Saturday, June 14, 2014

2015 NHL Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) Defensemen

The 2015 NHL unrestricted free agent class of defensemen may not be considered deep, but there are some key blueliners who will be highly sought after following the 2014-15 NHL season.

Tops on the list of acquisition targets might be the Washington Capitals' Mike Green.  The native of Calgary, Alberta has spent his entire NHL career to-date with the team from the U.S. capital.  Green will be of most value to a team looking to a defenseman who can lead the power play and provide an offensive burst.  


Green will be coming off of a three-year deal worth a total of $18.25 million when he is eligible for free agency.

Paul Martin is another key NHL defenseman who will become available in July of 2015, if not re-signed earlier by the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The well-rounded d-man who began his NHL career in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils will be highly sought after by a team looking to bolster their blue line with a bit of offensive spark.  Martin's current deal is $25 million over five years.  His next contract will most likely be for a shorter duration, but at about the same AAV.

The New York Rangers will need to come to terms with defenseman Marc Staal prior to July of 2015, or risk losing the big blueliner to free agency.  Although he has had some struggles with injuries (notably concussion), he has battled to prove that he can play defense among the best in the league.  Staal will be 28 years old when his free agent eligibility arises, and he'll be coming off of a 5-year, $19.875 million contract.  It's been made clear by Staal that he would like to address his contract over the 2014 summer, as quoted by Larry Brooks in the New York Daily News:
“For me, the contract situation is definitely something I would like to take care of over the summer. That’s the goal, but that also has to be the way management looks at it, too, in order to get it done.”

Scoring a Stanley Cup clinching goal would seem to be a factor in the re-signing of young defenseman Alec Martinez after the 2014-15 campaign, for the Los Angeles Kings.  Martinez, who has proven the value of his shot from the point, will be 27 when he is eligible for free agency.  With his best NHL season, statistically, having happened in 2013-14, it's not hard to imagine a significant pay increase coming for Martinez starting in 2015-16.



One of the "not-so-young" d-men that will be staring down free agency is the Anaheim Ducks' Sheldon Souray.  The skilled veteran will be closing out a 3-year $11 million deal after the 2014-15 NHL season concludes, when he will be 38 years of age.  If Souray is healthy and still has the desire to play, there will be several teams courting him and his big shot from the point.

Of the defensemen coming off of more expensive contract terms, Lubomir Visnovsky is near the head of the list.  Visnovsky, who will like Souray, be 38 years old when he is eligible for free agency, will be concluding a 2-year, $9.5 million contract.  The quick power-play quarterback has averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per game for the Islanders the past two seasons.  Although Visnovsky appeared in limited games due to concussion issues, with his offensive skill on the point, it wouldn't be surprising to see Visnovsky back in the blue and orange for 2015-16.

To see the full list of UFA defensemen for 2015, head over to capgeek.com.










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