With John Tavares, James van Reimsdyk, Paul Statsny and most of the other top NHL free agents off the market, there are still dozens of players looking for contracts for next season. Here is Last Word on Hockey’s list of the top 11 unrestricted free agents still looking for work.
Top Remaining NHL Free Agents
The once 27-goal scorer, albeit playing alongside Connor McDavid, is looking to cash in on encouraging stretch with the New Jersey Devils after being traded from Edmonton at the trade deadline. Before the trade, Maroon scored 14 goals and 30 points in 57 games with the Oilers but scored 13 points in 17 games to close out the season in New Jersey. The 34-year-old added one goal in five playoff games.
2. Rick Nash
Rick Nash would be number one on this list if he were 100% committed to playing next season but he isn’t, so he comes in at #2. The former first overall pick split his time between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins last season, amassing 34 points in a combined 71 games (21 goals, 13 assists). If Nash decides to return, he’s still a nice fit on a teams third line.
3. Brooks Orpik
2017-2018 team: Washington Capitals
Previous Cap Hit: $5,500,000
Fresh off a Stanley Cup Win with the Washington Capitals, Orpik was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche and subsequently bought out. The 37-year-old’s best days are surely behind him, but any team looking for a cheap left-handed defenseman who can be a solid 5th or 6th man on the blue line and bring a ton of experience on and off the ice should give Orpik a call.
Duclair scored 20 goals as a 20-year-old in 2015-2016, but since then Duclair has only gone downhill. Coming off a season split between Coyotes and Blackhawks, Duclair could still pan out given the chance with the right group. He’d be cheap, and a low-risk possible high-reward option.
5. Mark Letestu
2017-2018 team: Edmonton Oilers/Columbus Blue Jackets
Previous Cap Hit: $1,800,000
The 33-year-old Elk Point, Alberta native is mostly known for his defensive ability. He can kill penalties and won 53.3% of his faceoffs last season. Letestu is not a big scorer but can bring a little offence to the table as well. He scored nine goals and 23 points last season. Letestu has two 30+ point campaigns in his career, including one as recently as 2016-17.
6. Toby Enstrom
2017-18 team: Winnipeg Jets
Previous Cap Hit: $5,750,000
The 33-year-old was not happy about being a healthy scratch for the Winnipeg Jets in their final playoff game. While he does not bring the offence that he did earlier in his career and has had some injury issues Enstrom is a reliable defensive player. He can move the puck quickly and start the transition game. He would be a nice addition on many team’s bottom pair. Enstrom had a goal and five assists in 43 games last season.
7. Tyler Ennis
Position: Left Wing
2017-2018 team: Minnesota Wild
Previous Cap Hit: $4,600,000
Another low-risk high reward option, like Duclair, the 28-year-old is a three-time 20-goal scorer but hasn’t accomplished the feat since 2014-2015. If he could someone find his form again, on a cheap contract, Ennis could be a free agent steal.
8. Dan Hamhuis
2017-2018 team: Dallas Stars
Previous Cap Hit: $3,750,000
The 35-year-old veteran is not the player he used to be for Vancouver and Nashville but he’s still dependable and any team that’s interested in a veteran addition with a ton of experience should take a look at Hamius. Much like Brooks Orpik, Hamius still has a ton to offer.
9. Derek Grant
2017-2018 team: Anaheim Ducks
Previous Cap Hit: $650,000
In his first 86 games in the NHL between four different teams, Derek Grant didn’t score a single goal. But in 66 games last season, Grant scored 12 goals and 24 points. His faceoff percentage was also 53.1% in just 11 minutes of average ice time.
10. Dylan DeMelo
2017-2018 team: San Jose Sharks
Previous Cap Hit: $650,000
Just 25 years old, DeMelo is a lot like Duclair and Ennis. Low-risk, high-reward option who plays on the right side and could prove to be a surprise if someone gives him a chance. In 133 games over three seasons with the Sharks, DeMelo scored two goals and 29 assists last season.
2017-2018 team: Winnipeg Jets
Previous Cap Hit: $4,100,000
After being bought out by the Montreal Canadiens after they acquired him in a salary dump trade with Winnipeg Jets, Mason is looking for a new crease to protect. He didn’t see a ton of time with the Jets, but what he did do should be enough to earn a backup role somewhere in the NHL. But the former starter and rookie of the year might have to settle with an AHL contract in order to find himself back in the NHL.