The best of the NHL rarely manage to break free.
Teams tend to re-sign their top players and keep them out of the market and their lists. That leaves a lot of solid veterans and journeymen to the highest bidder trying to find a striker for a second or third line, a defender for a second pair, or perhaps a substitute goalkeeper.
The islanders tried to show Tavares how serious they are to win, Stanley Cup winner coach Barry Trotz and Stanley Cup winners of the hockey operations Lou Lamoriello. New York may also oblige Tavares to sign an eight-year contract, a year more than any other team in the league can give him. Islanders can invest $ 80 million to persuade their franchisee to stay.
Tavares may want to use his two-way talents elsewhere because he has made it to the playoffs only three times in his nine years career, advancing only once. When the five-time All-Star decides to leave, he has many options. Toronto, Boston, San Jose, Dallas and Tampa Bay are among his options. Tavares can win a seven-year contract for perhaps more than $ 70 million from each of the teams who want to lure him away from the islanders.
Philadelphia Flyers CEO Ron Hextall said the Tavares situation holds back other free agents How high will he set the bar for salaries and delay trade?
"I think it's keeping up the hockey world in a way," Hextall said Friday.
Some other names that one should look at in front of the free agency. begins on Sunday:
JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK
The Maple Leafs would like to keep him at the right price, but they may have to let him go to get enough money to bring Tavares home. The 29-year-old winger had 36 goals last season, his sixth in Toronto and the ninth in the league.
The 30-year-old winger had a great time for his career year, with a career-high 50 assists and 66 points with the Vegas Golden Knights. He added nine points during their postseason run.
The three-time All-Star had a career-high 11 postseason points during the Las Vegas run to the Stanley Cup final. The 30-year-old winger keeps in good shape and leads on and off the ice.
The 32-year-old center had a career-high 15 playoff points, helping the Winnipeg Jets reach the Western Conference final. The one-time All-Star would be a solid Plan B for teams tapping their shot at Tavares.
With Washington keeping John Carlson off the market, 32-year-old Green may be the best available defender. Green had a neck injury in Detroit last season and that could affect some teams.
The 30-year-old winger finished 27 goals last year and took third place among the potential unrestricted free agents. In the last 21 games he only had two for New Jersey.
32-year-old Bozak has spent his entire career with the Maple Leafs, who can not afford the solid center at 365 Career Points
The teams may be reluctant to sign Thornton taking on knee surgery on Tuesday with his 39th birthday, but the center with great hands could suit veteran presence for a belligerent team that would add depth and a good figure
In the last two seasons in Dallas, the 35-year-old defender will miss out on just five games of picking on the blue line.
The 34-year-old goalkeeper won 23 games last season, most of all sorts of unrestricted free agent, though playing for the low Carolina Hurricanes.
AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston of Philadelphia contributed to this report.
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