Stanley Cup rings have a handful of players set up for big paydays when NHL free agency opens Saturday.
Recent champions Alex Killorn and J.T. Compher and three-time winner Patrick Kane are among the players available in the free agent market, which lost a top option Wednesday when Ivan Barbashev re-signed with Vegas.
The 2023 free agent class includes a handful of intriguing veteran goaltenders and not a lot of top-tier defensemen.
Here’s a look at the top free agents by position:
Coming off setting career highs with 27 goals, 37 assists and 64 points, Killorn could get the highest salary of any player who reaches unrestricted free agency. He helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Cup back to back in 2020 and ’21 and reach the final in 2022, playing a key role during each run.
Killorn also turns 34 before opening night and plays a heavy style of game. Still, he’s a proven winner, much like former teammate Ondrej Palat, who cashed in last summer with a $30 million, five-year contract.
The Avalanche would love to bring back Compher, a versatile 28-year-old forward who can play center and wing and is coming off a career year with 52 points. They have some extra cap space to use because captain Gabriel Landeskog will likely spend the entire season on long-term injured reserve following knee cartilage replacement surgery.
Plus, Colorado traded restricted free agent forward Alex Newhook to Montreal on Tuesday, so perhaps there is a road back for Compher. If not, he’ll be well compensated on the open market.
The second-most prolific scorer among U.S.-born players is the most accomplished star available. He has won the Cup three times with Chicago.
But Kane is 34 and could miss several months recovering from hip resurfacing surgery, which only Washington’s Nick Backstrom and one other player have come back from. Kane figures to be the perfect veteran addition for a growing team ready to take that next step.
A longtime teammate of Kane’s in Chicago, Toews and the Blackhawks are parting ways after 15 seasons. Now 35, Toews could be a depth center helping a contending team chase a championship.
Pittsburgh could be a fit, if Toews and Sidney Crosby want to play together in the NHL after winning two Olympic gold medals together for Canada.
Another Cup winner (from the Capitals in 2018), Orlov made himself some real money with an impressive couple of months in Boston following a trade from Washington. After 19 points in 43 games with the Capitals, Orlov had 17 in 23 the remainder of the regular season with the Bruins.
He’s soon to be 32, so he might not get the maximum eight-year deal. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility to imagine $36 million for Orlov over six seasons.
The 31-year-old Swede wasn’t supposed to be a free agent for four more summers. Then the Vancouver Canucks bought him out and put an intriguing player into the pool.
Ekman-Larsson has not been at his best in recent years, but the right opportunity could allow him to recapture some of his past success.
On the verge of turning 33, Andersen has taken three different organizations to the playoffs over his lengthy career. He was good for Carolina this past spring, going 5-3 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.
Andersen could return to the Hurricanes, but they may be in the market for a change in net. Pyotr Kochetkov is 24 and the future. Andersen can still help a contender win.
An All-Star in 2022 with Pittsburgh, Jarry is just 28 and might still have the potential to be an above-average NHL starter. The Penguins are firmly in win-now mode with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang under contract, so they might swing big for a goalie via trade.
Jarry is younger than Andersen and Antti Raanta and may be in line for a nice payday elsewhere.