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Looking Ahead: One Player All 31 NHL Teams Should Chase Next Summer

With the offseason currently underway, teams are already looking forward to the 2017-18 season. With all of the current teams looking at the current players on the market, and it makes the 2017 off season an interesting one. Teams are looking at different options that can help them for not only next season, but for seasons to come. With the 2017 free agents looking to continue to play for their current teams, or they are looking to team up with players to try and help take out the Pittsburgh Penguins who are the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions.

Nobody would like to see a three-peat around the league, except if you're Pittsburgh obviously, but thinking of the fact of how they dumped Marc-Andre Fleury and have expanded their cap room by a significant amount means that they will be contenders for a very long time. Now that is fun and all, but something that is more fun to think about is to look forward at the 2018 free agents, and debate where they could potentially end up after this upcoming season.

There are some big names that are set to become free agents in 2018, such as John Tavares, the Sedin twins and many more. Some of these players have different outlooks on how they would like their free agency played out, and others want to be able to make the most money that they can for their future. Looking at the different scenarios to see where players could go next year is a very interesting outlook, because you haven't even seen where the current free agents have signed yet, and don't know how they will work out/fit for their current or new team. With that being said here is one player that every NHL team should go after in the 2018 offseason.

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31 Anaheim Ducks - Cam Atkinson

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The Anaheim Ducks have their big core guys locked for the 2018-2019 season, and one player that they should target is Cam Atkinson. The former sixth round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft has been a very productive all-around player since he entered the league. Cam Atkinson in his career has played in 382 games to go along with 121 goals to go along with 106 assists for a total of 227 points. He has been a good solid top six forward that could help bring Anaheim back to the Stanley Cup Final.

Imagine a powerplay unit that has Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, and/or Corey Perry/Cam Atkinson as one cohesive unit. The thought of an all around talent like Atkinson playing in Anaheim at one point in his career is a scary thought. Anaheim has roughly at the moment $27.4 million in cap space, and Atkinson can take up around $5.0 million of that to help the Ducks out.

30 Arizona Coyotes - Jaroslav Halak

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The Arizona Coyotes are in desperate need in a goalie not only this season, but for seasons to come. While they got Antti Raanta in a trade with New York, Raanta is not under contract after this season. Unless Raanta comes in and blows everybody away in the desert, the Yotes should go after Jaroslav Halak in 2018. The former 9th round pick in the 2003 NHL Draft has been a good solid number one goalie in the National Hockey League. Halak has played in 395 games in his career and has a win loss record of 212-124-42 with a save percentage of .917.

Halak has bounced around the league from Montreal, to St. Louis, to Washington, to the New York Islanders. Now as Halak looks for his future, being the number one goaltender for a young team like Arizona could end up helping his career rather than hurting his career. Look for the Coyotes to go after Halak in the 2018 off season, to help fill a void that they need help filling.

29 Boston Bruins - Mark Stone

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The Boston Bruins are in desperate need for a top six forward that can help them out on the score sheet, and one 2018 free agent they should look at is none other than Mark Stone. The former sixth round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, has been a successful forward for the Ottawa Senators for the past three seasons. Stone has proven that he is a top six forward, and can help any team in the National Hockey League.

The 25-year-old winger, has averaged 20 plus goals and 30 plus assists in the past three seasons, and should get a fair deal from the Bruins who at the moment have roughly around $23.1 million in cap space. Boston having a good young talent to go along with their solid core that they currently have can help push the Bruins in the right direction moving forward.

28 Buffalo Sabres - Craig Anderson

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The Buffalo Sabres have a good young core up front, but they don't have a goaltender for the future. One player that Buffalo should go after in the 2018 offseason is none other than Craig Anderson. The former redrafted 3rd round pick in the 2001 NHL Draft, has been the number one goaltender for the Senators since the 2011-12 season. Anderson has bounced around during his time in the National Hockey League as he started in Chicago, then went to Florida, then to Colorado, then to Ottawa.

In Anderson's career he has played in 506 games while accumulating a 238-182-57 record while posting a 2.69 GAA, to go along with a .916 save percentage. Craig Anderson this past season dealt with his wife dealing with cancer for the whole season, and she was officially cancer free as of the 2017 playoffs. Anderson can help Buffalo become a Stanley Cup contender as he was only one goal away from helping Ottawa go to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017.

27 Calgary Flames - Daniel & Henrik Sedin

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Now this is a special one that the Calgary Flames should go after in the 2018 offseason and that is none other than the Sedin twins. The former number two overall selection (Daniel Sedin), and the former number three overall selection in the 1999 NHL Draft, have been the face of the Vancouver Canucks since they entered the league, and it may be time to find a new home. The Flames are one of the only teams that are not the Canucks that could afford the two twins for a few years.

Henrik Sedin has played in 1,248 games while tallying 237 goals to go along with 783 assists for a total of 1,020 points. While his brother Daniel has played in 1,225 games played while tallying 370 goals to go along with 616 assists for a total of 986 points. The Sedins will most likely want to play with each other and one team that is not Vancouver that could actually afford the both of them is Calgary. At the moment the Flames currently has a rough estimate of $27.1 million in cap room for 2018 and that is more than enough to pay the Sedin twins.

26 Carolina Hurricanes - Jack Johnson

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The Carolina Hurricanes need a veteran defenseman to help lead them in the right direction, and one player that can do that for them is Jack Johnson. The former number three overall selection in the 2005 NHL Draft, was originally drafted by Carolina, but they eventually traded their rights to the Los Angeles Kings. Johnson has been a great defenseman since he entered the league in 2007. The 12 year veteran can help a young team like Carolina and help take them to the next step to get back to not only the playoffs, but to the Stanley Cup Final as well.

In his career Johnson has played in 711 games and has tallied 63 goals to go along with 204 assists for a total of 267 points. Johnson has logged some serious ice time throughout his career and Carolina should look to get the guy that they originally drafted.

25 Chicago Blackhawks - Patrick Maroon

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The Chicago Blackhawks are currently in a cap space nightmare, as they are struggling with these heavy contracts for star players. Chicago needs some help on the wing, and what is better than getting a cheap option like Patrick Maroon. Maroon is a former sixth round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, and had a career high 27 goals in 2016-17. Maroon has played with the likes of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Connor McDavid, which has helped his numbers improve.

In Maroon's career he has played in 301 games while tallying 61 goals to go along with 74 assists for a total of 135 points. He is set to make some good money, but Chicago can definitely bargain to get him to sign on a cheap deal. With Chicago already been busy this off-season by acquiring some old talent that were on their Stanley Cup Champion rosters in Brandon Saad, and Patrick Sharp look for the Blackhawks and Maroon to come to an agreement next off season.

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24 Colorado Avalanche - David Perron

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The Colorado Avalanche are in a world of trouble coming into the 2017-18 season, they still have turmoil between some of their star players, and the none stop rumors of potential superstars being on the block has not helped their case. One player that could help Colorado out is David Perron. The former 26th overall selection in the 2007 NHL Draft, has bounced around over the past few seasons. Perron has played for St. Louis, then went to Edmonton, then to Pittsburgh, then to Anaheim, then back to St. Louis, and now is currently a part of the Vegas Golden Knights.

In Perron's career he has played in 652 games while tallying 159 goals to go along with 219 assists for a total of 378 points. With Perron bouncing around the odds of him staying in Vegas look slim, so Colorado should take advantage and sign Perron next off-season.

23 Columbus Blue Jackets - Valtteri Filppula

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The Columbus Blue Jackets look like they are set up to be one of the better teams not only next season, but in seasons to come as well. One player that could help add depth to the center position and that can help win faceoffs in the faceoff dot. That player is none other than Valtteri Filppula. He is a former 3rd round pick in the 2002 NHL Draft, and has been a solid all-around center in his career.

In his career Filppula has played in 795 games while tallying 157 goals to go along with 273 assists for a total of 430 points. With what Valtteri Filppula brings to any team in the National Hockey League, is a center that is very good in the faceoff dot, and is a very effective forward on all three parts of the ice.

22 Dallas Stars - Tobias Enstrom

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The Dallas Stars need help on the blue line, and one veteran that could definitely help the Stars is Tobias Enstrom. The former 8th round pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, has been a very consistent defenseman for the Atlanta Thrasher/Winnipeg Jets franchise throughout his whole career. Enstrom is just what the Dallas Stars need for their blue line, a veteran defenseman who can help lead all the young defenseman in the right direction. An experienced defenseman is what the Stars need to help bring Dallas back into the playoffs and help lead them to a potential Stanley Cup Final run.

In his career Enstrom has played in 676 games and tallied 53 goals to go along with 249 assists for a total of 302 points. The Stars will look to steal Enstrom away from Winnipeg, and with their rough amount at the moment of $22.4 million in cap room can be a team that can steal him for a good price.

21 Detroit Red Wings - Mikael Backlund 

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The Detroit Red Wings are looking forward to being able to bounce back and make it to the playoffs next season. The Red Wings are thin at the center position and one center that Detroit should go after in the 2018 off season is Mikael Backlund. The former 24th overall selection in the 2007 NHL Draft, had a career year in 2016-17, and will look to continue to improve that success in the 2017-18 season. Backlund has been improving over the past three seasons, and is entering the prime of his career which can help him make some serious money in free agency.

In his career Backlund has played in 461 games while tallying 94 goals to go along with 134 assists for a total of 228 points. Detroit can get some good help at center in Backlund, while paying him a reasonable amount with the rough estimate of $21.1 million in cap space at the moment. Look for Backlund to take his talents to Detroit and help out a Red Wing team that wants to go back into the playoffs.

20 Edmonton Oilers - James Neal

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The Edmonton Oilers are already considered contenders to win the Stanley Cup in 2017-18, and a couple of good moves can help them become contenders for the next five plus seasons. One move that they should try and do in the 2018 offseason is sign James Neal. The former second round pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, has proven his worth as a goal scorer in the National Hockey League, and should get paid like an elite goal scorer in the 2018 off season. Edmonton already has a good foundation in Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and many more good young talent and adding an elite goal scorer like James Neal to the fold could help do wonders for the Oilers.

In his career Neal has played in 632 games while tallying 238 goals to go along with 213 assists for a total of 451 points. Neal in Edmonton can help lead to plenty of Stanley Cup berths and even Stanley Cup titles that can make Edmonton the face of Canada in a hockey sense again.

19 Florida Panthers - J.T. Brown

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The Florida Panthers have some young talent that has proven to be good assets in the NHL, even though they are thin at wingers one player that Florida should go after in the 2018 off season is J.T. Brown. The former undrafted player from Minnesota-Duluth, has not really fit in with the Lightning, and has struggled at the NHL level, but with a change of scenery could be a big help to take his career to another level. The 27 year old has not put up more than 22 points in a single season yet, but he definitely needs the right fit in order to succeed and Florida is that place.

In his young career Brown has played in 262 games while tallying 18 goals to go along with 39 assists for a total of 57 points. He has not proven that he is an effective player in the NHL just yet, but there is a chance that if he signs with Florida that he can sprout before his career is over.

18 Los Angeles Kings - Rick Nash

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The Los Angeles Kings have good talent, and can definitely use an upgrade on the wing. One player that is available next off season that they should look at is none other than Rick Nash. The former number one overall selection in the 2002 NHL Draft, Rick Nash has had a remarkable career so far, and has a few good years left in his tank. The Kings being able to have room to sign someone with the talent that Rick Nash has would be a huge plus for them moving forward. LA owes some talent a good chunk of change and at the moment only has $14.1 million roughly in cap space. Yes, Rick Nash deserves to get paid and the Kings will have to maneuver some way to dump a contract or two so that they can acquire Nash.

In his career Nash has played in 989 games while tallying 416 goals to go along with 355 assists for a total of 771 points. Nash and Los Angeles seem like a match made in heaven, and the Kings could use another veteran to help them go back to the Stanley Cup Final.

17 Minnesota Wild - Patric Hornqvist

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The Minnesota Wild have consistently been a playoff team since the arrival of Ryan Suter, and Zach Parise. They haven't made it yet to the Western Conference Finals, but they are definitely on the rise to be able to do so. The 2018 off season should lead them towards going after one specific winger, and that winger is none other than Patric Hornqvist. Hornqvist is a former seventh round pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, and is now a 2-time Stanley Cup Champion. Hornqvist has been a solid all-around player when healthy throughout his NHL career, and can help bring the Wild to the next level.

In his career Hornqvist has played in 579 games while tallying 174 goals to go along with 188 assists for a total of 362 points. Minnesota signing a guy like Hornqvist can do wonders based on the fact that he is a 2-time Stanley Cup Champion, and he can help lead and bring the Wild over the hump.

16 Montreal Canadiens - Ilya Kovalchuk

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The Montreal Canadiens have been making some moves that can definitely help their team in the future, but one move above all that the Canadiens should try next year is to sign Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk was planning on returning to the NHL this summer, but it didn't end up working out and so he chose to return to the KHL for the final year of his contract. He'll be a free agent next summer and the Habs still seem to be in need for some offense. It's unlikely they'll be able to acquire another big name this offseason, so Kovalchuk should be pencilled in as a Habs target for next year.

Granted, Kovalchuk is in his mid 30s, but the Habs need scoring and while they may be a little tight against the cap with Price's contract extension kicking in next summer, they'll save some space with Tomas Plekanec's $6 million coming off the books.

15 Nashville Predators - James van Riemsdyk

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The Nashville Predators have a bright future ahead of them, and with the recent Stanley Cup Final appearance it is going to attract some big name free agents to want to come in play in Nashville. One player that Nashville should go after in the 2018 offseason is James van Riemsdyk. The former number two overall selection in the 2007 NHL Draft, has been a great all-around talent since entering the league. van Riemsdyk has been a key part of why teams like Philadelphia succeeded with him there, and why Toronto has been on the up and up.

In his career JVR has played in 528 games while tallying 165 goals to go along with 174 assists for a total of 339 points. Seeing him in Nashville sounds like a good move based on the fact that Nashville is thin on the wing, and van Riemsdyk is a perfect fit to help Nashville make it back to the Stanley Cup Final. Look for the two sides to be talking during the season, and for an agreement to be signed in the 2018 off season.

14 New Jersey Devils - Evander Kane

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The New Jersey Devils are a young team that should be considered going through a rebuilding phase, but in all realities they have talent that can contend in the Eastern Conference. One player that they need to add in the 2018 offseason is Evander Kane. The former 4th overall selection in the 2009 NHL Draft, has had his ups and downs in the NHL, but he needs to find a place to play where he can stay out of trouble, and New Jersey is just that place. Kane is a threat on the ice, and with the Devils thin on the wing this looks like it could be a good move for both sides.

In Kane's career he has played in 496 games to go along with 157 goals to go along with 143 assists for a total of 300 points. The Devils need help for Taylor Hall, and Evander Kane sure looks like a guy that could help and make Hall want to stay long-term.

13 New York Islanders - Mikko Koivu

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The New York Islanders are in for a world of trouble if their franchise player John Tavares decides that he wants out of New York. One player that the Islanders should go after not only if he doesn't want to come back, or if Tavares wants to come back is Mikko Koivu. The former sixth overall selection in the 2001 NHL Draft, has played his entire career in Minnesota and seems to be on his way out. Koivu can help lead the Islanders in the right direction with or without John Tavares.

In his career Koivu has played in 843 games and has tallied 179 goals to go along with 435 assists for a total of 614 points. With Koivu as one of the better centers on the market in 2018, the Islanders should take advantage of their rough estimate of $38.1 million in cap room and sign a veteran like Mikko Koivu.

12 New York Rangers - John Carlson

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The New York Rangers have stolen one Washington defenseman away this offseason in Kevin Shattenkirk, and in 2018 they will look to steal another one as they will try and sign John Carlson. The former 27th overall selection in the 2008 NHL Draft is a solid defenseman, and could help a team like the Rangers out very well. Carlson has been a great asset since being drafted by the Capitals, and can very well be on the uprise of being a top fifteen defensman in the National Hockey League.

In Carlson's career he has played in 526 games while tallying 62 goals to go along with 203 assists for a total of 265 points. The Rangers having Carlson to add on to their already deep blue line does nothing more than help Henrik Lundqvist out. With all these talented defensemen the Rangers would be in a better position to win the Stanley Cup before Lundqvist retires.

11 Ottawa Senators - Eddie Lack

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With the Ottawa Senators having key players that will be free agents in 2018, one position they definitely will need to acquire is goaltender. One goaltender on the 2018 free agent market that would be a great fit for Ottawa is Eddie Lack. The former undrafted free agent just got traded to Calgary, but it doesn't look like Eddie Lack could be the long term plan there. In Ottawa especially if they lose Craig Anderson, he would thrive with that talented defense in front of him.

In his career Lack has played in 136 games and has a record of 54-51-18 while posting a 2.56 GAA to go along with a career .911 save percentage. With Lack having a fresh start in Calgary can mean that this won't happen, but if it doesn't start off good for him he can either look at Ottawa before he ends up out of the league for good.

10 Philadelphia Flyers - Cam Ward

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The Philadelphia Flyers are definitely on the up and up with the recent moves that they have made, and one player that they should focus on signing in 2018 off season is Cam Ward. Yes, I understand that they just signed Brian Elliott, and they still have Michal Neuvirth under contract in 2018, but what happens if they get another year where their goaltending lets them down? Ward is a former 25th overall selection, and a former Stanley Cup Champion, and a former Conn Smythe Winner, could be a big time upgrade for the Flyers in between the pipes.

In Ward's career he has played in 625 games and has posted a 295-230-80 record, while posting a 2.70 GAA to go along with a career .909 save percentage. The Flyers could become big time players in the Eastern Conference if they get the right goaltender, which is Cam Ward.

9 Pittsburgh Penguins - Mike Green

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The two time defending Stanley Cup Champions look to be set for another title in 2017-18, and already has a good group around them. One player that they should try and add to the fold in the 2018 offseason is none other than veteran defenseman Mike Green. The former 29th overall selection in the 2004 NHL Draft, and has been a solid offensive defenseman since entering the league. His stats on the ice speaks for themselves, and he was a big help to the Capitals during his tenure there, and has been a good asset for the Red Wings since he began there.

In his career Green has played in 721 games and has tallied 134 goals to go along with 297 assists for a total of 431 points. As a defenseman those are remarkable numbers, and he can only improve. Both sides would make out in this agreement with Pittsburgh getting a good solid defenseman, and Mike Green getting a realistic chance at winning a Stanley Cup title before it is all said and done.

8 San Jose Sharks - Chris Kunitz

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The San Jose Sharks have already locked up some of their guys in Martin Jones, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and they resigned Joe Thornton. One player that just signed this off season, but will be available next off season is Chris Kunitz. Kunitz is a former undrafted free agent, and this offseason signed a one year $2 million deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. That doesn't mean that Tampa Bay won't try to keep him after this season, but there is a realistic chance that he could go elsewhere for a long-term deal after this season. I can say that I am very surprised that Kunitz left Pittsburgh this offseason.

In Kunitz's career he has played in 884 games and has tallied 250 goals to go along with 330 assists for a total of 580 points. Kunitz's career has been very effective since he went to Pittsburgh, he is now a four time Stanley Cup Champion (three in Pittsburgh, one in Anaheim) and can bring that experience to San Jose.

7 St. Louis Blues - Kyle Turris

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The St. Louis Blues has lost some of their core, but they do still have Vladmir Tarasenko, and one player they should try to acquire during the 2018 off season is none other than Kyle Turris. The former third overall selection in the 2007 NHL Draft, has been a good center since entering the league. Turris has been one of the top centers in the faceoff dot, and has been a big time threat to leave Ottawa when he becomes a free agent in 2018.

In Turris's career he has played in 533 games and has tallied 133 goals to go along with 178 assists for a total of 311 points. He has been a big time factor in why Ottawa was the team that they were this season, and without Turris the Senators would not have gotten that far. Look for the Blues to find their new guy to help build their franchise around to go along with Tarasenko already.

6 Tampa Bay Lightning - Bryan Little

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are definitely trying to become better than they were when they last made the Stanley Cup Final. They have a plethora of young talent, but they need some veterans in that locker room. One player that they should try and sign next off season is Bryan Little. The former 12th overall selection in the 2006 NHL Draft, has been a great piece for the Winnipeg Jets franchise even when they were known as the Atlanta Thrashers.

In Little's career he has played in 672 games while tallying 184 goals to go along with 248 assists for a total of 432 points. Tampa Bay needs a talented winger to play along side Stamkos so that they can have the triplet line together of (Palat, Johnson, Kucherov) and have that triplet line stay together. The Lightning were a legitimate threat when those three played on the same line, and with the addition of a talented winger like Bryan Little helps and he can even play a little center as well.

5 Toronto Maple Leafs - John Tavares

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the brightest futures in the NHL currently, and they will look to only continue to add more and more to help bring a Stanley Cup title back to Toronto. In the 2018 off season one player that they should go after is none other than John Tavares. The former number one overall selection in the 2009 NHL Draft, has been linked to the Maple Leafs since the potential thought of leaving the Islanders via free agency.

In his career Tavares has played in 587 games and has tallied 235 goals to go along with 302 assists for a total of 537 points. Tavares has been put into a tough spot due to the fact that he is playing on a team that is currently struggling, and has no chance of making it to the Stanley Cup Final in the foreseeable future. Well as long as if he goes to Toronto with the way that they played last season if they add talented veteran center in the prime of his career like Tavares they can be good for the forseeable future.

4 Vancouver Canucks - Jonathan Bernier

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The Vancouver Canucks have no clear direction right at this very moment, and they have no big time playmakers under contract for the 2018 season, and no solid goaltenders either. One player that the Canucks should look to sign next offseason is Jonathan Bernier. The former 11th overall selection in the 2006 NHL Draft, has yet to find a home in the National Hockey League, as he was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings, then went to Toronto, and now currently plays in Anaheim. With their being no number one goaltender in Vancouver, Bernier can show his worth, and earn his spot as the number one goaltender in Vancouver.

In Bernier's career he has played in 252 games and tallied a 109-95-27 record while posting a 2.65 ERA, and to go along with his career .915 save percentage to add with it. Bernier and Vancouver could help each other out, and could be a good match for both sides.

3 Vegas Golden Knights - Tyler Bozak

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The Vegas Golden Knights have yet to play a game in the National Hockey yet, and I am already looking forward to who they should go after in the 2018 offseason. It is weird to think about, but one player that they should go after next off season is Tyler Bozak. The former undrafted free agent has been a good center in Toronto, and looks like his time there is coming to a close.

In Bozak's career he has played in 513 games and has tallied 125 goals to go along with 197 assists for a total of 322 points. Bozak has been a top six center for the past five seasons, and has helped Toronto be who they are today. Vegas could use a talent like this to help lead them into the right direction, and to help be a part of the first Golden Knights team that makes the playoffs.

2 Washington Capitals - Paul Stastny

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The Washington Capitals have been one of the better regular season teams since the arrival of Alexander Ovechkin, but when it comes down to crunch time in the playoffs they also fold. There are plenty holes that Washington should try to fill, but one player that they should definitely go after in the 2018 off season is none other than Paul Stastny. The former second round selection in the 2005 NHL Draft, has been a solid center in the league and can help a team like the Capitals. Stastny has been a good player for Colorado, and St. Louis during his NHL career.

In his career Stastny has played in 742 games while tallying 204 goals to go along with 389 assists for a total of 593 points. The veteran center can help keep the Capitals on the right track, and would definitely help them potentially make it out of the Eastern Conference.

1 Winnipeg Jets - Antti Raanta

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The Winnipeg Jets have a good group to build around currently, and they did sign Steve Mason so far this off season, but he still might not be the answer for their goaltending problems. One player that they should go after in the 2018 off season is Antti Raanta. The former undrafted free agent, was just recently traded to the Arizona Coyotes who are in desperate need of goaltending since trading away Mike Smith, but is that they place where Raanta wants to play long-term.

In Raanta's short career he has played in 94 games and has tallied together a record of 47-23-9 while posting a 2.33 GAA and adding a career .917 save percentage to go along with it. Raanta and Winnipeg seem like a match that everybody would love to see, and with the better talent that the Jets have than Arizona it makes it seem more likely that Raanta to Winnipeg could definitely happen especially if he performs well as the number one guy in Arizona.

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