Skip to main content

NHL Free Agency: The 10 Best UFAs Still Available

It was a slow week in the world of NHL free agency, with two of the top names - Nazem Kadri and John Klingberg - still unsigned. Here's a look at 10 of the best UFAs still on the market.
John Klingberg

Nearly two full weeks have passed since the start of NHL free agency, and two of the biggest names on the board still remain.

Nazem Kadri and John Klingberg have been linked to several suitors each, but both seem to be biding their time to sign a contract. Both are high-impact players that most teams with the cap space to make it work would be interested in, but with so many big RFAs still available, and teams looking to make their cap situations work, it could still be a while.

With that said, there's still some value to be found in free agency with some other names available. Here's a look at 10 of the best on the market:


1. Nazem Kadri, C, 31

2021-22 cap hit: $4,500,000

Kadri picked an incredible year for a breakout season, scoring 28 goals and 87 points in the regular season and 15 points in 16 playoff games en route to a Stanley Cup run. He's poised for a long-term deal, but teams will need to get creative to bring him in.

2. John Klingberg, D, 29
2021-22 cap hit: $4,250,000

Klingberg never found the offensive flair that made him a 67-point defender back in 2017-18, but he's the best defenseman on the market and doesn't need to rush to a deal.

3. Phil Kessel, RW, 34

2021-22 cap hit: $8,000,000

Kessel quietly had a 52-point season, but the once-consistent 30-goal scorer only managed to score five at even strength this year. At the right price, Kessel can be good scoring depth, but his contract made him a challenge to move at the deadline in an attempt to win the Cup.

4. Evan Rodrigues, C, 28
2021-22 cap hit: $1,000,000

One of the best value players last year, Rodrigues had 43 points in 82 games, a career-best campaign after never breaking the 30-point barrier in his career. Sidney Crosby was the center he played with the most, though, and over half his goals came on the power play. Still, you can at least rely on him around the net, and he shouldn't be too expensive.

5. Paul Stastny, C, 36
2021-22 cap hit: $3,750,000

Stastny is still chugging along, even at 36. You have to wonder how much competitive hockey he has left, but the skilled center can still hold his own defensively and it was nice to see him hit 45 points this year, his best regular season total since 2015-16. It's his age that's concerning.

6. Danton Heinen, LW, 27
2021-22 cap hit: $1,100,000

Heinen had a nice bounce-back year with the Penguins, but ultimately wasn't qualified. Let's see what teams think of the 18-goal scorer from last year.

7. Sonny Milano, LW, 26
2021-22 cap hit: $1,700,000

He'll forever be remembered as the guy that capitalized on the Zegras over-the-net passing play. He had a good season and clearly has a ton of skill, so it'll be interesting to see his value.

8. P.K. Subban, D, 33
2021-22 cap hit: $9,000,000

Much of the negative attention around him was for how poorly he played at his massive cap hit. At a cheap price, Subban might still be a valuable player, but he definitely isn't the player he once was.

9. Sam Steel, LW, 24
2021-22 cap hit: $874,000

Steel couldn't convert an incredible junior career into NHL success, scoring a career-high 22 points over four seasons with the Ducks. He's still young, and the skill is clearly there; it might be worth taking a chance here.

10. Ryan Donato, LW, 26
2021-22 salary cap hit: $750,000

After a promising start to his pro career with Boston in 2017-18, Donato struggled to put up big numbers in the NHL, cracking a career-high 16 goals and 31 points with Seattle this past year. Still, as a cheap scoring depth option, you could do so much worse,

TOP HEADLINES

USATSI_8723284
Play

NHL Hot Seat Radar: Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins' competitive window is shrinking – something that happens to virtually every successful franchise – so it's up to the team's management to see how they approach both the short- and long-term future.

Juraj Slafkovsky

Prospect Pool Overview: Montreal Canadiens

From making the Stanley Cup final to snagging the first overall pick, the Montreal Canadiens have had a riveting last year and a half. Tony Ferrari looks at the team's prospect pool and who you need to get excited about.

USATSI_15981809

Jets Sign Appleton to Three-Year Extension, Avoid Arbitration

The Winnipeg Jets and forward Mason Appleton have avoided arbitration, agreeing to terms on a three-year contract extension.