NHL Free Agency Overview and Futures Markets

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Zach Hyman #18 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Colorado Avalanche. Derek Leung/Getty Images/AFP

With just under 2 months to go before the 2022/23 season kicks off there’s still some work to be done for some teams, but overall, things are starting to fall into place.

Some big free agency signings have happened this off-season, with some players staying at their current franchise and others choosing elsewhere.

Now is a great time to try to get some early value on certain teams who may be under-priced in the outright futures market or even some players in the individual trophy markets, here are our favorite future bets right now, as well as our three favorite free agency signings.

Free Agency Overview

Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames to Columbus Blue Jackets)

Without a doubt, the biggest signing of this free agency was landed by the Columbus Blue Jackets, who got their hands on former Flames winger Gaudreau for a figure of 9.5 million annually over a 7-year contract.

Gaudreau has scored 609 points in 602 NHL games for the Flames, who drafted him in 2011 in the 4th round. He put up a whopping 115 points last season, which was the 2nd highest in the regular season. The 28-year-old from New Jersey said this decision was mainly family-based and not about money.

He is now just an 8-hour drive from New Jersey compared to a 38-hour drive from Calgary (although we do presume, he takes flights) but you get the drift, it’s a lot closer to home.

Gaudreau might have taken a good chunk out of the Blue Jackets’ salary cap, but he is well worth it if he keeps playing to the same level next season. Gaudreau is one of the best playmakers in the NHL right now.

Vincent Trocheck (Carolina Hurricanes to New York Rangers)

Vincent Trocheck is an exciting addition to the NY Rangers roster who can exceed the expectations of the player he is replacing in Andrew Coop, and also with Ryan Strome being a restricted free agent.

Trocheck is set to play alongside Artemi Panarin, this could be a deadly combination, but we have to see how the two gel first.

Trocheck had his best campaign in 2017/18 when he scored 75 points, he has the ability to return that number again. The Rangers are making a Stanley Cup push because they are sacrificing a hefty chunk to sign an aging Trocheck.

Jack Campbell (Toronto Maple Leafs to Edmonton Oilers)

The Oilers badly needed a reliable number 1 goaltender and even though Jack Campbell has only played 135 regular season games over an 8-year period, he has picked up 79 of those in the previous two seasons. He is most definitely a late bloomer at the age of 30.

Campbell got his big payday as he went from 1.7 million at the Maple Leafs to a nice 5 million a year over 5 years, the Oilers put a lot of their eggs in his basket and pray he doesn’t prove to be a costly mistake.

Campbell can be one of the best goaltenders in the league on his night, but he does bring inconsistency. Hopefully the Oilers can fix that issue, and then, they might have a chance of getting to the Stanley Cup finals.

Futures Markets

To Win Outright

As of right now, we believe the three best value picks to win the Stanley Cup are:

  1. Edmonton Oilers (+1600)
  2. Colorado Avalanche – the current Cup holders (+450)
  3. NY Rangers (+1800)

A special mention has to go to Columbus Blue Jackets at +6700 with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review), although we don’t believe they can quite win it, they could have a strong season if things go right.

The Oilers have what it takes if they can just get Jack Campbell on top form and have Evander Kane stay playing at this high level.

Colorado are undoubtedly an all-around string team, with a lot of confidence, they should make the playoffs easily.

New York didn’t have the firepower to get past the Lightning in the conference finals last year, but with Igor Shesterkin in the crease, they can go far again.

  • Best Play: Colorado Avalanche (+450) at BetOnline
  • Favorite Play: Edmonton Oilers (+1600) at BetOnline

Vezina Trophy

Awarded to the best goaltender each season, this is a very prestigious trophy.

Last season the three finalists were Jacob Markstrom, Juuse Saros, and Igor Shesterkin, with the latter Shesterkin winning the award. This season, we have our eye on two players to win the Vezina.

  • Juuse Saros (+1000)
  • Jake Oettinger (+1800)

Saros made the finals last season and he has the team in front of him to keep the numbers down, plus he is a very solid goaltender with an average of just 2.54 goals against in over 200 NHL starts. Saros has 18 career shutouts.

This will be Oettinger’s third NHL season but so far, he has proven himself with just 2.46 goals allowed in 77 NHL starts. Dallas won 66% of their games last season when Ottinger started and this kid is getting better each season, he is probably the best value on the market right now.

Obviously, last year’s winner Igor Shesterkin has to be considered but at +225, it’s a very short price on such an open market.

Other Value Picks

  • Adam Fox to Win the James Norris Trophy (+800) at BetOnline
  • Patrik Laine to Win the Rocket Richard Trophy (+4000) at BetOnline
  • Leona Draisaitl to Win the Rocket Richard Trophy (+500) at BetOnline

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.