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Top 10 Unrestricted Free Agents Yet to Sign Contracts in 2021

Approximately 243 hockey players have signed contracts worth $988,121,625 in the first five days of the 2021 NHL free agents season. However, some significant UFA players are yet to sign their contracts for the 2021-22 NHL season.

According to experts, managers need to bargain harder for these players, and on the other hand, the unrestricted NHL players need to reduce their asking price for them to be signed.

We round up the best players on this list that remained after the July 2021 NHL signing frenzy. The following players can increase a team’s depth, and more importantly, some can make it to the first team.

  1. Tuukka Rask

The 34-year old is one of the best NHL UFA goalies in 2021 and has a salary cap hit of $7 million. However, he is not fully fit at the moment because he had hip surgery in July. According to reports, he can be fully fit in January or February next year.

Notably, the player does not want to go anywhere but his former team, the Boston Bruins.

“At this point of my life and my career, I don’t see any reason to go anywhere else, especially with the health I’m looking at now and a recovery time of five or six months. Hopefully it works out that I recover well, and we can talk about contracts when the time is right for that.” he said.

According to the general manager, Don Sweeney, Tuuka needs to regain his fitness after the surgery. Sweeney, who just signed Ullmak on a free agency, stated that the team always has its doors open for Tuuka.

  1. Kyle Palmieri

Kyle is aged 30 years and plays as a left-wing/right-wing. Currently, he is worth $4.65 million according to the 2020-2021 salary cap hit.

Some reporters believe that Palmieri is likely to stay with the New York Islanders, and that he has agreed to a long-term deal. However, the general manager Lou Lamoriello is yet to announce the agreement.

  1. Casey cizikas

Cizikaz plays at the central position and is 30 years old. He is worth $3.35 million according to the 2020-21 salary cap hit.

The star has drawn interest from major clubs such as Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, and Seattle Kraken. Although the player is said to have signed a deal to remain at the NY Islanders, the announcement is yet to be made public.

Additionally, some reports speculate that the Islanders GM will sign Zach Parise during this year’s NHL Unrestricted Free Agent season because he has a more reasonable price.

  1. Jason Demers

At the age of 33, Jason is one of the best 2021 NHL UFA defensemen. Although Jason has only made four assists this season, he is still playing more than 17 minutes and making a significant impact despite being in the D-zone. Some managers are still skeptical about his $4.5 million prices but don’t be surprised when you hear he has been signed.

  1. Nikita Gusev

The 29-year old can play on both the right and the left wing, and according to the 2020-21 salary cap hit, he is worth $1 million. Gusev became notable in 2010-20 after leaving the Kontinental Hockey League, where he had scored 13 goals and made 44 points in 66 matches.

During the 2021 Russian campaign, Gusev could not make it to either the New Jersey or the Florida teams. However, he is only 29 years meaning he still has some playing time left before retirement. So, it’s only a matter of time before we know whether he will play in the NHL or KHL.

  1. Travis Zajac

Travis is a 36-year old Central position player with a salary cap hit of $.75 million. According to 2021 NHL UFA rumors, Zajac may be returning to the Islanders like the rest of the Islanders veterans.

In addition, experts believe that Zajac is an experienced penalty taker who can still play in the offense. However, fans are still waiting to see what the future holds for him.

  1. Sami Vatanen

At the age of 30, Vatanen is one of the best defenders at the 2021 NHL free agent prediction. The player has a salary cap hit of $2 million and can still play in the offense.

The defenseman has played for major teams such as the New Jersey in the past. If he gets signed, Sami will resurrect his long-run career in the 2021 NHL season.

  1. Zdeno Chara

The 44-year old veteran is yet to retire. Chara is among the tallest and the oldest defenders in the NHL, and it is not yet clear whether his career is still active or not. According to his agent, Chara is in Slovakia with his family. Additionally, in a zoom call, Chara stated that he was unsure if he would play a 24th season.

He is worth $795,000 according to the 2020-21 salary cap hit.

  1. Ryan Donato

At the age of 25, Donato is yet to find a team. Donato can play at either the center or the left wing. Currently, the player is worth $1.9 million according to salary cap hit and has failed to get playing time in 2021 after the San Jose Sharks dropped him in 2021.

  1. Alex Galchenyuk

The 27-year old center/winger is worth $1.05 million in terms of salary cap hit. In the past, the player has shown quality play alongside John Tavares in Toronto. However, Alex is currently weighing his options since Toronto is yet to announce his return publicly.

With the above NHL free agency 2021 list, General Managers can strengthen their team. Some of the players above belong to the first team, while others are suitable to increase a team’s depth.

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