Top Restricted Free Agents, Promising Rookies From NHL’s List
The NHL free agent signing period officially started on October 9. Teams and franchises now begin to find and sign the best players and most promising rookies from this year’s selection. But the best players are not always free to jump from one team to the next, so teams might have to go the extra mile to acquire them.
Before the start of the 2020-21 season, let’s take a look at this year’s top restricted free agents from NHL’s list. Each player on the list below can receive an offer sheet from another team, have his own team match the terms, or receive draft-pick compensation based on the value of the terms.
Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders
Islander’s center was one of the most promising rookies from the 2015 NHL Draft. He won the Calder Trophy after being voted as the NHL rookie of the year in 2017-18. Tracking his stay with the New York Islanders, he scored 60 points (19 goals, 41 assists) in 68 games last season and 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 22 postseason games.
Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning
The 23-year-old center was one of the players responsible for Lightning’s victory at the 2019-20 season. Lightning won the Stanley Cup with the help of Cirelli’s NHL career-high assists (28) and points (44) in 68 games and nine points (three goals, six assists) in 25 playoff games.
Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins
Bruin’s left wing scored 35 points (19 goals, 16 assists) in 65 games and four goals in 13 playoff games. DeBrusk has also scored impressive goals in 203 regular-season games and 49 playoff games.
Denis Gurianov, Dallas Stars
Stars’ right wing is another young player to watch out for. Gurianov scored 29 points (20 goals, nine assists) in 64 games and 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 27 postseason games.
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Columbus Blue Jackets
Only 22 years old, Dubious already scored 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists) in 70 games and 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 10 playoff games for the Jackets.
Roope Hintz, Dallas Stars
Stars’ left wing complements Denis Gurianov. Hintz scored 33 points (19 goals, 14 assists) in 60 games and 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 13 playoff games, and 55 points (28 goals, 27 assists) in 118 regular-season games.
Anthony Mantha, Detroit Red Wings
The 26-year-old right wing scored 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) in 43 games. On top of that, he also scored 173 points (84 goals, 89 assists) in 260 regular-season games for the Red Wings.
Dylan Strome, Chicago Blackhawks
As a young center, Strome scored 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in 58 games and three points (two goals, one assist) in nine playoff games for the Blackhawks. His stay with the Arizona Coyotes also earned him valuable points for goals and assists.
Vince Dunn, St. Louis Blues
Dunn won the Stanley Cup with St. Louis in 2019, thanks to his 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 71 games and three assists in nine playoff games. Dunn also scored 82 points (26 goals, 56 assists) in 224 regular-season games and 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 29 playoff games.
Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay Lightning
Aside from Cirelli’s might, Sergachev also led Lightning to victory with his 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) in 70 games and 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 25 playoff games. We saw Sergachev’s impressive strategies during Lightning’s match against the Montreal Canadiens.
Mackenzie Blackwood, New Jersey Devils
Blackwood is only an NHL rookie, but he’s already one of the best goalies out there. He possesses a 22-14-8 rate with a 2.77 goals-against average, .915 save percentage, and three shutouts in 47 games (43 starts).
Sam Montembeault, Florida Panthers
Montembeault was 5-5-1 with a 3.34 GAA and .890 save percentage in 14 games (nine starts) as an NHL rookie under the Panthers. In 25 games (19 starts), Montembeault was 9-8-3 with a 3.20 GAA and .892 save percentage.