"Things can always change. But it sounds like things turned for the worse," Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now tweeted.
Colorado may ultimately be able to retain Landeskog, but it seems as if him hitting the open market is a near given.
Prediction: Landeskog becomes an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday