Top NHL restricted free agents: Makar could get offer sheet

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Sam Bennett, Florida Panthers

The 25-year-old scored 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 48 regular-season games for the Calgary Flames and Panthers, 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 10 games after he was traded to Florida on April 12. He scored five points (one goal, four assists) in a six-game loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup First Round, though he was suspended for Game 2 by the NHL Department of Player Safety for boarding Lightning forward Blake Coleman.

Tyler Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings

Bertuzzi scored seven points (five goals, two assists) in nine games before he was sidelined for the final 47 games with a back injury. The 26-year-old had surgery and is expected to be ready for the start of next season, hoping to return to the form that helped him play in the 2020 NHL All-Star Game and score an NHL career-high 48 points (21 goals, 27 assists) two seasons ago.

Pavel Buchnevich, New York Rangers

The 26-year-old scored an NHL career-high 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists) in 54 games, tying forward Chris Kreider for second on the Rangers in goals and finishing fourth in points. Buchnevich has scored 195 points (79 goals, 116 assists) in 301 regular-season games and has one assist in eight Stanley Cup Playoff games. 

Kevin Fiala, Minnesota Wild

Fiala scored 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists) in 50 regular-season games, and two points (one goal, one assist) in seven playoff games. The 24-year-old has scored at least 20 goals in each of his first two full seasons with the Wild and 101 points (46 goals, 55 assists) in 133 games since he was traded to Minnesota by the Nashville Predators on Feb. 25, 2019.

Patrik Laine, Columbus Blue Jackets

Laine scored 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 46 games for the Winnipeg Jets and Blue Jackets, 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 45 games after the 23-year-old was traded to Columbus on Jan. 23. The No. 2 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft scored at least 28 goals in each of his first four NHL seasons, including a career-high 44 in 2017-18 that was second behind Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (49). Laine averaged 0.46 goals per game with the Jets and 0.22 with the Blue Jackets. He was runner-up to Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews for the 2017 Calder Trophy.

Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina Hurricanes

The 21-year-old scored 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists) in 55 regular-season games and eight points (two goals, six assists) in 11 playoff games. The No. 2 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft had NHL career-highs in goals (24), assists (37) and points (61) in 68 games during his second season in 2019-20, shortened due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. 

Video: TBL@CAR, Gm2: Staal, Svechnikov connect for goal

Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators

Tkachuk scored 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 56 games, 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his final 14. The No. 4 pick in the 2018 draft, the 21-year-old has scored 125 points (60 goals, 65 assists) in 198 regular-season games. 

Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks

The 22-year-old scored 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 26 games, 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his final 14 games before a hyperextended wrist sidelined him for the final 30. The No. 5 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Pettersson expects to be fully healthy in time for the start of next season. He won the Calder Trophy in 2019 and has scored 153 points (65 goals, 88 assists) in 165 NHL games.

 

Defensemen

Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres

Dahlin scored 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 56 games. The 21-year-old led the Sabres and ranked 15th among NHL defensemen with an average of 20:15 of ice time per game at even strength from April 6 until the end of the season and scored 10 points (three goals, seven assists), best among Buffalo defensemen in that span. The No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft has scored 107 points (18 goals, 89 assists) in 197 games. He scored 44 points (nine goals, 35 assists) in 2018-19 and finished third in Calder Trophy voting.  

Vince Dunn, St. Louis Blues

The 24-year-old scored 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 43 games and did not play in a four-game loss to the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup First Round because of an upper-body injury. Dunn has scored 102 points (32 goals, 70 assists) in 267 regular-season games and 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 29 playoff games, winning the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019. 

Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars

Heiskanen scored 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) in 55 games and has scored 95 points (28 goals, 67 assists) in 205 regular-season games and 30 points (eight goals, 22 assists) in 40 playoff games. The No. 3 pick in the 2017 draft, the 21-year-old set a Stars record for points by a defenseman with 26 (six goals, 20 assists) in 27 games in the 2020 playoffs to help them advance to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Lightning in six games.   

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche

Makar was a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman in the NHL, scoring 44 points (eight goals, 36 assists) in 44 regular-season games and 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 10 playoff games. The 22-year-old tied for the lead at the position in game-winning goals (three) and was fourth in power-play points (22; four goals, 18 assists). The No. 4 pick in the 2017 draft won the Calder Trophy in 2020, when he scored 50 points (12 goals, 38 assists) in 57 games, and has scored 94 points (20 goals, 74 assists) in 101 regular-season games and 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists) in 35 playoff games.  

Video: VGK@COL, Gm1: Makar hammers home PPG in 3rd

Neal Pionk, Winnipeg Jets

The 25-year-old scored 32 points (three goals, 29 assists) in 54 regular-season games and had four assists in eight playoff games. Pionk played an average of 21:58 per game, second on the Jets to defenseman Josh Morrissey (23:33), and 26:00 per game in the playoffs, third on Winnipeg. He scored an NHL career-high 45 points (six goals, 39 assists) and 25 power-play points (three goals, 22 assists) in 71 games for the Jets in 2019-20, his first full season with Winnipeg after his trade from the Rangers for defenseman Jacob Trouba on June 17, 2019.

 

Goalies

Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers

Hart was 9-11-5 with a 3.67 goals-against average, an .877 save percentage and one shutout in 27 games (25 starts), and did not play after April 15 because of a sprained MCL in his left knee. The 22-year-old’s GAA was the highest and save percentage was the lowest among the 32 goalies to play at least 25 games, a drop from the 2.42 GAA and .914 save percentage in his second NHL season. He’s 49-37-9 with a 2.88 GAA, a .905 save percentage and two shutouts in 101 regular-season games (95 starts), and 9-5 with a 2.23 GAA, a .926 save percentage and two shutouts in 14 playoff games. 

Alex Nedeljkovic, Carolina Hurricanes

The 25-year-old was a finalist for the Calder Trophy after he was 15-5-3 with a 1.90 GAA, a .932 save percentage and three shutouts in 23 starts. Nedeljkovic ranked first among rookie goalies in GAA and save percentage (minimum 20 games) and tied for the rookie lead in shutouts (three) with Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders. He was 4-5 with a 2.17 GAA, a .920 save percentage and one shutout in nine playoff games.  

Ilya Samsonov, Washington Capitals

Samsonov was 13-4-1 with a 2.69 GAA, a .902 save percentage and two shutouts in 19 games (18 starts) during a season that included two stints in NHL COVID-19 protocol. Though the 24-year-old was 0-3 with a 2.99 GAA and an .899 save percentage in three playoff games, he returned with little practice time and made 40 saves in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup First Round before a miscommunication with Capitals defenseman Justin Schultz led to the winning goal in a 3-2 double-overtime loss to the Boston Bruins. Samsonov is 29-10-3 with a 2.61 GAA, a .908 save percentage and three shutouts in 45 regular-season games (40 starts). 

Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators

The Predators believed Saros could be their No. 1 goalie and the 26-year-old proved them right by helping Nashville finish the regular season with a 20-7-1 run to clinch the No. 4 seed in the eight-team Discover Central Division. Saros was 18-6-1 with a 1.88 GAA, a .941 save percentage and three shutouts beginning with a 2-1 win against the Blue Jackets on Feb. 27. His 21 wins, 2.28 GAA and .927 save percentage were NHL career bests. He was 2-4 with a 2.78 GAA and .921 save percentage in a six-game loss to the Hurricanes in the first round, including a combined 110 saves on 117 shots to win Games 3 and 4.

Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers

The 25-year-old completed his first full NHL season as the heir apparent to Henrik Lundqvist in New York and was 16-14-3 with a 2.62 GAA, a .916 save percentage and two shutouts in 35 games (31 starts). Shesterkin was third in games played, tied with Kaapo Kahkonen of the Wild for third in wins, fourth in save percentage and fifth in GAA among rookie goalies to play at least 10 games. 

Video: PIT@NYR: Shesterkin makes slick pad save on Zohorna

Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders

Sorokin was 13-6-3 with a 2.17 GAA, a .918 save percentage and three shutouts in 22 games (21 starts) but proved during the playoffs he was worth the wait for the Islanders after six seasons playing in his native Russia. The 25-year-old allowed nine goals on 159 shots against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, including a 48-save performance in Game 5 and 34 saves in Game 6 to win the best-of-7 series, becoming the first Islanders goalie to win each of his first four playoff games and the 10th in NHL history to do it. He was 4-1 with a 2.79 GAA and .922 save percentage in seven playoff games (five starts) to help New York reach the Stanley Cup Semifinals.

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