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NHL free agency 2021 preview: Team needs, trade targets, cap space, key dates

www.espn.com
7 min read
easy
Here's a rundown of every team's outlook, including players hitting free agency, cap space, and signings and trades each team should make.
After 16 months of uncertainty, the hockey world is beginning to return to some sense of normalcy as the free-agent market ahead of the 2021-22 NHL season is set to open on Wednesday. Of course, there's been nothing too normal about this summer thus far:

In an effort to get fans of every team properly prepared for the days ahead, here's a guide to free agency for all 32 teams. That includes a list of the teams' pending unrestricted and restricted free agents, cap space, and our analysis on what they should do in the coming months to put themselves in the best position to achieve their goals in 2021-22; whether that's contending for a Cup, developing the next wave of young players, or getting in position for the No. 1 draft pick.

Note: Advanced statistics from Natural Stat Trick and Evolving Hockey. Cap and contract information from CapFriendly. Emily Kaplan covered the Western Conference teams, and Greg Wyshynski covered the Eastern Conference clubs.

Jump to a team:

ANA | ARI | BOS | BUF

CGY | CAR | CHI | COL

CBJ | DAL | DET | EDM

FLA | LA | MIN | MTL

NSH | NJ | NYI | NYR

OTT | PHI | PIT | SJ

SEA | STL | TB | TOR

VAN | VGS | WSH | WPG

Key players hitting UFA: C Ryan Getzlaf, C David Backes, RW Carter Rowney, D Andy Welinski

Key players hitting RFA: C Max Comtois, LW Max Jones, C Sam Steel, LW Danton Heinen, C Isac Lundestrom

Cap space: $22,930,000

What they should do: The Ducks have teased a youth movement, but have been hamstrung by veteran contracts. Now is the time to commit. Offense is the priority for a team that had the fewest goals (124) and weakest power play (8.9%) in the league last season. Take care of the RFAs -- especially Comtois, Jones, Lundestrom and Steel -- then see what other young forwards can help the team win, not necessarily this season, but a few seasons down the road.

Bringing in Jack Eichel isn't a terrible idea, especially since Anaheim clears cap space with Backes and Ryan Miller's retirements. Eichel would give the…
Emily Kaplan, Greg Wyshynski
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