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List of top 25 NHL free agents for 2022

We go over the top players available on the open market for July 13.

Darcy Kuemper #35 of the Colorado Avalanche carries the Stanley Cup following the series winning victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Six of the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 26, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

We’re into the thick of the NHL offseason and free agency is just around the corner. We’ve already seen plenty of big moves before and after the 2022 NHL Draft. Free agency is set to begin at noon ET on Wednesday, July 13, with a handful of big names set to test the open market.

Below we’ll provide a list of the top 25 unrestricted and restricted free agents out there this offseason with a bit of analysis.

2022 NHL Free Agent Top 25 list

The obvious name at the top of the list is Johnny Gaudreau, who appears destined to leave the Calgary Flames this offseason. There has always been belief that Gaudreau will head back home to New Jersey in the form of signing with the Philadelphia Flyers, his childhood team. That may be difficult for Philly to pull off without some cap relief. The Flyers will need to shed plenty of salary in order to fit Gaudreau in. That could open things up for Gaudreau to go to the New Jersey Devils, who have plenty of cap space and some appealing pieces in Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier. Either way, Gaudreau should easily command the biggest contract this offseason.

The rest of the list is a bit tricky. There are plenty of aging veterans who still have a bit left in the tank. Claude Giroux, Patrice Bergeron (if he doesn’t opt for retirement) and Evgeni Malkin are a few. Chances are Bergeron and Malkin return to their respective teams in which they’ve spent their entire career. Giroux should go out and look for a deal with a contender.

The Dallas Stars have two big restricted free agents: Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson. We don’t normally see offer sheets from opposing GMs but these two could warrant a look. Oettinger had one of the best performances by a losing goalie in a playoff series ever in seven games vs. the Flames this past postseason. Robertson is coming off 79 points in 74 games and is nearly a PPG player through two seasons in the NHL (125 in 128 games). An offer sheet on either could go for the max compensation of two first-round picks, a second and a third if the deal is over $8.4M annually.

The Colorado Avalanche have a few names on this list. Darcy Kuemper, Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri, Valeri Nichushkin and Josh Manson could all walk in free agency. Not to mention Artturi Lehkonen is a RFA. Burakovsky, Kadri and Nichushkin could all command a ton of interest after helping the Avs win the Cup. That could make it hard for Colorado to retain everyone. We already know Kuemper isn’t coming back after the trade for Alexandar Georgiev. The Avs do have plenty of cap space with $24 million, but that likely isn’t enough to bring back Kadri, Burakovsky, Nichushkin and Manson.


Rank Player Position Status Former Team Previous Cap Hit
Rank Player Position Status Former Team Previous Cap Hit
1 Johnny Gaudreau LW UFA Flames $6.75M
2 Filip Forsberg LW UFA Predators $6M
3 Matthew Tkachuk RW RFA Flames $7M
4 Jason Robertson LW/RW RFA Stars $795K
5 Evgeni Malkin C UFA Penguins $9.5M
6 Kris Letang D UFA Penguins $7.25M
7 Nazem Kadri C UFA Avalanche $4.5M
8 Darcy Kuemper G UFA Avalanche $4.5M
9 Jake Oettinger G RFA Stars $925K
10 Patrice Bergeron C UFA Bruins $6.875M
11 Jesper Bratt LW/RW RFA Devils $2.75M
12 Andre Burakovsky LW/RW UFA Avalanche $4.9M
13 Valeri Nichushkin LW/RW UFA Avalanche $2.5M
14 Claude Giroux C/LW UFA Panthers $8.25M
15 Pierre-Luc Dubois C UFA Jets $5M
16 Ondrej Palat LW UFA Lightning $5.3M
17 Nick Leddy D UFA Blues $5.5M
18 Patrik Laine RW RFA Blue Jackets $7.5M
19 Evander Kane LW/RW UFA Oilers $2.1M
20 John Klingberg D UFA Stars $4.25M
21 Jack Campbell G UFA Maple Leafs $1.65M
22 Phil Kessel RW UFA Coyotes $8M
23 Josh Manson D UFA Avalanche $4.1M
24 Dave Perron RW/LW UFA Blues $4M
25 Ryan Strome C UFA Rangers $4.5M