Hoffman, Vatanen, Kovalchuk, Granlund among those available
Zdeno Chara, D, Boston Bruins
The 43-year-old defenseman, who is the oldest player in the League, scored 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 68 games with the Bruins last season and two assists in 13 playoff games. Chara has played 22 NHL seasons, including the past 14 with the Bruins and won the Stanley Cup in 2011. He has 656 points (205 goals, 451 assists) in 1,553 NHL games with the Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Bruins, and 70 points (18 goals, 52 assists) in 195 playoff games and is a mentor and leader in the locker room.
Mikael Granlund, F, Nashville Predators
General manager David Poile said Sept. 29 that the Predators would not re-sign Granlund. Nashville acquired him in a trade from the Wild on Feb. 25, 2019, after he scored at least 67 points in two consecutive seasons for the Wild (69 in 2016-17, 67 in 2017-18), but he scored 35 points (18 goals, 17 assists) in 79 games after the trade and had one assist in four games in the 2020 postseason. The 28-year-old center scored 352 points (111 goals, 241 assists) in 540 games with Minnesota and Nashville.
Erik Haula, F, Florida Panthers
The 29-year-old left wing scored 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 48 games with the Carolina Hurricanes and Panthers last season including two assists in seven games after he was traded to Florida on Feb. 24. Selected by the Wild in the seventh round (No. 181) of the 2009 NHL Draft, Haula has scored 175 points (85 goals, 90 assists) in 405 regular-season games with the Wild, Vegas Golden Knights, Hurricanes and Panthers and 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) in 48 playoff games.
Mike Hoffman, F, Florida Panthers
The top goal-scorer among unrestricted free agents, Hoffman scored 59 points (29 goals, 30 assists) in 69 games last season and has scored 359 points (172 goals, 187 assists) in 493 games for the Senators and Panthers. In 29 playoff games, the 31-year-old left wing has scored 19 points (10 goals, nine assists), including five points (three goals, two assists) in four games with Florida this postseason. In 2018-19, his first with the Panthers, Hoffman scored an NHL career-high 70 points (36 goals, 34 assists) in 82 games.
Ilya Kovalchuk, F, Washington Capitals
The 37-year-old left wing scored 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 46 games with the Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens and Capitals last season and has scored 60 points (26 goals, 34 assists) in 110 games since returning to the NHL in 2018 after five seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League. Although he’s not as dynamic as he once was, having scored at least 31 goals nine times, Kovalchuk is fourth among active NHL players in goals (443), behind Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (706), San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau (562) and Penguins center Sidney Crosby (462). Kovalchuk has scored 876 points (including 329 power-play points) in 926 regular-season games with the Atlanta Thrashers, New Jersey Devils, Kings, Canadiens and Capitals.
Carl Soderberg, F, Arizona Coyotes
The 35-year-old center scored 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 70 games with the Coyotes last season and has scored at least that many points in six of the past seven NHL seasons. Selected by the Blues in the second round (No. 49) of the 2004 NHL Draft, he has 280 points (103 goals, 177 assists) in 552 regular-season games with the Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Coyotes and has scored 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in 41 playoff games.
Sami Vatanen, D, Carolina Hurricanes
Vatanen scored 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 47 regular-season games with the Devils last season before being sidelined with a lower-body injury and being traded to the Hurricanes on Feb. 24. Vatanen wasn’t healthy in time to play any regular-season games for Carolina, but the 29-year-old had three assists in seven postseason games. A proven top-four defenseman who plays in all situations, Vatanen has scored 194 points (45 goals, 149 assists) in 434 regular-season games and 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) in 51 postseason games during eight NHL seasons with the Ducks, Devils and Hurricanes.