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NHL free agency update: Kane highlights available veteran talent

As the NHL offseason progresses, there are still plenty of veteran players without home teams for the upcoming 2023/2024 season. 

A couple of chips have fallen in the past week as Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement from the NHL and Vladimir Tarasenko signed a one-year deal with the Senators. 

Although remaining free agents are not exactly youthful, there are decades worth of experience as well as a few Stanley Cup winners that still have gas in the tank and are looking for the next, perhaps final, short-term contract.

There may be more tenured veterans in addition to Bergeron that are contemplating retirement, and could yet decide to hang up the skates. 

Until we know for sure, all we can do is speculate. 

There are plenty of teams that could use a low-risk, high-reward veteran as a complementary piece to the core of a competitive team. 

Here are a few that stand out:

Patrick Kane

Kane has been battling injuries for the better part of the past season. 

Following a hip surgery in June, his agent advised ESPN that he is not expected to sign a contract with an NHL team prior to the season. 

This could be a situation where a contending team signs Kane to a “prove it” deal during the season that leads to a larger, possibly final contract in his storied career. 

Jonathan Toews

Fellow dynasty Blackhawk and Chicago Captain Jonathan Toews reportedly is undecided about his future. 

He has missed significant time since COVID-19. 

But if Toews deems himself healthy enough, he instantly gives any team in hockey a proven, successful leader both on and off the ice. 

His game is not as dominant as it used to be, but for the role he would play, it does not need to be. 

Matt Dumba

Sticking with the theme of Central Division stalwarts, former Minnesota Wild Matt Dumba is just 28 years old and already is a 10-year veteran. 

All 10 seasons have been spent with the Wild but it may be time for a change of scenery. 

Dumba is still young enough and hungry enough to win. 

He has a high ceiling offensively, but his effectiveness in the defensive zone has been more steady. 

Dumba would be a great addition at the right price for a team needing to bolster their blue line. 

David Krejci

The Bruins and Krejci had a great reunion in 2022/2023 but ultimately the team was bounced in the first round of the playoffs after a historically great season. 

The writing is on the wall for him to follow Bergeron’s lead and officially retire. 

If Krejci indeed returns for next season, it will likely be back with the Bruins looking to make a run at some unfinished business. 

Neither decision would be surprising, but Krejci proved this season that he still has gas in the tank and would be a very reliable depth center to a contending team. 

Paul Stastny

After scoring just 22 points in 73 regular season games, Paul Stastny contributed four goals in 15 playoff games for the Hurricanes. 

That came just a year off from a 21-goal season in Winnipeg in the 2021/2022 season. 

There appears to be a run or two remaining in this long-time veteran. 

Stastny would be a great, two-way, number 3 or 4 center on a team that is up against the cap looking for depth up the middle. 

Martin Jones

There have been several evolutions in the game of hockey over the past couple of decades. 

One such evolution of the game is goalie tandems becoming more commonplace in the NHL as opposed to the workhorses of the pre-2000’s that would start north of 70 games per season. 

Martin Jones, at a reasonably young 33 years old, is good enough to compete for a starting job in the NHL. 

If Jones and his agent are willing, he would be a fantastic 1-B goaltender as part of a tandem of a competitive team. 

With his tenure and experience, Martin Jones would be a great mentor to a younger goalie while performing well himself.

Plenty more still out there

Look for more news to come out of the NHL offseason in the next month as teams begin gearing up for preseason play. 

Here are more names to keep an eye on as summer progresses:

Eric Staal 
Paul Byron 
Jonathan Bernier 
Tomas Tatar 
Zach Parise 
Cory Schneider 
Jaroslav Halak 
Derick Brassard 
Joonas Donskoi 
Brian Elliott 
Zach Aston-Reese 
Jordie Benn 
Wayne Simmonds 
Phil Kessel 
Carl Hagelin 
Sam Gagner

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