Best remaining free agents heading into Day 2

Most of the best players that were available heading into the start of free agency have been scooped up. The New York Rangers were able to land Artemi Panarin, the Florida Panthers managed to snag Sergei Bobrovsky, Anders Lee decided to return to the New York Islanders, Joe Pavelski moved on from San Jose to Dallas, and Tyler Myers decided to join the Vancouver Canucks. But what’s left for the teams that are still looking to make a significant move?

Here’s who’s still available:

Jake Gardiner – D: Gardiner came into free agency as the best puck-moving defenseman available on the market, but either the offers didn’t come in like he would’ve hoped or he just wants to take his time making a decision on his next team. Teams may also be concerned about his back issues. The 28-year-old had three goals and 30 points in 62 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. Don’t be surprised if he earns somewhere between $6 million and $7 million on his next deal.

Marcus Johansson – W: Johansson proved to be a valuable trade deadline acquisition for the Boston Bruins. The 28-year-old put up 13 goals and 30 points in 58 games with New Jersey and Boston. He then added 11 points in 22 games during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup Final. Johansson can play up and down in the lineup, but his injury history may be concerning for some teams.

Ryan Dzingel – W: Dzingel scored 26 goals and 56 points in 78 games with Ottawa and Columbus. 22 of those goals were scored with the Senators, but he had a difficult time adjusting to the Blue Jackets after they acquired him near the trade deadline. The 27-year-old is fast and he can score. The big question is whether or not he can surpass the 25-goal mark again in the near future.

Micheal Ferland – W: Ferland turned down a big extension from the Carolina Hurricanes during the season and it might end up costing him some money in the end. He’s one of the few big bodies on the market that can put the puck in the net. Ferland scored 17 goals and 40 points in 71 games with the ‘Canes in 2018-19.

[ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker]

Ben Hutton – D: Hutton became a free agent after the Vancouver Canucks decided not to give him a qualifying offer this offseason. The 26-year-old played big minutes last season, as he averaged 22:21 of ice time. He could be a quality depth defenseman on the right team.

Patrick Maroon – W: Maroon became a feel-good story for his hometown team, the St. Louis Blues. Not only was he able to win a Stanley Cup this year, he also managed to score some key goals along the way. It appears as though his positive season put him out of St. Louis’ price range, which means he’ll be looking for some added commitment. The 31-year-old scored 10 goals and 28 points in 74 games last season. The fact that he’s a big body means that he’ll probably get decent offers.

Brian Boyle – C: Boyle will provide his next team with size, hockey smarts and a strong veteran presence. He’s also useful as a net-front presence on the power play and he’s also a capable penalty-killer. The 34-year-old has played for five teams over the last three season, but that’s mostly because every team could use a veteran presence like him on their roster.

Derick Brassard – C: Brassard isn’t as much of an offensive threat as he once was, but he can still be a useful depth scorer on a good team. The 31-year-old had 14 goals and just 23 points in 70 games with Colorado, Florida and Pittsburgh last season. He’ll probably have to settle for a short contract with a low AAV this summer.

Justin Williams – W: The 37-year-old was a valuable leader for a young Carolina Hurricanes squad that made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final. Williams finished the regular season with 23 goals and 53 points in 82 games. The veteran probably wants to return to Carolina, but he’ll likely listen to offers from various teams that have a legitimate shot at winning the Stanley Cup.

Joe Thornton – C: You know all there is to know about Jumbo Joe. He isn’t as much of an offensive force as he once was, but he’s still fully capable of playing a depth role on a competitive team. It’s extremely unlikely that he’ll be willing to go anywhere except San Jose.

Patrick Marleau – W: Marleau was traded from Toronto to Carolina so that he could be bought out last week. It’s no secret that Marleau would like to go back to the San Jose Sharks, but it may be difficult for them to make it work with their current cap situation. The 39-year-old had 16 goals and 37 points in 82 games in 2018-19. Again, he’ll likely be looking to sign with a team that has a legitimate chance of winning it all.

Jason Pominville – W: There’s still a chance that Pominville could end up back with the Buffalo Sabres, but that’s not a given at this point. The 36-year-old had 16 goals and 31 points in 73 games with the Sabres last season. Would he really consider going elsewhere? We’ll find out sooner than later.

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.

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    Hughes has first NHL hat trick, Devils beat Capitals 5-1

    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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    NEWARK, N.J. – Jack Hughes had his first career NHL hat trick, Vitek Vanecek made 38 saves against his former team and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday for coach Lindy Ruff’s 800th victory.

    “It’s exciting,” Hughes said. “Couple of two-goal games in my career, so nice to cap it off with the third one tonight.”

    Ruff became the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-victory mark. The former Buffalo player won 571 games with the Sabres from 1997-2011. He had 165 wins in five seasons with Dallas and has 64 in two-plus seasons with New Jersey.

    “It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff cracked. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams, and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

    The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row after seeing their franchise-record 13-game winning streak snapped by Toronto.

    Devils captain Nico Hischier and Fabian Zetterlund also scored.

    John Carlson scored for Washington and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves.

    “Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walked away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”

    Vanecek, meanwhile, was hoping for the shutout against a familiar foe.

    “That would have been nice, but that’s hockey,” Vanecek said, “For sure you’re trying, but not every time; the win is more important.”

    Hischier opened up the scoring with his 10th goal of the season midway through the first period on a power play after Alexander Ovechkin was called for slashing.

    Hughes wrapped the puck around goalie Lindgren’s right leg and the goal post to put the Devils up 2-0 5:59 into the second period. Hughes appeared to have lost his angle on the goal when he ripped a shot off Lindgren’s face mask and into the net midway through the period for his 10th goal of the season to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead.

    The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick added his third midway through the third period as hats rained down on the ice with New Jersey up 4-0.

    “You want to continue to play the right way, but if an opportunity comes you want to definitely put it in the back of the net with authority,” Hughes said. “So tonight, I was able to cap it off and it was nice.”

    Fabian Zetterlund capped the scoring for New Jersey late in the third period.

    NOTES: The Devils improved to 16-0-0 this season when Hischier has a point. New Jersey’s Nathan Bastain (upper body) did not return after the first period. . Ovechkin is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL goals list.

    UP NEXT

    Capitals: At Vancouver on Tuesday night.

    Devils: At the New York Rangers on Monday night.

    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.