NHL Free Agent Rankings: Best Available Players in 2024

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Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) in the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024, in Denver.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Michael DeRosa @ Feb 22, 2024, 3:13 PM

Although superstar winger William Nylander has officially been extended by the Maple Leafs, the 2024 NHL Free Agent class has some notable names for teams to sign.

Because of this, let’s rank the top 20 pending free agents for 2024.

NHL Free Agent Rankings

RankPlayerTeamLast Week
1Sam ReinhartPanthers1
2Jake GuentzelPenguins2
3Matt DucheneStars4
4Steven StamkosLightning3
5Noah HanifinFlames5
6Patrick KaneRed Wings8
7Joe PavelskiStars6
8Jonathan MarchessaultGolden Knights7
9Vladimir TarasenkoSenators10
10Sean MonahanJets11
11Elias LindholmCanucks12
12Tyler ToffoliDevils9
13James van RiemsdykBruins13
14Shayne GostisbehereHurricanes14
15Adam HenriqueDucks15
16Brandon MontourPanthers20
17Brady SkjeiHurricanes17
18Chandler StephensonGolden Knights18
19Daniel SprongRed Wings19
20Teuvo TeravainenHurricanesNR

1. Sam Reinhart – Panthers 

With William Nylander off the board, Sam Reinhart is now the top pending UFA. In 56 games, he has 39 goals and 67 points. He is playing like a superstar, and his next contract will absolutely reflect that. 

2. Jake Guentzel – Penguins 

Jake Guentzel is another star winger who will generate a ton of attention this upcoming summer. In 50 games this campaign, he has 22 goals and 52 points. With numbers like these, a long-term deal is in his future. But will it be with the Penguins?

3. Matt Duchene – Stars 

After being bought out by the Predators last summer, Matt Duchene has been excellent for the Stars. In 55 games, he has 22 goals, 55 points, and a plus-16 rating. He also has been dominating as of late, posting nine points over his last five games. Teams looking for a top-six center will be calling. 

4. Steven Stamkos – Lightning

Steven Stamkos may be 34 years old, but he is still an elite NHL forward at this stage of his career. He is once again one of the top Lightning players this campaign, posting 23 goals and 50 points in 54 games. Teams looking for a star center this offseason will be calling, but the Lightning’s hope is to get him signed after the season. 

5. Noah Hanifin – Flames 

Noah Hanifin is the top defenseman from the 2024 free-agency class. He is a top-pairing defenseman who plays a steady defensive game and chips in offensively. He is also only 27 years old, so he has many seasons left in his prime and could get a seven-year deal. However, a trade is expected to come first, as it has been established that he does not plan to re-sign with Calgary. 

6. Patrick Kane – Red Wings

Patrick Kane is back from injury, and boy, are the Red Wings happy about that. He has been on absolute fire as of late, as he has seven points over in five games since returning. With this hot streak, he now has nine goals and 23 points in 24 games. He is showing that he is still a star, and he should get a nice raise this offseason because of it.  

7. Joe Pavelski – Stars 

While Joe Pavelski is 39 years old, he continues to escape Father Time and remains one of the top forwards in the sport. In 57 games this season, he has 19 goals and 47 points. If he hits the market, contenders will be lining up to sign him to a one-year pact. However, given how well he fits in with Dallas, they certainly should be trying to keep him around. 

8. Jonathan Marchessault – Golden Knights 

Jonathan Marchessault is having a solid season after winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2023. He is a clutch scorer who may price himself out of Vegas, as he has 28 goals and 44 points in 56 games this campaign. Overall, he is a player with 40-goal potential, and teams needing a top-six winger are surely going to target him if he hits the market.

9. Vladimir Tarasenko – Senators

Vladimir Tarasenko is another solid top-six winger who could hit the market this summer. He is having a strong season with the Senators, so he should land himself a nice payday in free agency. When playing at his best, he is still a star. However, before hitting free agency, a trade out of Ottawa will likely occur first. 

10. Sean Monahan – Jets

Sean Monahan is certainly feeling it since being traded to the Jets, as he has five goals in seven games. Overall, he has shown that he can still be a very good top-six forward, and he will be getting paid handsomely this summer because of it.

11.  Elias Lindholm – Canucks

Elias Lindholm is another player performing well after being traded. In nine games with the Canucks, he has four goals and six points. When noting that he is a top-six center who plays an excellent two-way game, he will land a big contract this offseason.

12. Tyler Toffoli – Devils  

Tyler Toffoli is another impactful top-six forward who has an expiring contract. If he hits the market this summer, he will get a lot of attention, as he is a consistent 30-goal threat.

13. James van Riemsdyk – Bruins 

James van Riemsdyk has been a steal for the Bruins this season. The veteran winger has 11 goals and 37 points in 53 games and should get a big raise this summer. Teams looking for experience and a net-front presence on their power play would be wise to target JVR. 

14. Shayne Gostisbehere – Red Wings 

Shayne Gostisbehere is the top offensive defenseman who could hit free agency next summer. Teams in need of a quarterback on the power play will target him if available, as he has seven goals and 33 points in 54 games this season. 

15. Adam Henrique – Ducks 

On a bad Ducks team, Adam Henrique has been on absolute fire this season. In 55 games, the 33-year-old center has 16 goals along with 36 points. Because of it, he should be able to get a multi-year pact this offseason. 

16. Brandon Montour – Panthers 

Brandon Montour is the top right-shot defenseman in the 2024 free-agency class. He is also finally starting to heat up, as he has six points over his last four games. He is also still only 29 years old, so he should be getting a nice long-term deal this offseason. 

17. Brady Skjei – Hurricanes 

Brady Skjei is an underrated top-four defenseman who is quietly having an excellent season with the Hurricanes. In 55 games, he has seven goals and 30 points. When noting that he kills penalties and works on the power play, he will be a popular target if he hits the market.

18. Chandler Stephenson – Golden Knights

Chandler Stephenson is another strong two-way center who could hit the market this summer. He has become a big part of Vegas’ core, as he fits on both special team units and is a consistent 65-point threat. 

19. Daniel Sprong – Red Wings

Daniel Sprong is having an excellent for the Red Wings this season. In 55 games, he has 15 goals and 35 points. He is producing like a top-six forward, and several teams will target him this summer if he hits the market.

20. Teuvo Teravainen – Hurricanes 

Teuvo Teravainen is another pending UFA forward who should generate a good amount of interest this summer if he hits the market. He is quietly having another strong season for the Hurricanes, posting 17 goals and 36 points in 55 games thus far. 

When Does 2024 NHL Free Agency Start?

The 2024 NHL Free Agency period starts on Monday, July 1, 2024. At 12 p.m. ET, free agents will be permitted to sign contracts with interested clubs. 

Who’s the Best NHL Free Agent in 2024?

With William Nylander signing an extension with the Maple Leafs, Sam Reinhart is now the NHL’s top free agent for 2024. He has been on a real tear this season and producing like a superstar, so he is setting himself up for a massive contract this summer.

What’s the 2023-24 NHL Salary Cap?

The NHL salary cap for the 2023-24 season is $83.5 million. It jumped up by just $1 million from the 2022-23 season, but we are expected to see a more notable increase in 2024-25.

What’s the 2024-25 NHL Salary Cap?

While not set in stone, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently shared that the salary cap is expected to go up to $87.7 million for the 2024-25 season. This would be great news, as teams would be gaining more than $4 million of cap space. 

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