NHL Free Agency Predictions – Centers Edition

The Free Agents

Unrestricted

  • C Joe Thornton, 37: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $6,750,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with San Jose:
      • 79 regular season games: 7 goals, 43 assists, +7 rating, 19 powerplay points, 53.9 CF%
      • 4 playoff games: 0 goals, 2 assists, -1 rating
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Although Thornton is 37 now, he is still one of the game’s premiere playmakers and the best passer of his generation. The future hall-of-famer is a great asset on the powerplay and can still provide quite a lot to a team next season.
    • Contract Prediction:
      • Re-signs with San Jose, 2 years, $8 million
  • C Sam Gagner, 27: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $650,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Columbus:
      • 81 regular season games: 18 goals, 32 assists, +10 rating, 18 powerplay points, 54.8 CF%
      • 5 playoff games: 0 goals, 2 assists, -3 rating
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Gagner had a career-rebounding season in 2016-17, reaching a career high in points, and tying for his highest goal output. A lot of his goals came on a powerplay that converted nearly 20% of their chances throughout the season, but regressed as the year went along.  I don’t think he can find this same success on a different team but his production was the result of the season he was in.
    • Contract Prediction
      • Re-signs with Columbus, 1 year, $2 million
  • C Mike Fisher, 37: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $4,400,000
    • 2016-17 stats, all with Nashville:
      • 72 regular season games: 18 goals, 42 assists, +1 rating, 17 powerplay points, 50.4 CF%
      • 20 playoff games: 0 goals, 4 assists, -6 rating, 17:17 ATOI, 51.3 FO%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • The Nashville captain is a key part of a very good team and had his best season this year since the 2013-14 campaign.  He plays in all situations and is very good at taking faceoffs.  I think there will be mutual interest between Fisher and the Predators to get a deal done this offseason.
    • Contract Prediction:
      • Re-signs with Nashville, 2 years, with an AAV of $3 million
  • C Martin Hanzal, 30: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $3,100,000
    • 2016-17 stats, between Arizona and Minnesota:
      • 71 regular season games: 20 goals, 19 assists, -17 rating, 9 powerplay points, 50.5 CF%
      • 5 playoff games: 1 goal, -2 rating
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Hanzal is a great puck-driving center who should receive quite a bit of attention this offseason from teams.  He isn’t a first line center but can slot in on a good team’s second line and be a solid producer.  He is also an excellent faceoff taker and can play in all situations.
      • Possible Teams:
        • Buffalo – has plenty of cap space next season and could use another strong center
        • Carolina (If they are unable to trade for Matt Duchene)
        • Detroit – plenty of money with more contracts coming off the books in the next few seasons.  Hanzal could be a solid transition piece for them
        • New York Rangers – I said in my season recap that the Rangers need defensemen and a good center, especially if they can’t land a first line center.  If they miss out on Shattenkirk, they’d have the money to sign Hanzal
        • Minnesota – Hanzal was excellent for the Wild after coming over in the trade. He helped create a depth to their lineup and is a very strong on the puck.  The biggest question for them will be whether they can move some salary this offseason and re-signing Granlund must come first
        • Florida – If the Panthers lose Jokinen in the Expansion Draft, they will need a replacement for him
        • Dallas – Dallas has a lot of cap space next season and signing Hanzal would allow Cody Eakin center the third line
        • New Jersey – Because what don’t the Devils need at this point.
        • Montreal – This is based on the assumption that they don’t trade for Duchene
        • Philadelphia – The Flyers have the cap space and also have a need for a second line center
        • Arizona – How much did he enjoy his tenure with the Coyotes? They should constantly be more competitive than they are and Hanzal can help with that
        • Vegas – Vegas has to reach the cap floor of $54 million and Hanzal is a good player
      • I think the biggest question regarding Hanzal’s landing spot will be how much he values playing for a winning team.
      • Hanzal signs with Dallas for 5 years with an AAV of $4.5 million
  • C Nick Bonino, 29: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $1,900,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Pittsburgh:
      • 80 regular season games: 18 goals, 19 assists, -5 rating, 11 powerplay points, 48.0 FO%, 46.4 CF%
      • 21 playoff games: 4 goals, 3 assists, +4 rating, 12.1 S%, 16:52 ATOI, 52.3 FO%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Bonino will probably be attractive to the same teams Hanzal is.  Bonino is an excellent third line center who is gritty and is every strong on the penalty kill
      • Possible Teams:
        • Pittsburgh – The Penguins would love to re-sign Bonino but they have other options at center and they have many other players they need to re-sign above Bonino
        • Detroit
        • New York Rangers
        • Minnesota
        • Florida
        • Dallas
        • Edmonton – Top two centers are pretty locked down with McDavid and Draisaitl but they could have an opening on the third line
        • Buffalo – There is a hole down the middle behind O’Rielly and Eichel and they have plenty of money
        • Boston – Bruins have a need at center plus Bonino is from Connecticut so he may want to return home
      • Based on how successful the Penguins have been with Bonino, I am certain he will want to go to a contender.  He will be looking for his first long-term contract, which he has earned.
      • I think that Bonino signs with either Buffalo or the Rangers on a 5 year deal with an AAV of $3.5 million
  • C Derek Ryan, 30: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $600,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Carolina:
      • 67 regular season games: 11 goals, 18 assists, -8 rating, 8 powerplay points, 55.3 FO%, 15.1 S%, 50.9 CF%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • This season was just Ryan’s first full season in the NHL despite being 30 years old.  He played quite well and should receive a multi-year deal as a result
      • I think he re-signs with Carolina for 3 years and a slight raise to $1.2 million per season
  •  C Brian Boyle, 32: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $2,000,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, split between Tampa Bay and Toronto:
      • 75 regular season games: 13 goals, 12 assists, +3 rating, 6 powerplay points, 52.2 FO%,   9.9 S%, 52.6 CF%
      • 6 playoff games: 2 assists, -2 rating
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • I’m certain that Toronto would like to re-sign Boyle but it probably wouldn’t be a good use of their cap space.  Boyle can still provide a quality team quite a bit, especially on the penalty kill and is a great veteran presence in any locker room
      • Possible Teams:
        • Columbus – they have room on their third or fourth lines and he would be an additional veteran presence on a relatively young team
        • Boston – Same reason as Bonino
        • Florida – Florida has no state income tax and if Boyle enjoyed his time with Tampa and wants to play for another contender, the Panthers would be in consideration
        • Tampa Bay – Only if he is willing to accept a short contract with no raise in salary
        • Edmonton – Same as Bonino
        • Buffalo – Same as Bonino
      • I think Boyle returns to the Lightning on a 2 year deal with an AAV of $2 million

 Restricted

  • Ryan Johansen, 24: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $4,000,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Nashville:
      • 82 regular season games: 14 goals, 47 assists, +1 rating, 23 powerplay points, 1 shorthanded point, 54.6 FO%, 9.1 S%, 55.9 CF%
      • 14 playoff games: 3 goals, 10 assists, +12 rating, 54.4 FO%, 20.0 S%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • The Predators finally got their first line center when they gave up defensive prospect Seth Jones for Johansen.  He was great this season and got even better in the playoffs, playing on the most productive line in the playoffs. Nashville will do virtually everything possible to lock him down for a long time and I don’t think he is going anywhere this offseason
      • Contract Prediction: I think this goes the maximum 8 years for $56 million.  An annual cap hit of $7 million puts him in the same range as Jason Spezza and Paul Stastny.  I could also see him getting slightly more AAV.
  • Leon Draisaitl, 21: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $925,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Edmonton:
      • 82 regular season games: 29 goals, 48 assists, +7 rating, 27 powerplay points, 49.0 FO%, 16.9 S%, 52.1 CF%
      • 13 playoff games: 6 goals, 10 assists, +8 rating, 46.5 FO%, 27.3 S%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Draisaitl had his breakout season this year by being nearly a point-per-game player during the regular season.  He was also the Oilers’ best player during the playoffs, skating both on McDavid’s line as well as centering his own line.  Both he and McDavid appear to be the core of this team going forward and the team will want to lock down his RFA years if possible. I look for them to trade either Eberle or RNH to free up the space to re-sign Draisaitl.
      • I look for Edmonton to go 5 or 6 years with Draisaitl instead of just signing him to a bridge contract.  I predict 5 years for $25 million
  • Tyler Johnson, 26: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $3,333,333
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Tampa Bay:
      • 66 regular season games: 19 goals, 26 assists, -5 rating, 17 powerplay points, 52.0 FO%, 14.6 S%, 50.2 CF%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Johnson has regressed significantly since the 2014-15 season, the first year of his expiring deal.  He has also struggled to stay healthy each of the past two seasons, playing in just 66 games this season.  His last contract was a bridge deal and I’m certain that he will be looking for a long-term deal with his next contract.  Initially, I didn’t think that the Lightning would have much interest in signing Johnson to a long-term deal but since they didn’t deal him at the deadline I think GM Steve Yzerman will try to work something out.
      • Tampa would probably like to re-sign Johnson to another 3 year deal, but Johnson will want more security.  I think they end up agreeing on a 5 year deal worth $4 million per season. This still allows Johnson to sign another big deal when this one expires and the Lightning will still be comfortable with the term
  • Mikael Granlund, 25: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $3,000,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Minnesota:
      • 81 regular season games: 26 goals, 43 assists, 69 points, +23 rating, 20 powerplay points, 4 shorthanded points, 48.5 FO%, 14.7 S%, 49.3 CF%
      • 5 playoff games: 2 assists, Even Rating
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Granlund is coming off a two-year bridge contract and also just had the best season of his career, posting career bests in just about every category.  He is extremely talented and can play on the wing as well as down the middle, making him a versatile forward.  He has proven himself to be invaluable to the Wild and their most talented player.  They will want to lock down his prime years with this next contract.
      • I think that Minnesota would like to go the maximum of eight years with Granlund but I feel confident that he will want to have another opportunity to sign a big contract later in his career.  I look for the two sides to agree on a 5 year deal worth $5.5 million per season.  This provides the Wild with some long-term security and it will make Granlund a free agent when he is 30 years old, allowing him to have another large payday if he continues performing.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov, 25: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $3,000,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Washington:
      • 82 regular season games: 19 goals, 40 assists, +18 rating, 14 powerplay points, 44.0 FO %, 11.2 S%, 52.2 CF%
      • 13 playoff games: 5 goals, 5 assists, -1 rating, 44.1 FO%, 11.6 S%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Kuznetsov has developed into one of the Capitals’ best players and was really good in the playoffs this year.  He had a down year in the regular season this year compared to last year, but is still immensely valuable to the team.
      • He has basically made it known that he is not interested in a contract similar to the one signed by Nikita Kucherov with the Lightning.  That contract was for three years and worth just under $4.8 million per season.  If that is the case, Washington is going to have to plan on giving Kuznetsov a contract with an AAV between $5.5 and $6 million.  I think that they will come together on a 6 year deal with an AAV of $5.5 million.  This gives Kuznetsov security while also locking him in to a contract that is less than he would get on the open market.  Washington doesn’t have much history with players in Kuznetsov’s situation except for Backstrom and Ovechkin, both who signed 10 year deals. Those aren’t possible anymore in the new CBA so I think they’ll come together on the deal I listed.
  • Alex Galchenyuk, 23: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $2,800,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Montreal:
      • 61 regular season games: 17 goals, 27 assists, -5 rating, 15 powerplay points, 42.7 FO%, 16.3 S%, 50.4 CF%
      • 6 playoff games: 3 assists, Even Rating, 37.1 FO%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Galchenyuk has the talent to be a first line center, which Montreal needs, but they have been keeping him on the wing of the third and fourth lines.  It seems like Montreal has become disinterested in the talented forward and it seems like a foregone conclusion that he will be playing on a new team next season.
      • I think that Galchenyuk’s rights will be traded this offseason to one of Colorado, Edmonton, or Dallas in exchange for a center. That team will then re-sign Galchenyuk to a short, “prove-it” contract that will force him to show his value.  I’m thinking a 2 year deal worth $3.5 million per season.
  • Mika Zibanejad, 24: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $2,625,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with the Rangers:
      • 56 regular season games: 14 goals, 23 assists, +9 rating, 11 powerplay points, 11.8 S%, 52.0 FO%, 49.9 CF%
      • 12 playoff games: 2 goals, 7 assists, +4 rating, 5.9 S%, 46.8 FO%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • The Rangers acquired Zibanejad from the Senators for Derrick Brassard and he was very good centering the second line for the Rangers.  I believe that New York will want to retain him going forward.
      • I’m not certain how long of a contract the Rangers will want to offer Zibanejad since they are an older team with a window that is slowly closing.  I could see them offering him a four year deal, which would be attractive to Zibanejad since he will still be just 28 when that deal expires, allowing him to sign another big contract when he is a free agent.  I predict a contract of 4 years, with an AAV of $4 million.
  • Bo Horvat, 22: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $894,167
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Vancouver:
      • 81 regular season games: 20 goals, 32 assists, -7 rating, 10 powerplay points, 2 shorthanded points, 12.7 S%, 50.5 FO%, 47.9 CF%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Horvat had the best season of his young career, posting career highs in every offensive category.  He is also Vancouver’s best player and is a major part of their core going forward.  I could very easily see the Canucks looking to lock him down for his prime years.
      • Vancouver would probably like to go the max years with Horvat in order to not have to re-sign him again in a couple of years when he AAV could be significantly higher.  The problem, however, is that there isn’t a lot of history regarding long-term contracts given to players reaching RFA status for the first time.  I also think that Horvat will want to maximize his earning potential and only sign a short contract now and become a free agent again in a few seasons.  I predict that they will agree on a contract similar to Nikita Kucherov’s contract and Horvat will get a 3 year deal worth $4.25 million per season.  This seems like a pricey deal but Horvat will most likely become the Canucks first line center after next season and has continued to be more productive each season in the NHL.
  • Teuvo Teravainen, 22: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $894,167
    • Re-sign 6/15: 2 years with an AAV of $2.86 million
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Carolina:
      • 81 regular season games: 15 goals, 27 assists, -6 rating, 15 powerplay points, 8.9 S%, 46.7 FO%, 54.9 CF%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Teravainen was finally given the opportunity to play in a top six role after he was traded to Carolina from Chicago.  He proved he is capable of receiving that role by setting career highs in goals, assists, and points.  He is most likely better served skating on the wing instead of playing center, but he is capable of playing all three forward positions.  I think that he has developed himself into one of the Hurricanes’ best offensive players and will be a member of their offensive core going forward.
      • I think that there is mutual interest between Teravainen and the team to bring him back next season.  I think there is more potential that he can tap into, especially as his linemates continue to develop as well.  I don’t think that his next contract will have a high AAV because he hasn’t proven himself to be a consistent NHL scorer yet.  I do think that both sides will be interested in a shorter contract in order to see how he performs during the deal.  I predict that they will agree on a 2 year deal with an AAV of $2 million.
  • Alexander Wennberg, 22: 2016-17 Cap Hit: $925,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Columbus:
      • 80 regular season games: 13 goals, 46 assists, +9 rating, 23 powerplay points, 11.9 S%, 47.4 FO%, 51.6 CF%
      • 5 playoff games: 1 assist, -3 rating, 42.7 FO%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Wennberg has emerged into Columbus’ top center and was one of the team’s best players this season, his third in the NHL. He also posted career highs in every offensive category and was especially productive on the powerplay.  Columbus most likely sees him as a member of their core who they would like to build future rosters around.  The issue is that the Blue Jackets have just under $3 million in space space for next season, which is already less than the contract Wennberg is expected to receive.  They are going to have to either trade one of their bigger contracts (Jack Johnson, David Clarkson) to a team like Vegas or Arizona or get Vegas to take Johnson in the Expansion Draft.  That will give them the space needed to re-sign Wennberg as well as their other RFAs this summer.
      • I think that Wennberg should be due to receive a contract similar to those signed by Aleksander Barkov or Vincent Trocheck.  Prior to the 2016-17 season, when he was just 20 years old, Barkov signed a 6 year, $35.4 million deal that carries an AAV of $5.9 million.  The season before he had a season that was very similar to that of Horvat’s this season and put up 59 points in 66 games.  That was Barkov’s best season and was rewarded greatly for it.  Trocheck is basically the same case.  Signed a 6 year, $28.5 million deal with an AAV of $4.75 million before this past season after posting 53 points last season.  I think that Barkov and Trocheck’s deals, plus the 6 year, $36 million deal that Columbus gave to Brandon Saad two offseasons ago, will play a large role in the contract they offer to Wennberg.  I could very easily see the two sides agreeing to a 6 year deal this offseason.  That buys out Wennberg’s RFA years as well as a large portion of his prime, producing years and it gives Wennberg the chance at another very big payday when the deal expires and he is still just 29 years old.  I predict that they will agree to a 6 year deal with an AAV of $6 million.  I don’t think that he will want to take less than what Saad makes, especially considering Wennberg was the more productive player this season.
  • Radek Faksa, 23: 2016-17 Cap Hit: $863,333
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Dallas:
      • 80 regular season games: 12 goals, 21 assists, -6 rating, 2 powerplay points, 9.1 S%, 48.3 FO%, 51.8 CF%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • 2016-17 was Faksa’s first full season in the NHL and he was fairly productive, posting 33 points in 80 games.  That production appears to have occurred in a depth role with linemates that often included Antoine Roussel.  If he is able to develop into a more important role next season and get moved up to the second line, plus receiving more powerplay time, he should see his production increase.  I think that Faksa is currently in a different tier than Ryan Johansen, Alexander Wennberg, or Bo Horvat, but that doesn’t mean Faksa can’t develop into these players.  He should be an important part of the Stars’ offense moving forward and I think that new head coach Ken Hitchcock will help him develop into a more well-rounded player.
      • I think that Dallas would love to take advantage of this point in Faksa’s career and lock him down for six or seven years with a low AAV.  However, I seriously doubt that Faksa will agree to a contract with these terms and will push for a short-term deal and then have the opportunity to sign a big contract when the upcoming deal expires.  I think he is a strong candidate to receive a 1 year deal worth $1.5 million.  That rewards Faksa for his production and work while also not taking advantage of him.  It also gives Faksa incentive to continue developing and earn a large contract next offseason.
  • Mikhail Grigorenko, 23: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $1,300,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Colorado:
      • 75 regular season games: 10 goals, 13 assists, -14 rating, 4 powerplay points, 11.8 S%, 57.8 FO%, 47.2 CF%
    • 2017-18 Outlook
      • Grigorenko has yet to really take off during his time in the NHL.  Now, he hasn’t had much of an opportunity to excel, so far playing with Buffalo and Colorado and currently playing on the third with the Avalanche.  I’m not certain how much mutual interest there is between the two sides in re-signing so I actually think that he may become a free agent and be able to sign with any team.
      • Regardless of who Grigorenko ends up with next season, I think that it will be on a one year deal.  He has yet to warrant a multi-year deal and I doubt any team will want to invest much in him until he can prove that he is a consistently productive NHL player.  I think that he ends up signing basically the same 1 year, $1.3 million deal that he played under this season.
  • Ryan Spooner, 25: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $950,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Boston:
      • 78 regular season games: 11 goals, 28 assists, -8 rating, 18 powerplay points, 1 shorthanded point, 7.6 S%, 38.9 FO%, 54.5 CF%
      • 4 powerplay games: 2 assists, -2 rating, 40.0 FO%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Spooner probably wishes he had reached free agency last offseason as he would have been coming off a better season than he is right now.  His production dropped by 10 points between the two seasons despite playing in just two fewer games.  He has had problems staying in the lineup on a nightly basis and his game was picked apart by both head coaches this season, one who didn’t like his defensive game and one who didn’t like his offensive game.  I think that the still has potential he hasn’t tapped into and having the opportunity to play a full season in one system should help him with this.  He could be a candidate who could be released to free agency, but Boston doesn’t have a lot of forward prospects to replace him with.
      • I think that he signs a 1 year, $1 million deal to stay in Boston, which may be the last opportunity he has to become a regular player with the Bruins.
  • Jean-Gabriel Pageau, 25: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $900,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Ottawa:
      • 82 regular season games: 12 goals, 21 assists, +13 rating, 2 shorthanded points, 7.1 S%, 54.8 FO%, 45.8 CF%
      • 19 playoff games: 8 goals, 2 assists, +5 rating, 18.2 S%, 54.3 FO%
    • 2017-18 Outlook:
      • Pageau’s regular season wasn’t great, dropping 10 points from last season, but he is making a name for himself in this year’s playoffs.  He is an incredibly healthy season, having played in all 82 regular season games each of the past two years. However, his emergence as a postseason performer will help him in contract negotiations this offseason.  It also doesn’t hurt that he is a native of Ottawa.  Pageau most likely isn’t going to develop into a number one center but he is a solid second line center and an excellent option on the third line.  He plays a fast game and is never afraid to be hard on the forecheck.
      • Pageau will turn 25 early next season and is probably looking to sign a multi-year deal at this point.  I think that Ottawa will be interested in offering this type of deal to Pageau and will probably want to lock him down and see him as a key member of their offensive core.  I think that they agree to a 5 year deal with an AAV of $3.5 million.
  • Ryan Dzingel, 25: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $750,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Ottawa:
      • 81 regular season games: 14 goals, 18 assists, +6 rating, 3 powerplay points, 1 shorthanded point, 11.4 S%, 49.1 CF%
      • 15 playoff games: 2 goals, 1 assist, -1 rating, 1 powerplay goal, 25.0 S%, 40.0 FO%
    • 2017-18 Outlook
      • This season was Dzingel’s first full one in the NHL and he had a solid season, posting 32 points.  He is probably better slotted in on the wing than at center, and has skated on Ottawa’s third line for much of the season.  I have to imagine that the Senators like what they see in Dzingel and he plays a game that fits very well with what the team is trying to do.
      • I think these contract negotiations will be interesting because Dzingel doesn’t have a long track record as a professional, having played three years in the NCAA.  I’m curious to know how long Ottawa wants to go with Dzingel but there have been longer contracts offered recently to players with one solid season.  I think that the Senators consider offering Dzingel a four year deal and that he would always be interested in said deal as it would provide him with security.  I predict that they will agree on a 4 year deal with an AAV of $2.5 million.
  • Zach Hyman, 24: 2016-17 Cap Hit – $925,000
    • 2016-17 Stats, all with Toronto:
      • 82 regular season games: 10 goals, 18 assists, +2 rating, 4 shorthanded points, 6.4 S%, 51.6 CF%
      • 6 playoff games: 1 goal, 3 assists, 7.7 S%
    • 2017-18 Outlook
      • Hyman had a great first full season in the NHL, playing on Calder Trophy winner Auston Matthews’ line on the wing opposite of William Nylander.  He has shown an ability to produce at the AHL and NCAA levels and should be able to increase his production going forward.  I’m not certain what role the Maple Leafs see Hyman in with regards to their core, but I think he is important enough to be signed to a multi-year deal.
      • Toronto has to be mindful of the salaries they offer to their younger players to ensure that they can extend Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner next offseason.  They also can extend Williams Nylander this July if they choose to and need to make sure they have the cap space available to work all these deals out.  I think that the Maple Leafs would like to lock Hyman down to a four year deal if possible and Hyman should have interest in agreeing to such a deal.  I predict that the two sides will reach an agreement on a 3 year deal worth $2 million per season.

*All stats and information come from hockey-reference.com, eliteprospects.com, rosterresource.com, spotrac.com, capfriendly.com, and hockeyanalysis.com.

 

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