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Best remaining free agents include de Haan, Maroon, Lehner

Orpik, Duclair also among those available

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

The opening of NHL free agency Sunday at noon ET sparked a flurry of signings. Many of the top unrestricted free agents were snatched up quickly, including the biggest name, center John Tavares, who left the New York Islanders to sign a seven-year, $77 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As of Monday there were some quality players remaining who can help teams.

Here's a look at the best of who's left in the 2018 UFA class:



Calvin de Haan, D, New York Islanders

De Haan, 27, missed the final 49 games last season after surgery on his left shoulder but is expected to be ready for the start of the season. When healthy, he was a steady, stay-at-home defenseman on a team that needed more of that quality. If he re-signs with New York, he should benefit from the improved structure new coach Barry Trotz will instill. Teams who missed out on Ian Cole (signed with the Colorado Avalanche) and Jack Johnson (signed with Pittsburgh Penguins) might be interested.

Possible destinations: Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers


Patrick Maroon, F, New Jersey Devils

Maroon played well for the Devils after being traded from the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 26, getting 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 17 games. The left wing had 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists) in 57 games with Edmonton before the trade, after getting 42 points (27 goals, 15 assists) with the Oilers playing on a line with Connor McDavid in 2016-17. He provides size (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) and toughness (168 penalty minutes the past two seasons, 17th in the NHL). Maroon and New Jersey expressed interest in each other, but the 30-year-old is exploring the market.

Possible destinations: Devils, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Blue Jackets


Anthony Duclair, F, Chicago Blackhawks

Duclair will turn 23 on Aug. 26 and is already headed to his fourth NHL team after the Blackhawks decided not to give the left wing a qualifying offer as a potential restricted free agent. Since getting 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists) in 81 games in 2015-16 with the Arizona Coyotes, Duclair has 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) in 114 games over the past two seasons with the Coyotes and Blackhawks. But with the increasing importance of speed, he can help a team seeking to get faster and willing to take a chance on a potential reclamation project.

Possible destinations: Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, Oilers, Devils


Robin Lehner, G, Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres didn't make a qualifying offer to Lehner, who was their No. 1 goaltender the past three seasons. His went 14-26-9 with a 3.01 goals-against average, .908 save percentage and three shutouts last season after going 23-26-8 with a 2.68 GAA, .920 save percentage and two shutouts in 2016-17. Becoming a backup or sharing the starting job might help Lehner, who turns 27 on July 24, restart his career.

Possible destinations: Islanders, Flames, Flyers


Brooks Orpik, D, Colorado Avalanche

The Washington Capitals traded Orpik to the Avalanche with backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer on June 22 to create NHL salary cap space to re-sign defenseman John Carlson. The Avalanche subsequently bought out the final season on his contract, making the defenseman a UFA. The possibility of a return to the Capitals remains, but the two-time Stanley Cup winner, who turns 38 on Sept. 26, would help any team looking for experience and toughness on its third pair. He might have to wait to see what options he has after de Haan picks a team.

Possible destinations: Capitals, Islanders, Devils

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