Slim Pickings Remain in 2018 NHL UFA Market

by | Jul 8, 2018 | Soapbox | 10 comments

A week into the 2018 NHL free-agent market, not much talent remains for teams attempting to bolster their lineups. Here’s a brief look at the notable names still available as of July 7, 2018.

Left wing Patrick Maroon is the best player still available in this summer’s UFA market (Photo via NHL Images).

Patrick Maroon. The best remaining scorer in the bunch. A big-bodied (6’3”, 225 lbs) left winger coming off back-to-back 40-plus point seasons. The St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in his services.

Kari Lehtonen. The 34-year-old Lehtonen posted a respectable 2.56 goals-against average and .912 save percentage last season in a backup role with the Dallas Stars. He could be a mentor for a rising young starter.

Dan Hamhuis. Though Hamhuis’ best days are behind him,  the 35-year-old defenseman still tallied 24 points while skating over 20 minutes per game with the Stars. He could be a solid depth addition for a playoff contender.

Toby Enstrom. Injuries have frequently sidelined the 33-year-old Enstrom, hampering his effectiveness as a puck-moving blueliner. His experience, however, could be helpful to a rebuilding club.

Brooks Orpik. The shutdown blueliner helped the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup this spring. Traded to Colorado and bought out, the Capitals are reportedly interested in bringing him back for one more year.

Steve Mason. The 30-year-old struggled with injury and inconsistency as the Winnipeg Jets’ backup last season. Those factors could hurt Mason’s efforts to land with another NHL club.

Luca Sbisa. Missed all but 30 games to injury last season but was solid in the playoffs for the Vegas Golden Knights. Sbisa could be a good depth addition to a blueline in need of a physical rearguard.

Antoine Vermette. The 35-year-old’s 20-goal, 40-point seasons are well in the past. However, he could provide depth for clubs in need of a veteran checking-line center.

Alexei Emelin. A physical defenseman, Emelin could provide some experienced grit as a third-pairing blueliner.

Ondrej Pavelec. The 30-year-old netminder sported a decent .910 save percentage serving as Henrik Lundqvist’s understudy with the New York Rangers.



  1. If Slim Pickens is all that’s left, would he come with the bomb?

    • SS

      Just reading this now …. got a chuckle….some posters here won’t know Slim Pickens ….. he’s been dead probably 35 years now

      • Loved his character in Blazing Saddles – who can forget his reaction to that bean meal around the campfire

      • At least he will come with some “blazing Saddles “

        I’m only 32 and got the joke.

  2. Steve Mason has struggled with inconsistency his entire career. I can’t see anyone adding him to their roster unless they are extremely desperate.

  3. Alexi enelu could help a third pairing somewhere….Pittsburgh

    • It looks like the Pens are set for their top 6. But if emelin accepts a lesser role that could help as guys inevitably get injured throughout the season. I’m liking the D for the most part.


  4. I could see Ebstrom signing with buffalo for 2 yrs to pair with Dahlin thus year.

  5. I think Patrick maroon is the Darkhorse of this list

  6. How did Joffrey Lupul not crack this list?