NHL Free Agency 2021: Who’s on the Market?
With the 2021 NHL trade deadline in the books, it’s become that time of the year where we begin to look at the top unrestricted options in 2021 NHL free agency list. Although having played a shortened season, a lot of players made a name for themselves making a case as to why they should be at the top of the list. There’s a fine balance between some more familiar names as well as some names you may hardly recognize.
2021 NHL Free Agency | Top 6 Unrestricted Options
Alex Ovechkin (Capitals)
It’s certainly hard to believe that one of the greatest of all time will ever wear another sweater representing a team that isn’t known as the Capitals. The man responsible for bringing a Stanley Cup to Washington will undoubtedly return to home come the 2021-22 NHL season. The question is whether Ovechkin signs another long-term deal or if he keeps this one much shorter?
Gabriel Landeskog (Avalanche)
Often overlooked by the speedy Nathan Mackinnon, the Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog brings a ton of valuable assets to the table. Landeskog would still be the same player without the Avs, but would the Avs be the same team without their captain? The obvious answer is no and that’s why the Avs will be looking to resign their leader to a long-term deal.
Dougie Hamilton (Hurricanes)
If you’ve noticed the Carolina Hurricanes have all of the sudden become one of the elite threats around the league in recent years. A lot of that credit is owed to their star and league-leading goal scorer among defenseman, Dougie Hamilton. The big body defenseman is going to be expecting a lot of money and has publicly expressed his desire to remain a Hurricane. Will the Hurricanes invest in their future with Hamilton?
Taylor Hall (Bruins)
Hall served his time, and his one-and-done season with the Sabres is history now as he climbed aboard the Bruins ship in Boston. Still young, Hall can bring a lot of value to a team struggling on offense with his ability to drive hard to the net and create chaos below the goal-line. It’s likely the Bruins will try and keep Hall as he worked pretty effectively in his short time in a Bruins uniform.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Oilers)
Nugent-Hopkins was the ‘do it all’ kind of player for the Oilers these past few seasons. Playing in the shadows of McDavid and Draisaitl, the left-winger is a key contributor to their special teams contributing key minutes on both the power-play and penalty kill. It’s time for a new home for Nugent-Hopkins as he can bring a lot of benefits to a team like the Sharks who should have been a lot better than they were this previous season.
Tuuka Rask (Bruins)
A lot of people were saying that it may be time for the Stanley Cup champion goaltender to hang up his skates and call it quits. With the rise of young goalie Jeremy Swayman it doesn’t make sense for the Bruins to keep both Halak and Rask. Perhaps, what Rask has done in his career for Boston will earn him that roster spot and give him another chance at winning the cup in the city he’s been loved in for a long time now.
In my mind, these are the top six unrestricted free agents. There are several other big names that will be brought up this offseason such as Philipp Grubauer, Tyson Barrie, Zach Hyman, and Tomas Tatar. Some will be staying and others will be leaving.
It will be interesting to see how the odds change for each team after a key signing or dismissal. Each NHL season promises to be better than the next, and I don’t anticipate the league breaking that promise anytime soon.