Let’s look at the top 12 free agents.
12. Tyler Bozak
Current Team: Toronto
2017-18 Stats: 81 GP, 11-32-43
Despite playing on the 4th line in Toronto, Bozak is a solid center who would be a 2nd or 3rd line center on any other team in the NHL. Bozak put up 43 points last year after setting a career high 55 points in 2016-17. In my opinion, Bozak is better than Plekanec which is why Bozak is on this list and Plekanec isn’t. With a lot of young players about to get paid in Toronto, I think we’ll see Bozak move on.
What happens: I think Bozak signs a 2 year $8 million contract ($4M AAV) with the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Kesler is expected to miss the 2018-19 season so I see Henrique moving up to the 2nd line and having Bozak play 3rd line role. He could also be a trade chip for the Ducks. I don’t see him going to a rebuilder.
11. Mike Green
Current Team: Detroit
2017-18 Stats: 66 GP, 8-25-33
Green stood out on a weak Red Wings squad and made the All Star Game due to the team representation rule. Green will likely move on from Detroit and try to chase a cup.
What happens: I think Green signs a 3 year $15 million deal ($5M AAV) with the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights have some tough decisions to make this offseason and made it all the way to the cup before their weak defense was exploited. I think Vegas is going to try and capture another cup but they need a defender and I think Green would be a good fit in Sin City.
10. Thomas Vanek
Current Team: Columbus
2017-18 Stats: 80 GP, 24-32-56
Ever since being bought out by the Wild, Vanek has bounced around a lot. He is still very solid but he is very old. I think Vanek is trying to find a consistent home for a few years and try to capture a cup.
What happens: I think Vanek resigns with the Columbus Blue Jackets for 2 years at $6M ($3M AAV). I think Columbus will give Vanek an opportunity to possibly capture the cup and helps with depth scoring. However Vanek is probably going to be a heavily coveted prize as he is a cheap option for the middle of the lineup that can put up 50 points.
9. Patrick Maroon
Pos: Left Wing
Current Team: New Jersey
2017-18 Stats: 73 GP, 16-24-40
Patrick Maroon proved he didn’t need Connor McDavid to be able to put up points when he was traded to the Devils. Maroon has recently started to stand out as a solid bottom 6 forward who can put up points and is also very gritty. That type of player is very highly sought out.
What happens: I think Maroon signs a 3 year $8 million deal ($2.67M AAV) with the Florida Panthers. Maroon is a great option for Florida. The Panthers need veteran wingers to help develop young centers such as Henrik Borgstrom and Jared McCann and I think Maroon and Borgstrom would be a good combo. Maroon also could replace Micheal Haley as the team’s enforcer but actually also be someone that can contribute to the scoreboard. Maroon is very versatile and can slide in anywhere on Florida’s dynamic forward lineup.
Come back later this week for Part 2.