We’re about a quarter way through the NHL season, and while some UFA’s from this summer are letting their teams down, others are enjoying great success and becoming essential commodities to their respective teams. Let’s take a look at the best UFA singings through the quarter point of the 2015-16 campaign.
The Best UFA Signings of the 2015-16 NHL Campaign
The dynamic 24-year-old winger came over from the KHL this summer, agreeing to a two-year entry level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. Since then, he has taken the league by storm, leading all newcomers with 21 points in 19 games and averaging an impressive 2.82 points per 60 minutes. He’s enjoying consistent success playing alongside Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane.
Offered a PTO by the New Jersey Devils late this summer, Ray Shero decided to sign the 10-year veteran to a one-year, $750,000 contract. I don’t think Shero realized he had just signed one of his team’s leading scorers, heck I don’t think anyone did. Stempniak has 15 points in 18 games, playing in New Jersey’s unanticipated productive top-six.
The Sharks decided to pay some pretty hefty money to a 34-year-old Joel Ward this summer. Ward signed his name on the dotted line of a three-year, $9.75 million contract, and so far he is proving to be worth every penny. Ward is one of the Sharks most gratifying players, shooting at an incredible 26.7 percent rate to sit second on the team with eight goals.
Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan essentially replaced a 34-year-old right winger with another 34-year-old right winger, Justin Williams. And as Ward enjoys success in San Jose, Williams is proving that MacLellan made no mistake at all. Williams is on pace for approximately 68 points, which would be his second most productive season, to his 05-06 campaign with the Carolina Hurricanes. All this playing for the most part on the Caps third line.
The seemingly never aging Francois Beauchemin signed a three-year, $13.5 million deal with the Colorado Avalanche within the opening hour of July 1st. So far, it looks like Joe Sakic made a good decision and improved his team’s underwhelming defense core, as Beauchemin is tied for fifth on the team with 10 points in 18 games. He could also be a great mentor for young Avs defenseman Nikita Zadorov, Brandon Gormley and Tyson Barrie.
Tomas Fleischmann was invited to the Montreal Canadiens on a PTO, where he impressed many during camp. General Manager Marc Bergevin made no mistake and signed the seemingly unwanted Fleischmann to a one-year, $750,000 contract. Since then, he’s come to be one of Montreal’s best forwards to start the season, enjoying great success on one of the best third lines the league has to offer, playing alongside David Desharnais and Dale Weise.
P.A. Parenteau, Andrej Sekera, Cody Franson, Michael Frolik and Johnny Oduya.