5 under the radar free agents


In the days leading up to free agency, all eyes will be on Islanders forward John Tavares. Where will he end up? How long will he sign for? How much will he sign for? Those are all interesting questions that will likely be answered in the coming days.

Once he’s off the board, the focus will turn to players like Paul Stastny, James Neal and James van Riemsdyk. Those guys will all command big dollars on the open market.

But there are players that are flying under the radar that could be quality signings for your favorite team. Who might some of those guys be? Well, let’s take a look.

Derek Ryan, Carolina Hurricanes

Ryan doesn’t play a flashy game, but he’s been a useful asset for the Hurricanes over the last few seasons. The 31-year-old had 15 goals and a respectable 38 points in 80 games in 2017-18. He also won 56.5 percent of his faceoffs over the course of the season.

His advanced stats weren’t too shabby either, as he posted a CF% of 57.05 percent, a FF% of 55.78 percent and a SF% 55.67 percent, according to Natural Stat Trick.

In his two full NHL seasons, Ryan has earned $600,000 and $1.425 million. This will likely be his only chance at getting some long-term financial security.

Matt Calvert, Columbus Blue Jackets

If history has shown us anything, it’s that Calvert will finish with roughly 10 goals and almost 25 points every year. Those aren’t impressive offensive numbers by any stretch, but he’s capable of doing other things well.

Calvert plays a fast game. He’s got wheels, which is ideal for a bottom-six player in today’s NHL. He’s also able to kill penalties, too. In the playoffs, he managed to score three goals in six games against the Washington Capitals.

The 28-year-old is likely on his way out of Columbus, so another team could scoop him up at an affordable rate on July 1st.

Antoine Roussel, Dallas Stars

If you’ve paid any attention to the Stars over the last few years, you know exactly the type of player that Roussell has developed into. He’s a big winger, that plays a very north/south kind of game.

Before last season, he managed to find the back of the net 12, 13, 13 and 14 times, which shows that he has a little bit of touch around the net. He’s also not shy about racking up penalty minutes either, as he accumulated between 115 and 209 penalty minutes since 2013-14.

His advanced stats aren’t too shabby either. He had a CF% 52.47 percent last year and a FF% of 55.09 percent.

Depending on his asking price, Roussel could be a solid value pick up for his next team.

Greg Pateryn, Dallas Stars

After being traded from Montreal to Dallas, Pateryn finally got an opportunity to establish himself as a regular at the NHL level.

The 28-year-old finished the year with one goal, 13 points and 50 penalty minutes in 73 games with the Stars. Playing with the puck on stick isn’t necessarily his strength, but he’s able to play a simple, physical game

Pateryn won’t break the bank if he goes to market, but he won’t have to wait long to land a contract from an NHL team as a fifth or sixth defenseman.

Daniel Carr, Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens reportedly offered Carr $700,000, but he turned it down because of a great offer he got in the KHL. His camp has already mentioned that they feel they can get a better offer if they stick in the NHL.

Carr is a hard worker that battles in front of the net and competes on a nightly basis. Still, the 26-year-old was never able to establish himself as a regular with the Habs.

He split last season between the Montreal and Laval (their AHL affiliate). He had 19 points in 20 AHL games and he added 16 points in 38 contests in the NHL.

Carr’s signing won’t make headlines, but fans of his next team will quickly grow to like his compete level and style of play.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.