- NHL free agency opens on Monday, July 1st
- Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, and Joe Pavelski are the biggest names available
- See which teams are favored to land each player
The NHL’s free agency period opens on Monday, July 1st, and the crop of UFA’s is one of the most salivating in recent years.
Hitting the open market at midnight are three members of the Columbus Blue Jacket team that just shocked the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs:
- two-time Vezina-winning goalie Sergei Bobrovsky,
- Russian sniper Artemi Panarin, who has 151 points in 162 career games, and
- seven-time 20-goal scorer Matt Duchene
They are joined by Anders Lee of the Islanders, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, and Nashville deadline acquisition Wayne Simmons to form something of a “big six” in the 2019 FA market.
The number-crunchers at sportsbooks have set odds on where each of the six will be come game one of the 2019-20 season. The table below shows the top-three favorites to sign each player, along with the latest odds for the teams.
Favorites to Sign 2019 NHL Free Agents
|Free Agent||Favorite to Sign||Second-Favorite||Third-Favorite|
|Sergei Bobrovsky (G)||Panthers (-280)||Islanders (+425)||Avalanche (+900)|
|Matt Duchene (F)||Predators (-350)||Canadiens (+500)||Blue Jackets (+800)|
|Anders Lee (F)||Islanders (+105)||Blackhawks (+115)||Wild (+1000)|
|Artemi Panarin (F)||Panthers (-115)||Rangers (+215)||Avalanche (+600)|
|Joe Pavelski (F)||Sharks (-180)||Stars (+300)||Lightning (+425)|
|Wayne Simmonds (F)||Wild (+160)||Canadiens (+500)||Flyers (+550)|
*Odds as of Jun 28, 2019.
There are odds-on favorites (meaning shorter than even-money) to sign four of the six. The biggest chalk on the board is the Predators signing Matt Duchene.
The most wide-open prop is Wayne Simmonds, with no team shorter than +160 (38.5% probability) to sign the 30-year-old power forward.
My colleagues have already explored the best bets for all six players:
- Ben Abel looked into Bobrovsky’s most-likely landing spot.
- Bob Duff wrote about where Matt Duchene is going to sign for 2019-20.
- Dave Golokhov analyzed which team is going to sign Artemi Panarin.
- Daniel Coyle wrote about who will land Anders Lee.
- Cole Shelton took on Wayne Simmonds’ next team.
- Michael Harrison looked at the chances Joe Pavelski actually leaves the Sharks.
The following table sets out some key facts and figures for the impending FAs, including their age and the details of their last contract.
Elite 2019 Free Agent Facts & Figures
|Free Agent||Age (as of Oct. 3, 2019)||Last Contract||Key Statistic|
|Sergei Bobrovsky (G)||31||4 years, $29.7 M||GAA has dipped each of last three seasons: 931 to .921 to .913|
|Matt Duchene (F)||28||5 years, $30 M||Career-high 31 G & 70 P last year, plus 10 P in 10 playoff games|
|Anders Lee (F)||29||4 years, $15 M||Fell from 40 G to 28 G last year, but had career-best +20 +/-|
|Artemi Panarin (F)||27||2 years, $12 M||Career-high 87 P in 79 GP last year with an elite 54.8 CF%|
|Joe Pavelski (F)||35||5 years, $30 M||38 G last year, but on 20.2 SH%, much higher than his 12.2% career avg.|
|Wayne Simmonds (F)||31||6 years, $23.85 M||Scored just one goal in 19 games after trade to Nashville|
While some of the available “stars” — specifically Panarin and Duchene — are arguably just entering their best years, the clock is ticking on 35-year-old Joe Pavelski and 31-year-old Wayne Simmonds.
Simmonds, in particular, saw his production fall off cliff last year. After averaging 28.8 goals per season in the previous five years, he scored just 17 last year, and just one in 19 total games for Nashville after the deadline (including playoffs).
As these players and others come off the market, stay tuned to SBD’s NHL page for ongoing analysis of the transactions and the latest 2019 Stanley Cup odds.
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