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Who is left in Free Agency?

The Leafs have to trade someone, so are they also going to sign someone?

NHL: APR 23 Ducks at Kings Photo by Rob Curtis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Updated for August 5: Bold marks the updated entries.

As of Tuesday afternoon, July 19, there are 67 NHL UFAs with at least 20 NHL games played last season. We know the Leafs can’t make a 21-man roster now out of who they have under contract, so a trade seems inevitable. Is there more to come? Is there anyone out there to be signed the Leafs might want? Let’s run down the list from CapFriendly in order of games played.

  1. Phil Kessel, one of only two players with a full 82-game season, is coming off his big contract signed in Toronto, and at 34 didn’t seem to have his scoring touch last year.
  2. Evan Rodrigues is the other 82-game player. Toronto tried to get this useful utility player once before and failed, but he is a local boy, and he signed for $1 million last year.
  3. Sam Gagner, speaking of local, played 81 games in Detroit, and likely would struggle to make a good NHL team these days. He’s John Tavares’s partner in minor hockey ownership, but he’s likely not going to be a Leaf. Maybe the Marlies again, though.
  4. Keith Yandle might be done at 35, or he might be the depth guy some team needs.
  5. P.K. Subban is an intriguing (and local) choice as a 4/5 defender. He just finished his big contract, and he also had a big bounce-back year after three down seasons.
  6. Michael Raffl reads like a player destined to go back to Europe, but maybe there’s still a demand for his extremely negative offence, decent defence game. Signed in Switzerland.
  7. Danton Heinen is a legitimately useful utility forward, and he went unqualified on a contract much lower than Pierre Engvall’s. He’s got less defence, more offence, however. Signed for one by $1 million with the Penguins.
  8. Nino Niederreiter is coming off a $5 million plus deal, he scored 24 goals and you have to imagine he’s waiting for someone to clear some cap space. He’s only 29, and has legitimately excellent results. Signed for two by $4 million with the Predators.
  9. Juho Lammikko is an unqualified RFA winger who can’t score. He also looks destined for Europe, the AHL or a team like Chicago. Signed in Switzerland.
  10. Anton Strålman played 74 games last year for Arizona, and might be up for another season, but he adds nothing defensively these days.
  11. John Klingberg is still unemployed after a season of dreadful defence. He needs to convince people he’s still worth what he wants to be paid, which doesn’t seem to be working so far. Signed a one by $7 million with the Ducks.
  12. Jack Johnson has a Cup now.
  13. Ryan Donato is another strange one to be unsigned. He had 16 goals on a minimum salary deal, and Seattle didn’t want to qualify him. Seems like a useful depth player to me. Signed for one by $1.2 million with the Kraken.
  14. Patrice Bergeron actually called new draft picks for the Bruins to welcome them to the team. He’s not really a UFA. Signed for one by $2.5 million with the Bruins.
  15. Loui Eriksson is exiting his gigantic overpay contract and he played 11 minutes per game in Arizona. I think he might be done as an NHLer unless he wants to sign for $750,000 somewhere. Reportedly looking for a team in Europe who is interested, no contract signed.
  16. Zdeno Chara has not yet announced if he’s retiring at 45.
  17. Dominik Simon is just barely an NHL player who had one outlier year in Pittsburgh in 2018-2019 that made him famous amongst people who don’t bother to look at more than one year.
  18. Evgeny Svechnikov has a brother.
  19. Nazem Kadri has a deal, I firmly believe, and we’ll find out in time who it’s with.
  20. Paul Stastny is not retiring at 36, and likes to sign late in the season. He’s likely worth the $3 million or so he makes these days.
  21. Cody Eakin also had one outlier good year, also 2018-2019 (a lot of people had fun offensive results that year), but he’s a sub-replacement level player.
  22. Andy Greene is 39.
  23. Riley Sheahan had a very good year in Seattle, which he’s not done most of the time recently. Might be a depth player.
  24. Calvin De Haan has been consistently replacement level in Chicago for four years. Some team needs to be in a gambling mood to sign him to more than minimum salary.
  25. Zach Aston-Reese is still unsigned and the dream lives on.
  26. Sam Steel used to be the guy we all said was insulating Adam Brooks in junior hockey. Maybe he was, but the Ducks can’t find a job for him. I think he needs some AHL time he never got.
  27. Jimmy Vesey!
  28. Alex Chiasson is a legitimately excellent PP forward who is replacement level at 5on5. Not impossible to make use of, but hard to find a job.
  29. Brian Boyle is in the NHL, did you know that?
  30. Sonny Milano is a decent bottom-six player who wasn’t really overpaid at $1.7 million by all that much.
  31. Robert Hägg is a defenceman that the Sabres took back in the Risto deal because they would have taken anything really. He’s not an NHLer. Signed for one by $800,000 with the Red Wings.
  32. Daniel Sprong is almost an NHL player.
  33. Jonathan Dahlén likely isn’t.
  34. Alex Galchenyuk was as bad this season as it’s possible to be and not get sent to the ECHL.
  35. Danny DeKeyser is a defenceman.
  36. Derek Stepan is a centre, and that might get him a depth job.
  37. Tyler Motte could be the new Tyler Ennis.
  38. Tyler Ennis is still the old Tyler Ennis.
  39. Janne Kuokkanen likely isn’t an NHLer either. Signed in the Swiss league.
  40. Antoine Roussel doesn’t need to play hockey well to get a job, but it’s getting harder every year for him to find one.
  41. Tyler Bozak can still be a depth centre, but he seems highly unlikely to go very far from home now that he’s 36.
  42. Riley Nash is still in the NHL?
  43. Victor Rask is now not grossly overpaid, so if he realizes he was and doesn’t expect $4 million, he might get a good NHL gig somewhere. He’s Pierre Engvall only with some ability to score.
  44. Derick Brassard can be a depth centre on a middling to bad team again.
  45. Brad Richardson might have to hang them up.
  46. Johan Larsson is an all defence, no offence forward, and he might have to lower his salary expectations a little to get a job these days. He made $1.4 million last year.
  47. Brett Ritchie might be better than his brother. Can’t score, though.
  48. Tyler Pitlick is a minimum salary guy who gets overpaid off on one outlier year — 2019-2020 this time.
  49. Gabriel Carlsson is not working out as an NHL defender. Signed a one by $750,000 two-way deal with the Capitals.
  50. Ryan Murray has two Celtic first names, and I therefore can’t remember which guy of that sort he is.
  51. Will Butcher might be a third-pairing defender. Signed a one by $750,000 two-way deal with the Stars.
  52. Colton Sceviour is a depth forward.
  53. Joe Thornton played 34 games last year. Maybe this is it?
  54. Nate Thompson is 37.
  55. Jay Beagle fell off the cliff last season after teetering on the edge for a few years.
  56. William Lagesson is likely not an NHL defender. Signed a one by $750,000 two-way with the Hurricanes.
  57. Ryan Dzingel still interests me as a player who should be an inexpensive callup who can actually score goals. He can’t do anything else, though. Signed a one by $750,000 two-way with the Hurricanes.
  58. Buddy Robinson is not a character in a 1950s war movie. Signed a one by $750,000 two-way with Chicago.
  59. Anton Blidh used to be an interchangeable depth Boston guy, now he’s an AHL tweener. Signed a one by $750,000 two-way with the Avalanche.
  60. Kris Russel is one of those guys you are sure is bad, because players are either bad or good, and overpaid players are always really, really bad. He’s likely a useful defender still at the right price if he’s healthy.
  61. Carter Rowney is likely not an NHLer.
  62. Mathieu Perreault is actually still a decent player if his body says he can play.
  63. Cédric Paquette has never been more than an acceptable fourth liner who adds nothing, until last season on the Habs where he was spectacularly bad.
  64. Braden Holtby (the only goalie on this list) is not ready to start next season, and may not play all year.
  65. Nathan Beaulieu is not an NHL defender.
  66. Kyle Turris had three great seasons in a career of replacement-level play. He’s a bit of a mystery, but I think he’s done.
  67. Brandon Perlini is last on the list, and he’s really an AHLer.

Your reward for making it to the bottom:

Evolving Hockey