Top NHL free agent forwards: Gaudreau on market

Patrice BergeronBoston Bruins

It would be a surprise if the 36-year-old center decides to return for another season and it isn’t with the Bruins. Bergeron had 65 points (25 goals, 40 assists) in 73 games this season and is an excellent two-way player. He led the NHL in face-off percentage (61.9 percent) and won the Selke Trophy for a record fifth time. Bergeron has 982 points (400 goals, 582 assists) in 1,216 games during 18 seasons with Boston and has played 167 Stanley Cup Playoff games (127 points; 49 goals, 78 assists), winning the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Andre BurakovskyColorado Avalanche

The 27-year-old forward had 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists) in 80 regular-season games for the Avalanche and helped the win the Stanley Cup with eight points (three goals, five assists) in 12 postseason games this season. Burakovsky has 295 points (123 goals, 172 assists) in 519 regular-season games for the Avalanche and Washington Capitals, and 47 points (20 goals, 27 assists) in 93 playoff games. He also won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018.

Andrew CoppNew York Rangers

The 27-year-old forward had NHL career highs in goals (21), assists (32) and points (53) in 72 regular-season games for the Rangers and Winnipeg Jets, including 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 16 games after he was acquired in a trade by the Rangers on March 21. Copp had 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 14 playoff games. He has 202 points (82 goals, 120 assists) in 483 regular-season games for the Rangers and Jets and 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 54 playoff games.

Max DomiCarolina Hurricanes

Domi had 39 points (11 goals, 28 assists) in 72 regular-season games for the Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets last season, including seven points (two goals, five assists) in 19 games after he was acquired in a trade by the Hurricanes on March 21. The 27-year-old center has 314 points (101 goals, 213 assists) in 501 regular-season games for the Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Montreal Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes, and nine points (three goals six assists) in 24 playoff games. He’s scored at least 44 points four times in seven seasons.

Filip ForsbergNashville Predators

One of the top free agents expected to be available, Forsberg scored an NHL career-high 42 goals and 84 points in 69 games for the Predators last season. The 27-year-old forward has scored at least 20 goals in seven of his eight full NHL seasons. Forsberg has 469 points (220 goals, 249 assists) in 566 regular-season games and 53 points (29 goals, 24 assists) in 75 postseason games.

Johnny GaudreauCalgary Flames

Gaudreau was tied for second in the NHL this season with 115 points (40 goals, 75 assists) in 82 regular-season games. He led the NHL with a plus-64 rating and set NHL career highs in goals, assists, points, game-winning goals (nine) and shots on goal (262). The 28-year-old forward led the Flames in the playoffs with 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 12 games. Gaudreau has 609 points (210 goals, 399 assists) in 602 regular-season games and 33 points (11 goals, 22 assists) in 42 playoff games.

Claude GirouxFlorida Panthers

The 34-year-old forward had 65 points (21 goals, 44 assists) in 75 games for the Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers last season, including 23 points (three goals, 20 assists) in 18 games after he was acquired in a trade with the Flyers on March 19. Giroux has scored at least 20 goals nine times and has 923 points (294 goals, 629 assists) in 1,018 regular-season games and 81 points (28 goals, 53 assists) in 95 playoff games.

Nazem KadriColorado Avalanche

A broken thumb couldn’t stop Kadri from coming back in the playoffs and scoring the overtime goal in his return, a 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Cup Final. The 31-year-old forward had 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 16 playoff games to help the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup. He had 28 goals and NHL career highs in assists (59), points (87), power-play points (29) in 71 regular-season games. Kadri has 512 points (219 goals, 293 assists) in 739 regular-season games for the Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs, and 44 points (19 goals, 25 assists) in 52 playoff games.

Evander KaneEdmonton Oilers

After signing with the Oilers in January after his contract was terminated by the San Jose Sharks, Kane had 39 points (22 goals, 17 assists) in 43 regular-season games and 17 points (13 goals, four assists) in 15 playoff games, tying for the postseason lead in goals. The 30-year-old forward is an eight-time 20-goal scorer and has 545 points (286 goals, 259 assists) and 1,048 penalty minutes in 812 regular-season games for the Oilers, Sharks, Buffalo Sabers, Winnipeg Jets and Atlanta Thrashers and 30 points (19 goals, 11 assists) in 44 playoff games.

Phil KesselArizona Coyotes

While Kessel’s stats have dipped with the Arizona Coyotes the past three seasons, he had 52 points (eight goals, 44 assists) and 14 power-play points in 82 games and is a proven scorer. The 34-year-old forward has 956 points (399 goals, 557 assists) in 1,204 regular-season games for the Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Maple Leafs and Bruins, including six seasons with at least 30 goals and 12 with at least 20 goals . A two-time Cup winner with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017, Kessel has 81 points (34 goals, 47 assists) in 96 postseason games.

Evgeny MalkinPittsburgh Penguins

Although there are injury concerns, Malkin should have plenty of interest from any team in need of a playmaking center if he doesn’t remain with the Penguins. The 35-year-old had 42 points (20 goals, 22 assists) in 41 regular-season games for the Penguins after missing the first three months of the season while recovering from offseason knee surgery. He has 1,146 points (444 goals, 702 assists) in 981 regular-season games over 16 seasons, scoring at least 20 goals 13 times. He is a three-time Stanley Cup winner (2009, 2016, 2017) and has scored 180 points (67 goals, 113 assists) in 177 playoff games.

Valery NichushkinColorado Avalanche

Nichuskin had a breakout season with highs across the board in goals (25), assists (27), points (52), power-play goals (five), power-play points (nine), shots on goal (180) and shooting percentage (13.9). Nichushkin had never scored more than 34 points in a season. The 27-year-old forward also had 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 20 playoff games to help the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup. He has 174 points (71 goals, 103 assists) in 405 regular-season games for the Avalanche and Dallas Stars, and 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) in 62 playoff games.

Ondrej PalatTampa Bay Lightning

Palat has been an integral part of the Lightning’s playoff success the past three seasons with 27 goals, including eight game-winners in 71 postseason games to help them win the Cup in 2020 and 2021 and advance to the Final this season. The 31-year-old forward had 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists) in 77 regular-season games and 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 23 postseason games. Palat has 423 points (143 goals, 280 assists) in 628 regular-season games and 94 points (48 goals, 46 assists) in 138 playoff games.

David PerronSt. Louis Blues

The 34-year-old forward had 57 points (27 goals, 30 assists) in 67 regular-season games for the Blues last season and 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in 12 playoff games. Perron has scored at least 23 goals in three of the past four seasons with at least 57 points in three of them. He has 665 points (269 goals, 396 assists) in 973 regular-season games for the Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks, Penguins and Oilers and 61 points (24 goals, 37 assists) in 104 playoff games, including winning the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019.

Rickard RakellPittsburgh Penguins

Rakell had 41 points (20 goals, 21 assists) in 70 regular-season games for the Penguins and Ducks this season, including 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 19 games after he was acquired in a trade with the Ducks on March 21. The 29-year-old forward has at least 40 points in six of the past seven seasons and can also chip in on the power play, with 85 career power-play points. Rakell has 352 points (158 goals, 194 assists) in 569 regular-season games for the Penguins and Ducks and 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in 48 playoff games.

Reilly SmithVegas Golden Knights

The 31-year-old forward has proven to be a valuable top-six forward with 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) in 56 games for the Golden Knights this season. He also plays in all situations, averaging nearly two minutes per game in power play and shorthanded ice time per game. Smith has 417 points (174 goals, 243 assists) in 686 regular-season games for the Golden Knights, Panthers, Bruins and Stars and 65 points (22 goals, 43 assists) in 84 playoff games.

Paul StastnyWinnipeg Jets

Stastny had his most points (45) since 2017-18 when he had 53 with the Jets and Blues. The 36-year-old forward had 21 goals and 24 assists in 71 games and would provide veteran leadership and the ability to chip in offensively. Stastny has 800 points (284 goals, 516 assists) in 1,072 regular-season games for the Jets, Golden Knights, Blues and Avalanche and 69 points (26 goals, 43 assists) in 103 postseason games.

Ryan StromeNew York Rangers

For teams in need of a playmaking center, Strome could be the answer. The 28-year-old had 54 points (21 goals, 33 assists) in 74 regular-season games for the Rangers this season and nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 19 playoff games to help them advance to the Eastern Conference Final . Strome has 357 points (130 goals, 227 assists) in 621 regular-season games for the Rangers, Oilers and Islanders and 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in 37 playoff games.

Vincent TrocheckCarolina Hurricanes

The 28-year-old forward had 51 points (21 goals, 30 assists) in 81 regular-season games and 10 points (six goals, four assists) in 14 playoff games for the Hurricanes this season. A four-time 20-goal scorer, Trocheck has 378 points (150 goals, 228 assists) in 555 regular-season games for the Hurricanes and Panthers, and 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 33 playoff games.

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