The NHL could be less than 12 hours away from seeing the Stanley Cup hoisted in Edmonton, as the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars get set to face off in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday evening.
In less than two weeks, though, the league will be a flurry of activity for an entirely different reason — free agency, which is set to begin on October 9th.
A number of names are set to hit the market, but perhaps one of the most intriguing is pending free agent Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins. Krug, who went undrafted before signing with Boston in 2012, is reportedly on the move to give a team a chance to bargain with him before he hits the open market — where he’ll command a fairly handsome price as a crafty, offensive-minded defender with plenty of playoff experience for a top team in the East:
Look for the Bruins to trade Torey Krug's rights tomorrow to a team looking for exclusive negotiations before UFA opens on 10/9. Colorado, Florida, Vegas, and Detroit are among the suitors.— Rear Admiral (@RearAdBsBlog) September 27, 2020
He’s far from the only player who will be up for grabs in early October. With a flat cap, the names floating around are plentiful this time around:
Bobby Ryan, whose resurgence this past year following his rehabilitation stint and recovery from substance abuse, has been bought out by the Ottawa Senators. Although he struggled to meet the demands of the contract he signed in Ottawa, there’s still likely plenty of life left in his career — and he could find a quality home somewhere like Colorado if he’s willing to take a short-term deal. [Mile High Hockey]
I was able to connect with Bobby Ryan after today’s news.— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) September 25, 2020
He wanted me to pass along the following statement to the fans here in Ottawa: pic.twitter.com/59YcuLl2mu
Another Ottawa player who’s going to be out on the market is Mark Borowiecki, whom the Senators have decided not to bring back for the upcoming season. [Ottawa Sun]
Borowiecki is a veteran presence who likely won’t make as big of a splash as Krug, who remains a marquee option on the market for October 9th. But there’s plenty to be said for the now-former Ottawa blue liner both on and off the ice — where he’s been an outspoken ally for inclusion and progress in hockey for a few years now:
Mark Borowiecki on why he and his wife Tara wanted to appear with Anders Nilsson at the Capital Pride event in support of the LGBTQ community on the weekend. pic.twitter.com/2e0hml4fVN— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) February 12, 2019
Joining those names on the free agent market? Mikko Koivu, the long-time captain of the Minnesota Wild. He’s worn the ‘C’ for Minnesota since 2009, making him one of the longest-running leaders in the league — but Minnesota has confirmed that they won’t be bringing him back, putting the veteran Finn on the market for the first time in his entire career.
At 37, he’s certainly not going to be a player teams entertain as a long-term solution. And he’s still not one hundred percent sure he’ll sign another deal at this point anyway. But with 21 points in 55 games last season, he’s still capable of holding his own at the NHL level, and could be an inexpensive fit somewhere as a cup contender should that be his wish.