The 2020 NHL Free Agency Class is one that NHL fans need to pay attention to. Although it is crazy early to determine where these players will end up, it is still important to realize that many franchises could change forever by what goes down during this offseason. The immense talent that is present in this free agency class is enough to makes fans extremely excited, but also petrified toward what could occur with their team’s star player or players.
Through this article, we will be looking at the top 20 free agents from the 2020 NHL Free Agency Class and stating where they could end up. When it comes to factoring these decisions, most of them are based off either each players’ desires to win the Stanley Cup or play on a team that offers them the most benefits and playing time. With that said, it should quite intriguing to see where these players will end up once July 1st, 2020 hits.
Here is the complete list of the 20 best free agents of the 2020 offseason and where they will most likely end up.
20 Ryan Nugent: Hopkins: Anaheim Ducks
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins never reached elite status as a first overall pick, but he still is a productive player and will have many takers for his services. RNH is a very talented top-6 forward who will definitely look to move on from Edmonton because he has seen his role lowered by the Oilers’ center depth. He will be a great service for any team.
RNH will most likely join a team that would use them in their top-6 and the Anaheim Ducks would be a prime destination. The Ducks’ center core is getting a bit older so RNH could become a second line center on them and replace Ryan Kesler. RNH would help the Ducks remain contenders because he is very effective on both ends of the ice.
19 Alex Galchenyuk: Chicago Blackhawks
Alex Galchenyuk has a lot of talent, but is still having trouble finding his consistent game. By the time the 2020 offseason comes, it is likely that Galchenyuk will be one of the most interesting options for teams to acquire. Galchenyuk is a one-time thirty goal scorer and very well could reach those numbers again at either center or the wing.
Galchenyuk would fit perfectly on the Chicago Blackhawks, if they find a way to moderate their salary cap issues. The Blackhawks are always on the search for offensive talent and could fit Galchenyuk at their second line center position. Galchenyuk would thrive in Chicago because he would have the chance to play with superstars and on an elite franchise.
18 Chris Tanev: Dallas Stars
Chris Tanev has become a very reliable and effective defensive defenseman in the NHL and will be one of the best free agent targets of the 2020 free agency class. Tanev has been one of the few bright spots on the Vancouver Canucks over the past few seasons and continues to become better on a mediocre hockey club.
With all that said, Tanev will definitely look to leave Vancouver as a free agent so he can finally have the chance to win. The Dallas Stars have been linked to Tanev in the past and he would make a great addition for the club. Tanev would slot into their top-4 and help them at a position where the Stars seem to always have some issues.
17 Mike Hoffman: Edmonton Oilers
Mike Hoffman came out of nowhere during the 2014-15 season and has not stopped ever since. Hoffman is a consistent 25 to 30 goal scorer and will be a marvelous addition to any team who is in dire need of offense. Hoffman is one of the main reasons why the Ottawa Senators had a strong 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Hoffman most likely will look to move on from Ottawa when he becomes a free agent and join a bigger marker to showcase his talents. The Edmonton Oilers would be an awesome location for him because he would have the chance to play with a lot of solid center talent, such as Connor McDavid. Hoffman very well could become a 40 goal scorer in that situation.
16 Brayden Schenn: Washington Capitals
After years of development, Brayden Schenn has finally reached the expectations of a top 5 draft pick. Schenn struggled a lot as a prospect because he was traded at a young age to the Philadelphia Flyers, but later found his game. Schenn has quietly become one of the top two-way forwards in the game and will thrive in St. Louis.
When Schenn becomes a free agent in 2020, he will look to join a contender and that very well could be the Washington Capitals. Schenn would be a great fit for them because he can play both the wing and center. The Capitals are a team that is getting older they could look at Schenn as a solid replacement for their losses.
15 Tyler Toffoli: Buffalo Sabres
Tyler Toffoli has been a part of a lot of success since he became a full time NHLer playing on one of the best teams from this decade, the Los Angeles Kings. Toffoli’s game grew immensely playing with superstar Jeff Carter and because of that, will be one of the best free agent targets during the 2020 NHL offseason.
Due to the current state the Los Angeles Kings are in, it seems likely that Toffoli will look to move on from them and join a team on the rise. Toffoli would be an excellent pick up for the Buffalo Sabres because it would give them an elite winger to play with franchise center Jack Eichel. The Sabres would be a far better team if this were to occur.
14 Travis Hamonic: Winnipeg Jets
Travis Hamonic became a superstar playing for the New York Islanders because of his strong physical play and smart defensive abilities. This offseason, Hamonic was traded to the Calgary Flames and this in return will make them a far better team. Hamonic will receive a huge payday when he becomes a free agent.
Although Hamonic is ecstatic to be closer to home by this trade, it remains unlikely he will be able to return there. The Flames have an amazing cast of players who are due for extension and this will most likely leave Hamonic out of a contract. Hamonic will most likely want to stay close to home so he could be a great fit for the Winnipeg Jets.
13 Chris Kreider: Boston Bruins
Chris Kreider is a very talented powerforward in the NHL and has made a name for himself as a member of the New York Rangers. Kreider has the potential to reach fifty to sixty points each season and is also a great leader in the process. Due to cap issues, it is unlikely the Rangers will be able to afford him and the raise that he deserves.
Kreider could look to go home and join the Boston Bruins. By the time the 2020 season rolls around, the Bruins will be a far stronger team due to their deep prospect pool. Kreider could go into there and become a leader for the club. Everyone wants to go home in the NHL and this could be Kreider’s chance to do so.
12 Sami Vatanen: St. Louis Blues
Sami Vatanen has been a prized part of the Anaheim Ducks defensive core for a handful of seasons now and has a very strong offensive threat in the process. Vatenen is a player who consistently puts up 25 to 35 plus points each year, so expect him to be one of the top free agent targets of the 2020 NHL offseason.
Vatanen most likely will not return to the Anaheim Ducks due to the cap issues and the fact that he has been consistently been in trade rumors over the past few seasons. Vatanen would be a smart addition for the St. Louis Blues because they will need help on their right side to remain a contending team in the NHL.
11 Torey Krug: Detroit Red Wings
Not many defensemen in the NHL are as offensively minded as Torey Krug and this has been the recipe of his success since he has reached the league. Krug has put up at least 40 points each year since becoming an NHL regular and this past season reached a career high with 51. With all that said, he will be heavily pursued in 2020.
Krug has openly talked about the possibility of joining the Detroit Red Wings one day and he very well could make that become a reality. Although the Red Wings are currently rebuilding, they are a team that could develop quickly over the next few seasons. Krug could elect to go to his hometown team and instantly help the cause.
10 Charlie Coyle: San Jose Sharks
It has been a long journey to stardom for centerman Charlie Coyle, but today he is one of the most valued players in the NHL. Coyle began his career playing at Boston University before being traded by his draft team, the San Jose Sharks, to the Minnesota Wild. In Minnesota, he has slowly become one of the best two-way forwards in the league.
When the 2020 offseason comes around, Coyle may decide to return to San Jose because they will need center depth immensely. Coyle could receive his big pay day by his draft team because they will be desperate to remain contenders in a league that is consistently changing. Coyle would have the chance to be a top-6 player there as well.
9 Mikael Granlund: Los Angeles Kings
Mikael Granlund had a breakout season for the Minnesota Wild this past season and now is one of the top free agents of the 2020 class. After years of struggling to find his offensive game in terms of goals, Granlund shocked the league and scored 26 times, while putting up 69 points. This puts him at elite status, which will make him a big target.
Granlund will most likely look to score the biggest contract he can and that very well could be in Los Angeles. The Kings are in a bit of trouble financially right now, but they are on the verge of losing a few of their superstars and bad contracts. Granlund could become a big piece of the franchise and one of their top players.
8 Tyson Barrie: Philadelphia Flyers
Tyson Barrie is stuck in a very tough situation right now as a member of an identity-less Colorado Avalanche club. Yet, even with this, Barrie is still finding ways to put up solid seasons and remain a reliable option for many teams. Barrie will definitely look to leave Colorado as soon as he has the chance in 2020.
Barrie would be a spectacular pickup for the Philadelphia Flyers because they are a team that is looking to go on the rise. The Flyers have many young players in their system and will look for a veteran defenseman to help the team grow. Barrie would fit that description perfectly and could make a huge difference.
7 Justin Faulk: Columbus Blue Jackets
Justin Faulk has remained a sensational defenseman for the Carolina Hurricanes, even though the club has not had much success at all. Faulk has consistently put up at least 35 points over the past three seasons and has received great feedback because of it. Faulk will be an excellent addition for any team that is looking for defensive stability.
Faulk will most likely want to get the chance to win a Stanley Cup and the Columbus Blue Jackets would be an excellent choice for him. The Blue Jackets showed this season that they are the real deal and are only getting better from here. Faulk would give them an elite defender on their blue line and could make all the difference in their quest as contenders.
6 Roman Josi: Tampa Bay Lightning
Roman Josi has made a great name for himself, even though he was not expected to be much of anything at the beginning of his career. Today, Josi is one of the main reasons why the Nashville Predators made the Stanley Cup Finals this past season and has become a franchise talent in the process.
Although Josi is beloved in Nashville, it seems unlikely that they will be able to afford him after the 2020 season. With that, Josi will look to join another contending team and that very well could be the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning will have a lot more money after this offseason and could use it to bring in a superstar for their back end.
5 Taylor Hall: Pittsburgh Penguins
Former first overall pick Taylor Hall has grown into a franchise talent in the league, but has yet to play a single playoff game. Sadly for him, he was traded by the Edmonton Oilers right before they became contenders and is now stuck on the New Jersey Devils. Hall will look to leave New Jersey as soon as he becomes a free agent in 2020.
It is no surprise that Hall wants to win a Stanley Cup as soon as he can and he would have that opportunity on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although financially it may be hard for the Penguins to pull this out, it is not impossible. Hall would absolutely join the Penguins to have the chance to play with superstar talent like Sidney Crosby.
4 Nicklas Backstrom: New York Rangers
Nicklas Backstrom is one of the best pure playmakers in the NHL and is a big reason why Alex Ovechkin has put up as many goals as he has. Backstrom is an absolute franchise talent because over 734 games in his career, he has 728 points. Not many players in today’s NHL come close to reaching a point per game in a season, let alone an entire career.
Backstrom will most likely opt to leave the Washington Capitals because it is clear that are starting to fall apart. Ovechkin is only getting older from here and the team has serious financial issues. Backstrom could end up signing with the Capitals’ rival, the New York Rangers, and play with a young group of players who will be good enough to carry the team to glory and give Backstrom his first cup.
3 Corey Crawford: Montreal Canadiens
Corey Crawford has been a very talented goalie in the NHL since he became a regular in the 2010-11 season. Without his stellar performances in the playoffs, the Blackhawks would not have won the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015. By the time he becomes a free agent in 2020, he will be 35 and most likely past his prime however.
With that said, Crawford most likely will be signed as a 1B goalie or backup. Crawford may look to go home and sign with the Montreal Canadiens because by then, they will still be a contender and Carey Price will need more support. Crawford has shown signs of his game lowering, but he could make a solid backup for the Canadiens.
2 Alex Pietrangelo: Toronto Maple Leafs
Alex Pietrangelo is the heart of the St. Louis Blues and has become one of the greatest talents in the entire league. Pietrangelo is an extremely talent two-way defenseman who has been noted as one of the hardest players to play against in the NHL. With that, Pietrangelo will be a top target going into the 2020 free agency period.
Although Pietrangelo is the captain of the St. Louis Blues, no one should be surprised if he ends up leaving the team because they appear to be on a downward slope. Pietrangelo would be a team altering pickup for the Toronto Maple Leafs because it would give them their franchise defenseman. This could make Toronto and Pietrangelo finally get their Stanley Cup.
1 Braden Holtby: Chicago Blackhawks
Braden Holtby has become arguably the best goalie in the NHL over the past few seasons and has been the main reason why the Washington Capitals have won back to back President’s Trophies. Although the Capitals have not won their Stanley Cup, each year they are a threat to because of the amazing talent Holtby possess.
Because the Washington Capitals championship window is slowly closing, Holtby may elect to leave them in 2020. With Corey Crawford’s contract coming off the books, the Blackhawks would be an excellent fit for Holtby because it would give him the greatest chance of finally winning. The Blackhawks are proven winners and Holtby could help them become a dynasty again.