The list always looks better in November. That’s a given. When looking ahead to the summer unrestricted free-agent class, it always thins out the closer we get to July 1.
But still, there is serious star power at the top right now that wouldn’t have been there in the past. A stagnating salary cap has made teams rethink how much money they want to commit long-term. Deals like the Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane contracts along with a contract like Ryan Kesler's are great for the players to get higher comparable contracts. But teams are reluctant to match those contracts, leaving players unsigned.
“Those are good for driving up the price, but not good for getting deals done,” said one agent Monday.
It makes the first edition of our annual top 25 unrestricted free-agent list stronger than years past, and there’s a shot it remains fairly strong when summer arrives.
“There might be more names on this list later in the season than you think,” said the agent.
Here’s a look at the Top 25 2016 UFAs with as much up-to-date information on contract talks as possible. Plus, a bonus: Former NHL team executive Frank Provenzano -- now CEO of FansEye, a fan-based player evaluation app -- provides projected price tags for each free agent.