NHL Power Rankings: Best free agent signings so far this offseason
In this week's edition of the NHL Power Rankings, we're checking in with the best free agent signings we've seen in the league so far this off-season.
We tried to take into account the contract, the salary cap, the expected level of production, and the long-term risk involved in each deal. The latter point could drop a good player a little further down the ladder now, as this risk is definitely a concern going forward. Just because a player is good right now doesn't mean you'll get the same player in a year or two.
The ranking list contains signatures until Monday morning. We're also only looking at unrestricted contract signing for free agents. There are no restricted free agents included.
Who does the cut?
To this week's NHL Power Rankings!
1. Taylor Hall, Buffalo Sabers. Total madness. Hall is reunited with a coach he likes, is (likely) allowed to play alongside Jack Eichel, and the Sabers get a hitter with (as of now) low long-term risk. [Link to signature]
2. Craig Smith, Boston Bruins. This is my preferred long term contract given by any team. I'm not sure how the Bruins got him for a little over $ 3 million a year, but Smith is a perfect addition to their top strikers. He will score 20-25 goals, increase possession and just be a solid addition. Great signature. [Link to signature]
3. Henrik Lundqvist, Washington Capitals. This just seems like a perfect fit. The capitals get a solid seasoned goalkeeper who teams up with Ilya Samsonov and Lundqvist gets another chance to pursue a Stanley Cup against a competitor. You will get an extremely motivated Lundqvist with a ridiculously cap-friendly contract. With practically no risk in the long run and a cheap cap hit in the short term, this is a huge win. [Link to signature]
4. Torey Krug, St. Louis Blues. The term worries me a little for the second half of this contract, but it's not enough to place it too low in the rankings. Will he replace Alex Pietrangelo entirely? No, probably not. But he's still a bloody gamer. [Link to signature]
5. T.J. Brodie, Toronto Maple Leafs. A very powerful addition to the Maple Leafs blue line and just what they needed. Solid, reliable defender who didn't ask for anything back and doesn't have a terrible contract. [Link to signature]
6. Anton Khudobin, Dallas Stars. Technically a re-signing, but Khudobin still went on the open market for a very short time before returning to Dallas. He's been outstanding on the Dallas net for the last two years, helping to form an elite goalkeeping duo with Ben Bishop. [Link to signature]
7. Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers. A year-long proof-it deal that could pay off hugely for him and the Oilers. Virtually no risk to Edmonton with a potentially high reward. He will score a ton in this power game. [Link to signature]
8. Corey Crawford, New Jersey Devils. When he's healthy he is still an excellent goalkeeper who will help make the Devils more competitive than before. [Link to signature]
[See also: ProHockeyTalks 2020 NHL Free Agency Tracker]
9. Braden Holtby, Vancouver Canucks. He hasn't been the same player in a few years, but I also don't think he's been as bad as his 2019-20 numbers show. The Canucks haven't paid too much and haven't committed too many years. Solid signature. [Link to signature]
10. Thomas Greiss, Detroit Red Wings. He has very quietly put together an outstanding career for himself and completed it with above-average performance across the board. The Red Wings needed a goalkeeper, and they took a very good one for a fair price. [Link to signature]
11. Cam Talbot, Minnesota Wild. An average NHL goalkeeper who has signed an average NHL goalkeeping contract. No franchise changer. But also not something that will push the franchise back if it fails. The latter is important when it comes to the next man ...
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12. Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames. Here's the thing about Markstrom: I think I like him at $ 6 million a year right now and think that's fair for the 2020-21 season based on the player he is and what he's done. I won't like it at $ 6 million a year in three or four years. Such a contract for a 30 year old free agent goalkeeper would scare me and could cause a lot of problems down the line. [Link to signature]
13. Kevin Shattenkirk, Anaheim Ducks. He had a great year off in Tampa Bay and made a nice multi-year deal for himself with the Ducks. He's a very good player who just failed to live up to unrealistic expectations on some of his previous stops (Washington, New York). [Link to signature]
14. Jesper Fast, Carolina Hurricanes. Good depth movement at a fair price for a competitor who mostly only needs a few tweaks to the edges.
15. Mikko Koivu, Columbus Blue Jackets. He won't make much of an impact offensively but Koivu is still a good defensive center that will improve his depth in the middle (along with the addition of Max Domi).
16. Wayne Simmonds, Toronto Maple Leafs. Kyle Dubas noted that he found some players who "are harder to play" against, and if that's the path to go, Simmonds is a pretty good place to start. He's no longer a top-line hitter, but the Maple Leafs don't pay him for it either. [Link to signature]
17. Bobby Ryan, Detroit Red Wings. I'm really excited to see what Ryan will do here with this opportunity. The Red Wings pissed him off for next to nothing and you know he'll be happy to show that he can still work in the NHL. [Link to signature]
18. Kyle Turris, Edmonton Oilers. Another very good signature from Edmonton. Turris didn't work out as expected in Nashville, but in a lesser role behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl there is some value here that needs to be squeezed out by a cheap contract.
19. Vladislav Namestnikov, Detroit Red Wings. Steve Yzerman did a lot of really smart signatures on the free agency's first weekend, and this was one of them. He found some quality veterans on short-term deals that can be flipped on the deadline. [Link to signature]
20. Radko Gudas, Florida Panthers. Between that signing and the takeover of Patric Hornqvist, the Panthers have added two players who will absolutely infuriate opposing players and fans.
21. Justin Schultz, Washington Capitals. Injuries have been a big problem for the past three years, and if he's not offended, he's not really contributing too much. And last season, his offense largely disappeared when he played on a team laden with all-star forwards. Not an encouraging sign. [Link to signature]
22. Chris Tanev, Calgary Flames. That contract would have looked much better four years ago. Tanev is likely on the downside of his career.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk for NBC Sports. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.
NHL Power Rankings: The best free agent signings yet this off-season were originally posted on NBCSports.com
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