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Top UFA Steals NHL Teams Should Target This July 1


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Vince Carbonneau
June 28, 2024  (9:18)
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Ron Francis speaking during an interview
Photo credit: The Seattle Times

NHL Free Agency Bargains: Impact Players Without Breaking the Bank

NHL free agency may have been overshadowed by the excitement of the Stanley Cup Final, but the league's annual spending spree kicks off Monday of next week.
Here are five available players who can make an impact without breaking the bank. All contract projections are courtesy of AFP Analytics.
Stefan Noesen
Position: Right Wing
Previous Team: Carolina Hurricanes
Contract Projection: Three years, approximately $3.2 million annual cap hit
Noesen makes the most of his minutes, posting 73 points over the past two seasons despite averaging just 12:06 of ice time per game. The 31-year-old veteran is an expert forechecker, ranking 17th out of 391 qualified forwards with 2.21 defensive plays per 20 minutes in the offensive zone.
Noesen loves mixing it up in front of the net. Since the start of last season, 22 of his 27 goals have come from the inner slot, including eight of 10 on the power play. He would be a solid addition to any team's bottom six.
Laurent Brossoit
Position: Goaltender
Previous Team: Winnipeg Jets
Contract Projection: Two years, approximately $2.1 million annual cap hit
The 31-year-old goaltender has been one of the league's best backups over the past two seasons, going 22-5-5 with a 2.05 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 32 starts (34 appearances), with Vegas and Winnipeg.
Brossoit saved 0.62 goals above expected per 60 minutes this past season — second best among 67 goaltenders who played at least 1,000 minutes. The question is whether Brossoit, whose 22 starts with the Jets this past season were a career high, can maintain that level of play with a bigger workload in a 1A/1B setup. Based on his recent performance, it seems like a safe bet.
Michael Amadio
Position: Right Wing
Previous Team: Vegas Golden Knights
Contract Projection: Three years, approximately $3.2 million annual cap hit
Amadio, 28, is coming off consecutive 27-point seasons and had 10 points in 16 games during the Golden Knights' championship run last year. Forechecking is Amadio's specialty. He finished No. 1 this season in defensive plays per 20 minutes in the offensive zone out of 391 forwards who played at least 500 minutes. He was also 13th in offensive-zone puck-battle wins per 20 and 24th in offensive rebound recoveries per 20.
The Golden Knights primarily deployed Amadio at right wing on their third line, but he has some experience at center and enough offensive skill to play up the lineup if needed.
Alexandre Carrier
Position: Right Defence
Previous Team: Nashville Predators
Contract Projection: Three years, approximately $4 million annual cap hit
A bit of a late bloomer, the 27-year-old Carrier has developed into a reliable shutdown defenseman. He helped the Predators generate 51.3 percent of the expected goals at even strength during his minutes this season despite consistently facing tough competition.
Carrier's 49.4 percent defensive-zone denial rate was 28th out of 225 defensemen who played at least 500 minutes in all situations. Teams looking to upgrade their back end at a reasonable price should call Carrier.
Daniel Sprong
Position: Right Wing
Previous Team: Detroit Red Wings
Contract Projection: Three years, approximately $4.1 million annual cap hit
Sprong has had a nomadic career since breaking into the NHL in 2015. The 27-year-old winger has suited up for five teams over eight seasons. Over the past couple of years, though, Sprong (89 points in 142 games) has emerged as one of the most efficient scorers in the league — both in terms of cost and production relative to ice time.
Sprong's most dependable weapon is his one-timer. He ranked 21st in one-timer attempts from the slot per 20 this season and 23rd in overall one-timer attempts per 20 among qualified forwards.
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Top UFA Steals NHL Teams Should Target This July 1

Would you consider signing a free agent based on their past performance rather than their current market value?

Yes960 %
No640 %
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