Our editors have identified relevant NHL players at each position who can become unrestricted free agents on July 1, 2020. Taylor Hall, Nicklas Backstrom, Torey Krug, and Braden Holtby are all among the most valuable players in a contract year. In this article, we go over those who can make the biggest difference for whoever signs them.
Taylor Hall, Left Wing, Arizona Coyotes
Nicklas Backstrom, Centerman, Washington Capitals
Evgenii Dadonov, Right Wing, Florida Panthers
Mike Hoffman, Left Wing, Florida Panthers
Zack Kassian, Right Wing, Edmonton Oilers
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Centerman, Ottawa Senators
Tyler Toffoli, Right Wing, Los Angeles Kings
Chris Kreider, Left Wing, New York Rangers
Erik Haula, Centerman/Left Wing, Carolina Hurricanes
Mikael Granlund, Centerman/Left Wing/Right Wing, Nashville Predators
Alex Galchenyuk, Centerman/Left Wing, Pittsburgh Penguins
Torey Krug, Boston Bruins
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues
Tyson Barrie, Toronto Maple Leafs
Kevin Shattenkirk, Tampa Bay Lightning
Jake Muzzin, Toronto Maple Leafs
Erik Gustafsson, Chicago Blackhawks
Sami Vatanen, New Jersey Devils
Justin Schultz, Pittsburgh Penguins
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
Thomas Greiss, New York Islanders
Jaroslav Halak, Boston Bruins
Pavel Francouz, Colorado Avalanche
Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks
Robin Lehner, Chicago Blackhawks
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers
Taylor Hall scored a goal on four shots and was plus-2 in Sunday’s 5-2 win over Detroit. It was his first goal for the Coyotes, who acquired the 2018 Hart Trophy winner on December 16 for prospects Nick Merkley, Nate Schnarr, Kevin Bahl, a 2020 first-round pick and a conditional third-round pick in 2021.
Hall was able to find the net just under six minutes into the third period. He’s now reached the scoresheet in each of his first three games with the Coyotes, having picked up an assist in each of his first two contests.
He has had his offensive struggles since his MVP season but the change of scenery seems to be what he needed to unlock the form that allowed him to have 39 goals and 93 points in 2017-18.
The Coyotes have scored 13 goals in the three games since they acquired Hall and the team that signs him next season will be a great choice for NHL picks on the total, moneyline and puck line.
Nicklas Backstrom doesn’t want to go anywhere. He is in the final season of the 10-year, $67 million contract he originally signed on May 17, 2010 and if both his team and him have their way, they will sign a new contract before July 1.
This is what Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan said on November 26: “We want back. He’s a big part of our organization and we’re going to do whatever we can to get him back.” As for Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, he has predicted that Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin will retire as Capitals.
Backstrom, who is negotiating a new contract without an agent, has stated several times that he would like to stay with the team. “I love it here. I love the fans. I love everything about being in this city,” Backstrom said. “I would like to stay, yeah. So hopefully we’ll come up with a solution,” he recently said.
Last Thursday he appeared in an interview on DC101’s Elliot In The Morning and shared an update on his contract negotiations while pointing out that he wants to retire in Washington.
“Honestly, we haven’t really talked that much,” Backstrom said. “As I said before, I want to be a Capital for life. I love this team. I love this city. This is home for me. Obviously I would like to get it done but you know there are situations about the salary cap. But I have no intention of going anywhere. If we can get it done, that would be really great and I’d be super proud to represent the Caps for my whole career.”
The 32-year-old also pointed out that Alex Ovechkin is the best line-mate he’s ever had. “Absolutely. Not even close,” he said.
Last Friday he hit the 900-point mark milestone in the 6-3 win against the Devils. It was also his 900th career game with Alex Ovechkin and he put up four points (two goals and two assists) to lead the Capitals.
“It’s great actually,” Backstrom said after the game. “I wasn’t expecting that but sometimes it happens. It’s fun being a part of this organization for this long. For playing with such a great player like Alex, it’s very fortunate on my side. You need to enjoy every moment.”
The talented Centerman is now the second Capitals player and seventh Swedish player ever to hit the 900-point plateau.