The free agent window opened on July 1st giving teams less than five days to re-sign their unrestricted free agents before they hit the open market. Some UFA’s have already been signed by their respective teams including, Andrei Markov, Jaroslav Halak and Kimmo Timonen. Teams will have to be cautious while they fight over high priority acquisitions but try not to over pay in terms of both contract years and salary. 

- Thomas Vanek

Vanek was traded twice this year and played in Buffalo, Long Island, and Montreal. He is extremely consistent and has netted over 25 goals in 7 of his 9 seasons 8 of 9 seasons if you include the shortened 2012-2013 season, 20 goals in 38 games in which he was on pace for 40+ goals. As of right now it looks like Vanek would like to become a free agent and test out the market. He will command upwards of 7 million dollars per year and a 7 year contract. Although he has been consistent there is no telling how a big contract like that can affect a team’s salary cap in the future. Examples of all stars that have been rewarded with big contracts include the likes of Dany Heatley and Brad Richards. It is rumoured that Minnesota will go after Vanek who played for the University of Minnesota.  

- Marian Gaborik

Gaborik has had some trouble in the past fitting in with the New York Rangers before being traded to Columbus and then LA at this years trade deadline. He only played in 41 games this year due to injury but he is a skilled top end forward who scores goals in bunches. He was the most productive goal scorer in this years playoffs with 14 goals in 26 games. It is expected that the Kings will resign Gaborik. A three year contract averaging 5 to 6 million per year is his worth. 

- Paul Stastny

Stastny is a good two way center. He had 25 goals and 35 assists in 71 games this year for the Avalanche. He is strong in the face-off circle with a face-off percentage of 54.1%. He led the Avs in that category this season. There has been a lot of rumors about him being traded in the last year. The Avalanche are loaded up front with talent and could walk away from contract talks if Stastny’s price tag is too rich for the team. He is expected to earn upwards of 6 million per year with a contract length of at least 4 and upwards of 6 years.  

- Jarome Iginla

Yes, Iginla is considered to be old at age 36 but he had a great season for the Boston Bruins. He had 30 goals and 31 assists in 78 games for the Bruins. His salary was 6 million last year but this is where it gets interesting. His contract included 4.2 million in player bonuses so his cap hit for the Bruins was only 1.8 million. Provided a team has the money to offer a similar contract Iginla can be an absolute steal for a team that is close to the cap and wants to add scoring and leadership.  
Ryan Callahan

The former New York Ranger captain was traded to Tampa Bay at the trade deadline after contract talks stalled. It was reported that he was seeking a 8 year deal at 7.5 million per season. The Rangers reportedly offered 6 years at 6 million per season, which is a lot closer to his value. He will get that kind of value in the open market. Callahan is gritty, tough and a hard worker. He can play special teams and isn’t afraid to block shots. He will have to do a better job of staying healthy though, he has never played a full 82 game season.  

- Matt Niskanen

Niskanen saw a lot more ice time this season due to lengthy injuries to Paul Martin and Kris Letang. He played extremely well and will be due for a raise from the 2.5 million he made last season. He set career highs with 10 goals, 36 assists and 46 points. The Penguins acquired Niskanen along with James Neal for Alex Goligoski in 2011. Niskanen should be able to earn around 4 million per season on the open market. It is unclear as to whether or not the Penguins will resign him as Oli Maata could fill his place. Along with a potentially healthier season next year, the blue line in Pittsburgh may be getting a little crowded.  

- Jonas Hiller

Hiller is easily the best goalie available. Yes, even better than Ryan Miller. He played in 50 games this season and had a record of 29-13-7. He earned 4.5 million last season and is worth around 5.5 million per season in the open market. The Ducks have made it clear that they will not re-sign Hiller and stick with their young tandem of John Gibson and Frederik Andersen. Hiller had a 2.36 GAA and a .913 SV%. He has issues with vertigo in the past year but it seems those issues are behind him for now. Not many teams in contention are looking for a starting goalie, and Hiller likely wants to go to a contender. He may take a pay cut to play for a playoff team.  

- Matt Moulson

Moulson played for three teams this season, the Islanders, Sabres and Wild. He is a goal scorer and has hit the 30 goal mark in 3 of his 5 seasons with the Islanders. He did not seem to be the fit Minnesota was hoping for in the playoffs, so it is unlikely that they re-sign him. Moulson had 23 goals and 28 assists this season in 75 games. He is a good top six forward who will likely fit in on someone’s second line. He is expected to get a slight raise from the 3.8 million he made last season.  

- Brad Richards

Richards was bought out by the New York Rangers. Richards was given a 9 year, 58.5 million dollar contract in the summer of 2011. The Rangers opted to buyout the last 6 years of his contract. This is an extreme example of how signing unrestricted free agents to big money and long term can be detrimental to a team. This was an expensive mistake for the Rangers and serves as a reminder to every general manager to be cautious when making signings. Richards did not have a horrible season, he totalled 20 goals and 31 points. He is still serviceable and will likely join a team that needs depth at center. Possible landing spots include Anaheim and Chicago His contract will look quite similar to Vincent Lecavalier’s contract he signed with Philadelphia after being bought out by Tampa Bay. He will earn around 4.5 million per season. 

- Mike Cammalleri

Cammalleri is one of the most underrated players available. He had 26 goals and 19 points in 63 gamesthis season, oh and did I forget to mention he played for the Flames?! Not a bad season for not having the best supporting cast. It is unknown as to whether or not general manager Brad Treliving will attempt to resign Cammalleri although it is unlikely that he will be valued at the 6 million dollar annual average salary his last contact was worth.