July 1 marks the beginning of free agent frenzy in the NHL. With so many big names on the market this summer, a few teams are looking at the possibility of losing players that have been franchise cornerstones for many years. Here are the top 5 free agents that will be available:
ZACH PARISE, NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Perhaps the most enticing player available is New Jersey captain Zach Parise. The Devils, of course want him back, but there are several teams in the mix that could potentially make Parise a better long-term offer, including his hometown Minnesota Wild, the Detroit Red Wings, and the reigning Stanley Cup champions Los Angeles Kings.
MARTIN BRODEUR, NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur may also be testing free agency. Having spent his entire 18-season career with New Jersey, many were shocked to learn that he had hired an agent and would be listening to other offers. At 40-year- old, Brodeur will probably be signing his last NHL contract, but the possibility of seeing him in anything other than a Devils jersey is unimaginable.
RYAN SUTER, NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter is undoubtedly the biggest defenseman available this summer. Playing alongside Shea Weber, the two have been one of the strongest defensive pairings in the league, but it’s Weber who receives most of the individual praise. Suter will be listening to offers from other teams, which is the best move for him if he wants to step out of Weber’s shadow. The Predators would ideally love to keep him, but may not have the funds to offer him what he deserves, as signing Weber will cost the Predators upwards of $7 million per year. The Detroit Red Wings have made it their top priority to go after Suter in order to fill the hole on their blueline that has been left by the retirement of Niklas Lidstrom.
SHANE DOAN, PHOENIX COYOTES
Phoenix captain Shane Doan is another big name available this summer. He was drafted by the franchise, which was formerly the Winnipeg Jets, in 1995 and has spent his 16-year career with the same organization. While the Coyotes took a big step forward this last postseason, they have still never won a Stanley Cup. At 35-years-old, that is an important factor for Doan to consider. He is one of the most respected players around the league as a result of his loyalty to the Coyotes organization, but now would be the right time for him to be a selfish and consider his best options for winning a Stanley Cup.
JAROMIR JAGR, PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Five-time scoring champion Jaromir Jagr will be looking to sign with a team that can guarantee him significant ice time as well as a raise above the $3.3 million he made last season with the Flyers. It was expected that Jagr was going to sign a contract extension with Philly, but he expressed disappointment with his ice time in the later part of the season. He could still hammer out a deal with the Flyers, but they will definitely have some competition. He may be 40, but he’s still Jaromir Jagr.