NHL Power Rankings: Top free agents for 2020 offseason

NHL free agents

The offseason is officially here and the signing period for NHL free agents begins on Friday.

With that in mind we wanted to use this week’s NHL Power Rankings as an opportunity to look at the top unrestricted free agents that are set to hit the open market.

Alex Pietrangelo, the long-time captain of the St. Louis Blues, is the top player available this offseason, followed closely by 2018 NHL MVP Taylor Hall.

Who else makes the list this week of the top NHL free agents?

To the rankings!

1. Alex Pietrangelo. There is always a risk with signing a top free agent that has already celebrated their 30th birthday, but Pietrangelo remains a top-pairing defenseman and can still make a huge impact on any team over the next few years. Shutdown defender and elite scorer from the blue line. [Signed seven-year, $61.6M deal with Golden Knights.]

2. Taylor Hall. He has to have a contender in his sights, right? He may not produce at his MVP level from 2018 again, but he is still one of the league’s best offensive wingers and the closest thing to a game-changing forward on the open market. [Signed one-year, $8 million deal with Sabres]

3. Torey KrugHe is going to command a nice chunk of money, and he will deserve it. He makes a huge impact on the power play, is a big-time point producer from the blue line, and has posted dominant possession numbers throughout his career. [Signed seven-year, $45.5M deal with Blues.]

4. Jacob Markstrom. He may not steal a lot of games, but he will not lose many, either. He has become extremely consistent, durable and one of the most underrated goalies in the league. A major reason for the Canucks taking a step forward this season. [Signed six-year, $36M deal with Flames.]

5. Tyler Toffoli. Given his skillset and possession numbers, Toffoli always seemed like a player that was getting wasted in Los Angeles. We saw a little glimpse of what he is capable of in a more up-tempo system in Vancouver, and it was encouraging (14 points in 17 games, including playoffs). [Signed four-year, $17M deal with Canadiens.]

6. Evgenii Dadonov. Since returning to the NHL three years ago Dadonov has emerged as a very productive top-six forward that is going to give you 25 goals and 50 points. Age is a little concern, but on a three-or four-year deal you might get a really productive player.

7. Mike Hoffman. One of the other big NHL free agents coming out of Florida, Hoffman is a 30-goal winger that is going to give you a lot offensively. The question is how much can he give you when he is not scoring goals, and how much that is worth?

[ProHockeyTalk’s 2020 NHL Free Agency Tracker]

8. Henrik Lundqvist. I don’t know, maybe I’m being overly optimistic here, but I think he some goalie-needy contender is going to sign him and get a very motivated player that still wants to chase a championship. Maybe he’s not a 60-game goalie anymore, but on the right team and behind a better defense than what he had in New York he can still contribute a lot. [Signed one-year, $1.5M deal with Capitals.]

9. T.J. Brodie. Little bit of a decline this season offensively, but his underlying numbers from a possession and scoring chance perspective remained strong. He’s still a top-four defenseman on a good team. [Signed four-year, $20M deal with Maple Leafs.]

10. Kevin Shattenkirk. He was an outstanding fit in Tampa in a complementary role where he did not have to be “the guy” on defense. Maybe he’s not the No. 1 or 2 that Washington and New York thought he was in recent years, but he is definitely a contributor and can be a big part of a championship team. [Signed three-year, $11.7M deal with Ducks.]

11. Craig Smith. He has scored at a 20-goal pace in six of the past seven seasons and consistently posted a shot attempt share of better than 53 percent. Not a superstar, but a really good middle-six player assuming his next contract does not carry too much term. [Signed three-year, $9.3M deal with Bruins.]

12. Tyson Barrie. I don’t know that his one season in Toronto was as bad as the critics will tell you that it was. I do think he is this offseason’s Shattenkirk — player that failed to meet expectations in his previous stop, had his value sink, and will get signed to a cheaper contract and excel in a more appropriate role. [Signed one-years, $3.75M deal with Oilers.]

13. Anton Khudobin. Khudobin has been an outstanding goalie the past two years with the Stars and helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final this postseason. His age, as well as his limited experience as a full-time starter are the two big question marks. [Signed three-year, $10M deal with Stars.]

14. Justin Williams. I hesitate to put him on the list because it seems like another Carolina-or-bust sort of deal, but he is technically an unrestricted free agent and he is still a really good player on both sides of the puck. [Announced his retirement.]

15. Corey Crawford. If he is healthy he can still be a really good player. But health has been a big concern for him in recent years. Combined with his age that makes him a huge wild card. [Signed two-year, $7.8M deal with Devils.]

[NHL 2020 Offseason Trade Tracker]

16. Braden Holtby. How can one of the best goalies of his era be so low? Well, he has not been particularly good the past two seasons and he is probably going to get a significant contract. [Signed two-year, $8.6M deal with Canucks.]

17. Mikael Granlund. For whatever reason he just did not seem to be a fit in Nashville and that trade never really worked out the way they probably hoped it would. He is only 28 so it is possible he bounces back in a new environment with different talent around him.

18. Tyler Ennis. He had a really good bounce-back year offensively between Ottawa and Edmonton and could be a useful depth addition in the right situation. [Signed one-year, $1M deal with Oilers.]

19. Mikko Koivu. His offense looks like it might be gone, but he can still play a good two-way game and bring some strong defensive play to the bottom-six of a contender. [Signed one-year, $1.5M deal with Blue Jackets.]

20. Carl Soderberg. Probably more productive than you realize offensively (he will give you close to 20 goals and 40 points), but he is going to be 35 years old this season. How much longer will he give you that level of offense?

21. Joe Thornton. Would he leave San Jose? He was willing to at the trade deadline, and it might be his only shot at getting the Stanley Cup now. He is a third-or fourth-line center at this point, but he could still bring a lot of value there.

22. Patrick Maroon. Two years, two different teams, two Stanley Cups. Can he make it a personal three-peat somewhere? [Signed two-year, $1.8M deal with Lightning.]

23. Erik Gustafsson. A good power play specialist and someone that can bring some offense to your blue line. Needs to be sheltered in the correct role. [Signed one-year, $3M deal with Flyers.]

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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    Barkov sets Panthers’ points mark in 5-2 win over Red Wings

    Florida Panthers Power Play
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    DETROIT – Aleksander Barkov set the Florida franchise record for most career points, Carter Verhaeghe scored two goals, and the streaking Panthers beat the Detroit Red Wings for the ninth consecutive time, 5-2 on Monday night.

    Barkov recorded a second-period assist, giving him 614 points, breaking a tie with Jonathan Huberdeau for the team record.

    Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and two assists, giving him 14 points over the last five games. Eric Staal and Gustav Forsling also scored for the Panthers, who are 6-0-1 over their last seven games, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 20 shots.

    Pius Suter and Dylan Larkin scored for the Red Wings, who have lost 10 of their last 12 games. Ville Husso had 20 saves.

    The Panthers led 2-1 after the first period.

    The first Florida goal came after Lucas Raymond‘s turnover in his own zone. Sam Bennett made the steal and passed it to Tkachuk for his 33rd goal.

    Verhaeghe made it 2-0 with a slap shot that got past a screened Husso. The Red Wings challenged for goalie interference, but the goal was upheld after a video review.

    Just after killing off the subsequent penalty, Detroit got on the board when Suter jammed in a rebound of David Perron‘s shot.

    Forsling scored on shot from the point midway through the second period to restore Florida’s two-goal advantage. Barkov had the second assist, allowing him to break the franchise points record.

    Larkin scored on a delayed penalty off a pass from Raymond at 7:53 of the third to cut the Panthers’ lead to 3-2.

    Staal scored on a breakaway off a pass from Anthony Duclair with under four minutes left, and Verhaeghe added a power-play goal.


    Panthers F Eetu Luostarinen had an assist in the 200th game of his career. … Florida is 29-2-3 when leading after two periods. … The last time the Red Wings beat the Panthers was Feb. 20, 2021. … Barkov has 42 points in 38 career games against Detroit. … Andrew Copp notched his 150th career assist on Larkin’s goal.


    Panthers: At Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

    Red Wings: At St. Louis on Tuesday night to open a home-and-home set.

    Ferguson stops 47 shots, Senators top reeling Penguins 2-1

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    PITTSBURGH – Drake Batherson‘s power-play goal from in front with 2:09 left in regulation lifted the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 win over the reeling Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night.

    The Penguins finally beat Ottawa goaltender Dylan Ferguson on a Rickard Rakell goal with 5:21 to play, but a hooking penalty by Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel gave the Senators the man advantage and Batherson responded with his 21st goal of the season.

    Ferguson, making his first NHL start and first appearance in the league in more than five years, made 47 saves to send Pittsburgh to its fourth straight loss. Thomas Chabot scored his 10th goal of the season for Ottawa as the Senators snapped a five-game slide.

    The Penguins fell behind Florida in the race for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Tristan Jarry played well but couldn’t get in the way of Batherson’s jam shot from just outside the crease.

    Ferguson began the night having played nine minutes at the NHL level as a teenager for Vegas early in the Golden Knights’ debut season in 2017-18. He has bounced around various levels of the minors ever since and was in the process of being sent down to the ECHL by the AHL’s Toronto Marlies earlier this month when the Senators signed him to a two-way deal.

    Something clicked. He played well enough in six games for Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in Belleville to receive a call-up on Sunday. Just over 24 hours later, the Senators made the now 24-year-old Ferguson the sixth goaltender they’ve used this season when they gave him the nod against the struggling Penguins.

    Ferguson looked like he belonged from the opening faceoff. He made a series of sharp saves early, including a couple of stops from in close against Jake Guentzel and a flashy glove save on a slap shot by Malkin.

    Jarry, a two-time All-Star who has struggled to find any sort of consistency since returning from an extended stay on the injured list, took a step forward, turning aside multiple odd-man rushes and a breakaway by Brady Tkachuk in the second period.

    The lone goal Jarry allowed came 16:46 into the first when Chabot took a feed from Claude Giroux and rather than fire a shot from high in the slot skated down to the right circle and beat Jarry to the far post.

    Jarry was solid the rest of the way, though he spent most of the game watching Ferguson dazzle at the other end before Rakell broke through with just over 5 minutes to go.


    Senators: Travel to Boston on Tuesday to face the NHL-leading Bruins.

    Penguins: Start a difficult back-to-back on the road on Wednesday when they visit the Avalanche in Denver.

    Sharks goalie James Reimer declines to wear Pride jersey

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    San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer didn’t take part in pregame warmups, saying the team’s decision to wear Pride-themed jerseys in support of the LGBTQ community runs counter to his religious beliefs.

    Reimer said in a statement Saturday that he made the decision based on his Christian beliefs, adding that he “always strived to treat everyone with respect” and that members of the LGBTQ community should be welcome in hockey.

    “In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions, which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in life,” Reimer said.

    Reimer is the second NHL player this season to refuse to take part in warmups with Pride-themed jerseys, with Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov declining to in January. Reimer was not slated to start in Saturday night’s home game against the New York Islanders, which is Pride night.

    Additionally, the New York Rangers opted not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride stick tape as part of their night in January despite previously advertising that plan.

    The Sharks said in a statement that they are proud to host Pride Night, saying the event reinforces the team’s commitment to inclusiveness.

    “As we promote these standards, we also acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic,” the team said in a statement. “As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship.”

    The You Can Play Project, which works to promote inclusiveness in sports, said the organization was disappointed in Reimer’s actions.

    “Religion and respect are not in conflict with each other, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason to not support our community,” the organization said. “Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebration jersey worn, is not about the personal feelings of an athlete; rather the communication from the team that a community is welcome in the arena and the sport.”

    Panarin, Shesterkin lead Rangers to 6-0 rout of Penguins

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    NEW YORK — Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, Artemi Panarin scored twice and Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves as the New York Rangers routed Pittsburgh 6-0 on Saturday night for their second win over the Penguins in three days.

    Vladimir Tarasenko, Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba also scored for the surging Rangers, who have won nine of their last 11 home games and are 12-4-0 in their past 16 at Madison Square Garden.

    Shesterkin won his fifth straight and posted his second shutout this season. He nimbly denied Pittsburgh forward Mikael Granland with a sprawling save five minutes into the third period to preserve the shutout, the 10th of his career. His other one this season was a 1-0 home win over Philadelphia on Nov. 1.

    “When you put in hard and honest work, miracles happen,” Shesterkin said through a translator. ”We played wonderfully today – scored many, many goals. Honestly, I hope the fans loved it. We’re playing for them.”

    The Penguins lost their third straight and trail the Rangers by 12 points for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh, still in wild-card position, is trying to reach the playoffs for the 17th straight time.

    “Tonight was a humbling experience for all of us,” coach Mike Sullivan said. ”At this time of year, you have to have a short memory. We still have control of our destiny.”

    Patrick Kane and defenseman K’Andre Miller also had two assists apiece as New York improved to 7-1-1 in its last nine home games against Pittsburgh. The Rangers are five points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils, who lost at Florida on Saturday.

    “This was a big game for our goalie and our team,” Panarin said. “If you work at playing the right way, you have opportunities for goals.”

    Since Dec. 5, when they turned around their season with a 6-4 comeback win at home over St. Louis, the Rangers are 29-9-5.

    As he did on Thursday when the Rangers beat the Penguins 4-2, Zibanejad opened the scoring. He got his team-leading 36th goal at 5:10 of the first, beating Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. Trouba and Miller assisted.

    Panarin made it 2-0 at 19:49 on the power play, whipping the puck past Jarry from the left circle off a pass from Adam Fox.

    Tarasenko increased the lead at 3:54 of the second with his fifth goal since joining the Rangers in a trade with St. Louis on Feb. 9. Tarasenko has points in 10 of his first 18 games with the Rangers.

    Kreider made it 4-0 at 6:43 with his 31st goal and third in two games against the Penguins. Kane and Vincent Trocheck assisted on Kreider’s 260th career goal, which moved the Rangers forward within two of Vic Hadfield for fifth place on the franchise list.

    New York won Thursday when Kreider scored the go-ahead goal in the third and added an empty-netter.

    After Casey DeSmith replaced Jarry in net following Kreider’s goal, Trouba beat the replacement with a sharp-angle shot at 8:39 for his eighth to increase the margin to 5-0. Trouba has points in six of his last eight games.

    Panarin scored again at 16:38 of the second – his 22nd goal of the season – to make it 6-0, with assists to Kane and Filip Chytil.

    “We’re building chemistry, building every day and every game,” Kane said.

    Panarin has points in eight of his last 10 games and leads the Rangers with 77 points overall, while Kane has seven points in his last six games.

    “It’s nice to see that many great players on your team,” added Panarin, whose first two NHL seasons were played alongside Kane with the Chicago Blackhawks. “We’re happy tonight.”

    Zibanejad assisted on goals by Tarasenko and Trouba and has 25 points – including 14 goals – over his last 20 games.

    “It was just one of those nights when the puck goes in for us,” Zibanejad said. “And obviously Igor gives us a boost making all those saves.”

    NOTES: The Penguins were missing defenseman Jeff Petry after he was hit with an unpenalized elbow from Rangers forward Tyler Motte on Thursday. … Pittsburgh also scratched defenseman Jan Rutta and forward Dalton Heinen and played defenseman Mark Friedman for the first time since Feb. 11. … The Rangers were without injured defenseman Ryan Lindgren for the 10th straight game.


    Penguins: Host the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

    Rangers: Host the Nashville Predators on Sunday night.