Five NHL free agents more people should be talking about

five nhl free agents more people should be talking about

Teuvo Teravainen

NHL free agency is a little under six weeks away and this year’s market features plenty of good players, a few great players and a handful of players who should be getting more attention.

Here are five pending unrestricted free agents who haven’t received a lot of love but more people should be talking about.

1. Teuvo Teravainen, LW, Carolina Hurricanes

When healthy, Teravainen has been one of the more consistent points producers in the NHL since joining the Hurricanes in 2016. Over that span, he has averaged 19 goals and 57 points per season in every year when he’s managed to play in 60 or more games, including four seasons with 20 or more goals and 60 or more points.

Teravainen will turn 30 at the start of next season, but he had a career-best 17.6 shooting percentage and nine power-play goals in 2023. In the right offense with the right head coach, Teravainen could be a regular 60-point player.

2. Dakota Joshua, LW, Vancouver Canucks

Joshua is a classic agitator who affects the play on the ice even when he isn't showing up on the score sheet. He can get under an opponent’s skin just as easily as he can win a puck battle along the boards and at 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds, he’s got the size to add a physical presence to some team’s second or third line.

The 28-year-old proved his worth in the playoffs against both the Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers this spring, scoring four goals and eight points while notching 74 hits in just 13 games (third-most in the postseason). Joshua could be a sneaky good addition for a team looking to play with a little more of an edge and toughen up in the middle of the lineup.

3. Matt Roy, D, Los Angeles Kings

Of all the defensemen set to hit the free-agent market, Roy is one of the better pure defensive players available. He does everything that a head coach wants from a true stay-at-home defender including killing penalties, clearing shooting lanes and matching up well against opposing teams’ top lines.

An under-the-radar top-four defenseman, Roy can occasionally chip in offensively having scored 21 or more points in his last three seasons. For a team looking for a right-handed shot to put on one of its top two defensive pairings, Roy could be a steal.

4. Kevin Lankinen, G, Nashville Predators

Lankinen proved this season that he could step in as a starting goaltender for plenty of teams in the NHL. Backing up Juuse Saros in Nashville, the 29-year-old Finn often started the second game of back-to-backs and faced some pretty tough competition in doing so. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Lankinen get offered a starting job somewhere else in 2024.

Of Lankinen's 17 starts this season, 11 of them came against playoff teams with all but one coming on the road. He pulled out big wins against the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers — the two teams playing in the Stanley Cup Final — plus the Dallas Stars (twice), Vegas Golden Knights and Carolina Huricanes all in their home barns. Through all of that Lankinen finished the season with a 2.82 goals-against average and .908 save percentage.

5. Sean Monahan, C, Winnipeg Jets

Heading into his age-30 season, Monahan’s best hockey is behind him but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be a solid middle-six contributor. He could slot in as a solid second-line center or he can be the pivot-man on the third line of a contending team with good depth.

Between the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets, Monahan put up 26 goals and 59 points. Though he has lost a little of his scoring touch (he was 30-goal, 80-point player in 2018), Monahan still has plenty left in the tank to be a strong points producer.

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