Free agency period is still a few weeks away in the National Hockey League. But that doesn’t preclude us from speculating like crazy! Tis the season, folks. While there aren’t any game-changing unrestricted 2017 NHL free Agents available, there are some quality names out there who can significantly upgrade a team. Here are the names that most intrigue me.
Top 5 2017 NHL Free Agents – Who Will Be Game Changers?
His return to the NHL from overseas this season was a great success. Radulov shed his party boy image and was a heart and soul type of guy for the Montreal Canadiens. While everyone assumes he will return to Montreal, if some crazy GM backs up the Brinks truck with a long-term deal, he just might consider the offer.
This year’s postseason didn’t really do much to cement Kevin Shattenkirk as THE free agent. Sure, someone will overpay for his steady services, but he’s now got playoff underachievement with St. Louis and Washington on his resume. Perhaps the Golden Knights will pay big money to make him their number one D-man. Who knows.
Another Capitals player, Oshie was decent in the postseason and his skillset will be in serious demand. I can’t imagine him going to a non-contender, though. Look for him to sign a 3-year deal with a proven playoff team.
Yes, he’s old and has a lot of miles on him. And yes, it’s an offseason of rehab for him following a devastating knee injury. But playmaking big centers don’t grow on trees and speed was never Joe’s game. I could see Thornton signing a two-year deal with a team full of scoring wingers.
Sure, there are bigger names on the free agent market, but very few with the hockey IQ of Nick Bonino. He has been such an important piece of the Penguins championship runs. Versatile, Bonino can cover top opposing lines or center a unit expected to provide secondary scoring. At only 29, Bonino is worth locking up.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.