Dynasty Hockey League

Season 22 – Top 10 UFAs

What a difference a subtle rule change has made to the potential unrestricted free agent pool for Season 22 as the lowering of the UFA age in conjunction with the option to re-sign those players impacted by the rule change will generate the worst class of UFAs during my tenure in the DHL.

1. Zach Parise, Colorado – no disrespect to Parise but this hasn’t been his most productive professional season, yet it should be enough to keep him atop this sad sack free agent class. He will still carry mid-70s ratings and should be one of the few free agents available capable of playing on any teams’ top line. A free agent last season as well and given the depth at talent of last season’s free agent class, Parise was only rated as the 6th best available UFA. I would imagine Colorado will long to move his rights for cash prior to free agency as they likely will not have the necessary financial resources to re-sign Parise given that GMs tend to spend like drunken sailors on shore leave during the free agency period.

Probability of re-signing: <5%

2. Rick Nash, San Jose – another player enduring a below average professional season, Nash will also be an unrestricted free agent in consecutive seasons here in the DHL. Like Parise, Nash will re-rate in the mid-70s and will be a top 6, if not top line option for most teams in the league. As he is only 1 year removed from a 42 goal season, we believe that some GM will up the ante for Nash the Playoff Ghost and we see his chances of re-signing in San Jose as even.

Probability of re-signing: 50%

3. Scott Hartnell, Los Angeles – since getting his nasty-ass hair cut and shaving on a regular basis, Hartnell has continued to carve out a solid two-wat career with a definite edge to his play. He keeps opponents honest and gives his team mates more confidence. As he will be 34 years old heading into next season, we do not anticipate anything beyond a 2 year deal for Hartnell and expect him to be plying his trade for a new team as Los Angeles will likely be allocating their free agent budget elsewhere.

Probability of re-signing: 90%

5. David Backes, New Jersey – great warrior and I really applaud his Athletes for Animals initiative; however, it appears that Backes is the perverbial old dog and we think Bob Barker may have had this one neutered recently. Although he will be only be 32 years old heading into next season, Backes plays a punishing style that will likely age him prematurely. As such, we expect him to get a solid contract but without much term next season. He is a good fit with Jersey but unless the bidding is light on Backes, we doubt he stays in the Garden State.

Probability of re-signing: 75%

8. Shane Doan, Nashville – coming off what is likely his best professional season out of the past four, Doan should cash in on what could possibly be one of his last contracts given he starts next season as a 40 year old. His is the perfect fit for Nashville and either Doan or the #10 listed top UFA should be loyaltied for the Preds.

Probability of re-signing: 25%

9. Justin Williams, Boston – professionally the move to Washington has been perfect for Mr. Game 7 as he has rejuvenated his career at the age of 34. Now he will look to parlay that success into a multi-year DHL contract and should have an abundance of suitors to choose amongst. Given Boston’s financial situation, Williams will line-up elsewhere for Season 22.

Probability of re-signing: <20%

10. Frans Nielsen, Nashville – add Nielsen and pencil him in for 20 goals, 30 assists and solid defensive play. As he is 8 years younger than Doan, he might be better suited to be the loyalty player for the Preds as he still has a chance to grow with the core for beyond the next 2 seasons.

Probability of re-signing: 50%

Best of the rest:

Goaltenders: Jimmy Howard, Mike Smith, Ryan Miller
Defensemen: Niklas Kronwall, Mark Streit, Andrei Markov, Kevin Klein
Centers: Mike Fisher, Antoine Vermette, Travis Zajac
Left Wingers: Jason Chimera, Thomas Vanek, Tomas Fleischmann (although Spike might be active on that front once more)
Right Wingers: Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik, PA Parenteau

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