2015 NHL Free Agency Predictions

The 2015 NHL free-agency period is fast approaching which means it’s time to look at the players who will soon be available for any team to sign.

Though the current pool of available unrestricted free agents isn’t particularly deep, that doesn’t mean there aren’t top talents available once the clock strikes noon on July 1. From goaltending help to a solid veteran forwards, there is something there for every team looking to fill a need as they build towards Stanley Cup contention. But who are the top players available, and where will they sign once their free agent recruitment ends? Let’s take a look.

Mike Green — Defense

Mike Green NHL  (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)
Mike Green (Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)

When healthy, Green has proven to be a very good offensive defenseman. Reaching the 45-point mark in 2014/15 for the fourth time in his NHL career, Green continues to be a source of offensive both on the power play and in even strength situations. That being said, his expected high price tag and injury history likely will keep him from re-signing with the Washington Captials. Nevertheless, there will be no shortage of suitors for the 29-year old.

Old Team: Washington Capitals
New Team: Detroit Red Wings


Justin Williams — Right Wing

Justin Williams (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Justin Williams (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Captain Clutch is going to be hitting the free agent market this season, and will definitely draw some attention from teams looking to add a veteran that will help produce come playoff time. He’s missed one game over the last four seasons, and should provide solid second-line scoring for any team that signs him. The Kings will definitely try to keep him in the mix, but the former Conn Smythe winner is sure to have high offers from other teams.

Old Team: Los Angeles Kings
New Team: Columbus Blue Jackets


Antoine Vermette — Center

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Vermette was one of the most sought after rental players this season, and it was the Chicago Blackhawks who were able to get him from Arizona after Patrick Kane went down injured. Vermette has been in and out of the Chicago lineup since the trade, and only produced three assists in 19 regular season games. The former 20 goal scorer is certain to sign elsewhere during the offseason.

Old Team: Chicago Blackhawks
New Team: Florida Panthers


Paul Martin — Defense

Paul Martin's return improves the Penguins' breakout (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

From an all-around standpoint, Martin is arguably at the top of the bunch in the 2015 free agent class. The 34-year old may be on the back end of his career, but he’s someone who can come in to a younger team and provide leadership will being a serviceable second/third-pairing blue liner.

Old Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
New Team: Edmonton Oilers


Christian Ehrhoff — Defense

(Photo: Andy Martin Jr)
(Photo: Andy Martin Jr)

At 32-years old, Ehrhoff is coming off a one-year deal with the Penguins that saw him play when well when healthy. Unfortunately, he did miss nearly half the season due to injuries which could scare off a few teams. Still, Ehrhoff is a very good puck-moving defenseman with excellent skating ability that would help any team’s power-play unit.

Old Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
New Team: Philadelphia Flyers


Carl Soderberg — Center

(Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
(Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Soderberg is coming off back-to-back 40 point seasons for the Bruins, and is likely to command between $3-$4 million per year on the free agency market. At that price, I just don’t see him being a player the Bruins pay that much too right now. He’s only had two years on NHL experience at age 29, but there will be a team or two willing to pay him a nice salary to come and produce on their second line for the foreseeable future.

Old Team: Boston Bruins
New Team: New Jersey Devils


Michael Frolik — Right Wing

Michael Frolik
(Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

Over the last two seasons, Frolik has been able to regain his offensive production that he had during the late 2000s as a member of the Florida Panthers. He has posted two straight 42-point seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, and is finally hitting the UFA market for the first time in his career. I’ve said in previous articles that I believe Frolik will stay put in Winnipeg, but as the days go by, I start to second guess that prediction. At the end of the day, I think a team swoops in with a $4.5-$5.5 million offer to lure him away.

Old Team: Winnipeg Jets
New Team: Buffalo Sabres


Drew Stafford — Right Wing

Drew Stafford Winnipeg Jets
(Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

After putting up 24 points in 50 games with the Sabres, Stafford scored 19 points in 26 regular season games with Winnipeg after the February 11 trade. Stafford was a welcomed addition to the Jets locker room during the team’s run to its first playoff appearance since returning to the NHL in 2011. Stafford won’t be a top-line player for the Jets, but should provide a very good second-line presence for them as they continue to climb up the Western Conference standings.

Old Team: Winnipeg Jets
New Team: Winnipeg Jets


Antti Niemi — Goaltender

sharks penalty kill
(Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)

In five years with the Sharks, Niemi has posted a respectable .917 save percentage with a 2.40 goals against average. He’s the most experienced NHL goaltender available in this year’s class, and that alone should cause teams to overlook is issues with rebound control and consistency. He’s going to command over $4 million per year on the market, and a team with desperate needs in net will give him that.

Old Team: San Jose Sharks
New Team: Dallas Stars


Devan Dubnyk — Goaltender

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Dubnyk was the story of the year in the NHL. After seeing his career basically be left for dead, Dubnyk was given one last shot with the Minnesota Wild in January. What he did was post a remarkable 1.78 goals against average with a .936 save percentage. Many may be skeptical that he just hit a long run of good luck, but I think the Wild view him as a goaltender they can rely on for a full season.

Old Team: Minnesota Wild
New Team: Minnesota Wild