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What to Expect from the 2017 NHL Free Agent Class

It's a good time to check in on the 2017 NHL free agent class. There are five elite players who will become unrestricted free agents on July 1st.
2017 nhl free agent

via Last Word on Hockey, by Chris Lizza

The 2017 NHL free agent class is limited in terms of elite talent. As of now, the following five players will become unrestricted free agents come the summer. Here’s a quick preview of the 2017 NHL free agent class.

What to Expect from the 2017 NHL Free Agent Class

Brent Burns

The number one player currently on the 2017 NHL free agent list has to be Brent Burns. Burns is doing everything he can to surpass his production of last season. In 2015-16 Burns had 27 goals and 75 points, good enough 11th in the league in scoring.

This year Burns has six goals and 14 points in his first 15 games. Burns is looking at a monster pay day from someone. When throwing in the fact Burns size of 6’5″, 230 lbs, there’s one great hockey player.

There’s little doubt Burns will be seeking a max deal from either the San Jose Sharks or another NHL club come July 1st. He could be earning P.K. Subban‘s annual number of $9 million dollars.

Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson cannot lose Burns to free agency. One would have expected this contract extension to get done this past summer.

T.J. Oshie

T.J. Oshie is off to a good start this year for the Washington Capitals with six goals and eight points. Oshie lit the lamp 26 times last year and has compiled between 51 and 60 points a season, the last three years.

The American right winger turns 30 in December. With Washington having to lock up Evgeny Kuznetsov among others, Oshie very well could wind up with a different club come July 1st. Oshie should land a long-term deal that pays him at least $6 million annually.

Alexander Radulov

The Montreal Canadiens raised eyebrows this summer when they signed Alexander Radulov. Radulov had issues in his past in the NHL with the Nashville Predators, and spent the past four seasons in the KHL.

So far Montreal has been happy with the play of the 30-year-old Russian right winger. Radulov has three goals and 14 points in his first 16 games and has been a model citizen on and off the ice.

Radulov only signed a one-year deal this past summer, so as of now he will be hitting the free agent market once again in a few months. If he keeps up this level of play he will be very sought after.

Radulov’s stay in Montreal could be a short one as Alex Galchenyuk is a restricted free agent at season’s end and Carey Price becomes a UFA after next season.

Kevin Shattenkirk

Kevin Shattenkirk is off to a fantastic start in 2016-2017. In terms of offensive production, the 27-year-old American defenceman has been a model of consistency. The last three years, Shattenkirk has put either 44 or 45 points every season.

This year the native of New Rochelle, New York already has 12 points in his first 16 games, including three power-play goals. There are a lot of teams looking for blue-line help and Shattenkirk brings an extra dimension with his offensive skills.

The St. Louis Blues had to make some tough salary cap calls this past summer by letting David Backes and Troy Brouwer sign elsewhere. Shattenkirk could be moving on as well due to the cap.

Ben Bishop

Ben Bishop is coming off his best season. Last year Bishop went 35-21-4 with 2.06 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. The soon-to-be 30-year-old netminder has finished as a Vezina Trophy finalist two of the last three seasons.

With Steve Yzerman signing Andrei Vasilevskiy to an extension this past summer and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s cap issues, it’s hard to come up with a scenario that has Bishop staying with the Bolts past this season.

If Vasilevskiy can show the Lightning brass he is ready to take over as a number one goalie for a Stanley Cup contender, Bishop could be traded before this year’s trade deadline.

So far this season Bishop isn’t off to a great start. A record of 5-5-0 with 2.93 goals against average is not what you expect from the 6’7″ goalie. While there are other good goalies who become free agents on July 1st, Bishop is the only elite one.

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