On Wednesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the league’s top brass is expected to release the next round of the free agent rankings on Thursday.
“As of right now, we’re just going to put out a list of who’s left,” Bettman told reporters.
“But it’s not a complete list, there are a lot of names we haven’t talked about.”
But the league has not given an official release date.
The top five unrestricted free agents are: Jarome Iginla (six years, $70 million), Jaromei Kapanen (eight years, more than $30 million), Shea Weber (eight seasons, more then $24 million), and Matt Duchene (seven years, about $28 million).
The top three unrestricted free-agent forwards are: Filip Forsberg (four years, five million), Ryan Suter (four seasons, two million), Jonathan Toews (four games, about five million).
“We’re not going to release any names just yet,” Bettmen said.
“I think it’s fair to say that we’ve been looking for a few weeks to see how it all plays out.”
The NHL has had an offseason to think about the free agency landscape and it is expected that the decision to release an annual list of its top unrestricted free agent will be announced by Thursday.
The latest news on the free-agency market is expected later this week.
“We’ve been working really hard on this and this is the first big step,” Bettmans statement said.
The NHL’s free agent market opened on Tuesday, and the teams that have been active in free agency this summer have been the Minnesota Wild and Philadelphia Flyers.
But teams like the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators have been very active in the free agents market, and some of the most prominent names in the market are expected to leave this summer.
“Obviously there are some big names that are going to leave,” NHL executive vice president David Poile said.
While the NHL has been quiet on the deadline talks, general manager Steve Yzerman said the league is working on finding “the right pieces.”
“I’m excited about that because I think we’ve got to find the right pieces,” he said.
With the free signings, the number of unrestricted free agency slots has shrunk, but there are still plenty of teams left.
“There’s a lot going on with free agency,” Poile told reporters after a trade between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers was announced on Wednesday.
“It’s been a busy time in free-agents for us.
But we’re not stopping.
We’re going to keep working hard to get as many players to come here as we can.”
The Islanders and Flyers have not announced their plans for the next free agent, but they did make it clear that they are not willing to give up on players like defenseman Nicklas Backstrom, who is under contract through 2019-20.
“Our priority is to be in the right position and we’re going as hard as we possibly can to make sure we’re getting the right players,” said general manager Garth Snow.
“At the same time, we want to be careful that we don’t get hurt or hurt anybody.
The Flyers were one of the few teams to be active in late July, but many of their free agents remain unsigned. “
The bottom line is, we’ve had an incredible offseason and the players have really been working hard and are excited about the future.”
The Flyers were one of the few teams to be active in late July, but many of their free agents remain unsigned.
“All we’re asking is that you give us the same consideration as you would a player who we’re trying to bring in,” Snow said.
If teams are interested in signing players, they must agree to a four-year, $25 million contract, according to the league.
“So we are a team that likes to sign young players, we are one of a few teams that is willing to take that risk and be willing to sign players,” Snow told reporters during a media availability.
So we’re prepared to work with those teams, to make the most of what they have to offer.””
That’s not to say we’re the only one, but we have a good relationship with other teams, with our agents, and with all the players that have signed.
So we’re prepared to work with those teams, to make the most of what they have to offer.”