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The most sought-after free agents (from A-K)

Here is the first of two lists of NHL players who will become unrestricted free agents on July 1

by Montreal Canadiens @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

MONTREAL - The NHL's free agency market will be open for business on July 1, with many players set to become unrestricted free agents. Here is the first of two lists of some 45 players who could be on the move, presented in alphabetical order. On Tuesday, we'll highlight players with last names starting from A-K, and on Wednesday, those starting with L-Z.


Please note that these lists are presented for informational purposes only, and do not reflect the organization's choices or rankings.

Karl Alzner
Position: defenseman
Age: 28

Stay-at-home defenseman Karl Alzner finished last season with a plus-23 differential, good for 11th among NHL blue-liners. A true Iron man, Alzner hadn't missed a game since he became a full-time NHLer in 2010-11, until missing several games during the playoffs due to an injury. A first-round choice by the Capitals in 2007, Alzner has spent his entire career thus far in the US capital.

Jonathan Bernier
Position: goaltender
Age: 28

Laval native Jonathan Bernier spent last season with the Anaheim Ducks, where he shared goaltending duties with John Gibson. Bernier registered 21 wins and 11 losses, including four in overtime. He presented a 2.50 goals-against average to go along with a .915 save percentage. In the playoffs, he played only four of his team's 20 games, relieving Gibson on three occasions. His postseason statistics were a little less glamorous, as he posted a 3.29 GAA and .873 SV%.

Nick Bonino
Position: center
Age: 29

Nick Bonino appeared in a career-high 80 games last season, scoring 18 goals and 19 assists for the Penguins. The Hartford, CT native was Pittsburgh's most-used forward on the penalty kill, logging over 187 minutes of shorthanded ice time. Bonino appeared in 21 games in the playoffs, netting four goals and seven assists to go along with a plus-4 rating, but was held out of the final four games of the Stanley Cup Final due to injury.

Brian Boyle
Position: center
Age: 32

Brian Boyle split time between Tampa Bay and the Toronto last season, scoring 13 goals for 22 points in 54 games with the Lightning, and adding three assists in 21 contests with the Maple Leafs. The 6-foot-6, 244-pound center suited up for all six of Toronto's playoff games, contributing a pair of helpers and 18 hits. He won 52.2% of his draws in 2016-17, and had the best faceoff percentage among Leafs pivots in the postseason (62%).

Brian Campbell
Position: defenseman
Age: 38

Brian Campbell just celebrated his 38th birthday, and finished the final year of an eight-year contract in 2016-17. He returned to the Chicago Blackhawks, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2010, after the Florida Panthers traded him back to the Windy City in the summer of 2016. Last year, he collected five goals for 17 points, his lowest output since 2003-04.

Jared Cowen
Position: defenseman
Age: 26

Defenseman Jared Cowen did not play in the NHL last season after being bought out by de Leafs in September. He patrolled the blue line on 37 occasions for the Ottawa Senators in 2015-16, collecting four assists while compiling a plus-7 differential. In 249 career games with Ottawa, the 26-year-old Saskatoon, SK native boasts 15 goals and 31 assists for 46 points, along with 174 penalty minutes. He also boasts 17 games of playoff experience in Senators colors.

Trevor Daley
Position: defenseman
Age: 33

Trevor Daley won his second consecutive Stanley Cup title with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season, suiting up for 21 games during the championship run. The 33-year-old Toronto native registered five goals and 19 points in 56 games in 2016-17, before chipping in with one goal and five points in the playoffs. In February, Daley underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He is just six games shy of reaching the 900-game mark for his career, having put up 278 points (78 goals, 200 assists) since debuting with the Dallas Stars in 2003-04.

Michael Del Zotto
Position: defenseman
Age: 27

In 51 games with the Flyers last season, Michael Del Zotto posted six goals and 12 assists. His 173 hits were third on the team and his 85 blocked shots fifth, despite having missed a third of the season to injury. The blue-liner averaged just under a minute in power play time, and 1:16 of shorthanded action. Del Zotto also missed significant time the previous year due to a wrist injury. 

Brian Elliott
Position: goaltender
Age: 32

Brian Elliott suited up for 49 games for Calgary this season, going 26-18-0-3 in that span. The Newmarket, ON native presented a 2.55 goals-against average and .910 save percentage to go along with two shutouts. Elliott has enjoyed three consecutive seasons of 20-plus wins. In the 2017 playoffs, Elliott was the starter three games out of four, although the Flames were swept in the first round by the Ducks.

Mike Fisher
Position: center
Age: 37

Predators captain Mike Fisher is fresh off leading his team to its first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. The Peterborough, ON native skated in 72 games for Nashville last season, scoring 18 goals for 42 points. The total was his highest since the 2013-14 season, when Fisher registered 49 points in 75 games. He also added four assists in 20 playoff appearances this spring.

Cody Franson
Position: defenseman
Age: 29

Cody Franson put up three goals and 19 points during his second season with the Buffalo Sabres in 2016-17, raking third among rearguards behind Rasmus Ristolainen and Jake McCabe. The eight-year NHL veteran averaged 18:29 of ice time per outing last year. He'll bring plenty of experience to any D corps, having patrolled the blue line for 527 career games to date, amassing 42 goals and 163 assists for 205 points along the way. The 29-year-old Sicamous, BC native also boasts 28 career playoff appearances, scoring four goals and collecting 11 assists for 15 points.  

Sam Gagner
Position: center
Age: 27

Sam Gagner enjoyed a career year in 2016-17, scoring 18 goals for 50 points in 81 games to go along with a plus-10 rating for the Blue Jackets. The veteran pivot won 47.5% of his draws last season, the second-best showing of his career. Gagner appeared in all five of Columbus' playoff games this spring, collecting a pair of assists. The London, ON native has scored at least 40 points in each of the last five seasons.

Dan Girardi
Position: defenseman
Age: 33

After spending the first 11 seasons of his NHL career with the New York Rangers, Dan Girardi is moving on after the team's brass elected to buy out the remaining three years of his contract in mid-June. The 33-year-old Welland, ON native played 788 games for the Blueshirts, scoring 46 goals and chipping in with 184 assists for 230 points. He also saw 122 games of playoff action, amassing six goals, 27 assists and 33 points over the years. This past season, Girardi put up 4 goals and 15 points in 63 games while averaging 19:06 of ice time per night.

Ron Hainsey
Position: defenseman
Age: 36

Acquired from the Hurricanes in the leadup to the trade deadline, Ron Hainsey would go on to appear in all 25 Penguins playoff games in 2017 en route to winning the Stanley Cup, contributing two goals and six assists to go along with a plus-5 rating. The veteran defenseman registered three assists and a plus-8 rating in 16 regular season games with Pittsburgh, and added 14 points (4G, 10A) in 56 games with Carolina in 2016-17. Hainsey has averaged over 22 minutes of ice time per game in each of the last two seasons.

Martin Hanzal
Position: center
Age: 30

Before being acquired by the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline, Martin Hanzal had spent his first nine NHL seasons with the Arizona Coyotes. The towering 6-foot-6, 226-pound center scored 20 goals, a career high, for 39 points in 71 contests with the Coyotes and Wild in 2016-17. Hanzal also added five tallies in as many postseason games this spring.

Matt Hunwick
Position: defenseman
Age: 32

Eighteen of Matt Hunwick's 19 points during the 2016-17 campaign came in the form of assists for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 32-year-old rearguard, who has also suited up for Boston, Colorado and the New York Rangers, will bring 479 games of NHL experience to whichever team he joins next. Over the course of his career, which began in 2007-08, the Warren, MI native has amassed 21 goals and 107 points, along with 182 penalty minutes, while averaging 18:24 of ice time per game. 

Jiri Hudler
Position: right wing
Age: 33

Illness and a groin injury limited Jiri Hudler to 32 games last season, and he managed only three goals for 11 points. The previous year, which he split between the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers, Hudler scored 16 goals and added 30 assists for 46 points in 51 games. He had his best season in 2014-15, when he collected 76 points (31G, 45A) in 75 games with the Flames.

Jarome Iginla
Position: right wing
Age: 39

Jarome Iginla will be celebrating his 40th birthday when free agency gets underway on July 1. A 20-year NHL veteran, Iginla has scored an impressive 1,300 points, including 625 goals, in 1,554 regular season games, but he has yet to win a Stanley Cup. Last year, the Colorado Avalanche traded him to the Los Angeles Kings at the trade deadline. In 80 games between the two teams in 2016-17, Iginla collected 27 points, including 14 goals. Eleven of those goals were scored on the power play.

Jaromir Jagr
Position: right wing
Age: 45

Ageless Jaromir Jagr appeared in all 82 games with the Florida Panthers in 2016-17, netting 16 goals and adding 30 assists. The 45-year-old averaged just under 17 minutes of ice time per game in his second full season with the Panthers. In the last four seasons, Jagr has registered 46, 66, 47 and 67 points, respectively.

Dmitry Kulikov
Position: defenseman
Age: 26

At 26 years old, Dmitry Kulikov is one of the younger players to be hitting unrestricted free agency this summer. A first-round choice by the Panthers in 2009, Kulikov was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in June 2016 after spending seven seasons in Florida. He was held to 47 games in 2016-17 due to injuries, including one to his back. He has scored 143 points, including 30 goals, in 507 NHL games. Fifty-one of those points were scored on the power play. However, he possesses a rather unenviable minus-64 career differential.

Chris Kunitz
Position: right wing
Age : 37

Chris Kunitz is coming off his third Stanley Cup win, all with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and has a fourth ring from the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. Now 37, the 2014 Olympic gold medallist saw a reduced output last season, registering nine goals for 29 points in 71 games. Kunitz boasts career totals of 250 goals for 580 points in 884 games.

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