Top 15 Upcoming NHL Free Agents Who Will Cash In Next Summer

We haven’t even hit the quarter mark of the 2015-16 NHL, so why would anyone be looking ahead to the 2016 Unrestricted Free Agent Class? Well, for me, it’s because I’m a Leafs fan (I know), and as excited as I have been for Mike Babcock and the systems he’s instilled in this team, I’m realistic, and I know there’s pretty much no chance of making playoffs this year. So already, I’m looking ahead to see who might be available on July 1st.

I’m going to ignore all the players who are over the age of 32, today, because free agent signings of guys who are that age usually turn out to be bad signings. Their best years are behind them, and while they might still be able to contribute regularly, it’s rare. For that reason, guys like Tomas Plekanec, Jiri Hudler, Brad Richards, and Jaromir Jagr won’t be on this list. Someone needs to sign Jagr though, because he can probably play until he’s 50, especially if he’s gets the mullet flowing.

This list will focus on players who have some years left in their career, some tread left on those tires. If any of these players were signed to a five year deal, they would likely be able to play out the length of the contract.

Finally, it’s safe to assume some of them won’t make it to July 1st because their current teams will lock them down before then, but a guy can dream, right?

17 Luke Schenn

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

16 Justin Abdelkader

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

15 Sam Gagner

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

14 James Reimer

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

13 Andrew Ladd

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

12 Mikkel Boedker

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports


10 Kyle Okposo

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

9 David Perron

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

8 Milan Lucic

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


6 Kris Russell

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

5 Eric Staal

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

4 Dustin Byfuglien

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

3 Keith Yandle

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

2 Anze Kopitar

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

1 Steven Stamkos

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

He’ll be 26 years old when the season ends, he’s already won the Maurice Richard Trophy twice and should be among the league leaders every year he’s healthy. So far this season, he has 6 goals in 14 games. Going into the 2015-16 season, the Lightning are right up against the cap, and Stamkos will get a raise from his current average salary of $7.5M. There have been crazy rumours that Stamkos wants to sign with his hometown team, but I imagine Lightning general manager, Steve Yzerman, will do whatever it takes to keep Stamkos in Tampa.

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Top 15 Upcoming NHL Free Agents Who Will Cash In Next Summer