10 Bold Predictions for NHL Free Agency

NHL Free Agency 2014: 10 Bold Predictions

San Jose Sharks v New Jersey Devils
Getty Images

The list of available players entering free agency on July 1 may be thin, but there are still many big moves that could take place. Here are 10 bold predictions on what will unfold as soon as the free agency period begins.

10. Pittsburgh Penguins Will Sign Nikolai Kulemin

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Rangers
Getty Images

10. Pittsburgh Penguins Will Sign Nikolai Kulemin

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Rangers
Getty Images

Nikolai Kulemin had only 20 points last season playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he would fit great on a line with countryman Evgeni Malkin. At 27 years old and with over 400 career games in the NHL, Kulemin still has time to reach his full potential and would likely do so playing alongside one of the best centers in the NHL.

9. Tampa Bay Will Win the Bidding for Dan Boyle

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Two
Getty Images

9. Tampa Bay Will Win the Bidding for Dan Boyle

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Two
Getty Images

Dan Boyle will turn 38 years old in July, but he is still the best defenseman available once free agency begins. Considering Steve Yzerman, the general manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning, has made so many moves to open up cap space and the fact that the Lightning need a solid, veteran defenseman, it makes sense that Boyle will end up in Tampa Bay.

8. Paul Stastny Will Stay in Colorado

Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Seven
Getty Images

8. Paul Stastny Will Stay in Colorado

Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Seven
Getty Images

Paul Stastny has been a big reason why the Colorado Avalanche were able to rebuild successfully, and although his new cap hit will be high, the chemistry he has built with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog make it well worth signing the check.

7. Christian Ehrhoff Will Land in Detroit

Buffalo Sabres v Philadelphia Flyers
Getty Images

7. Christian Ehrhoff Will Land in Detroit

Buffalo Sabres v Philadelphia Flyers
Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings are another team in need of a reliable blueliner. After being bought out by the Buffalo Sabres, Ehrhoff will test free agency and likely intrigue many franchises. However, the Red Wings have the offensive depth that Buffalo could never put in front of Ehrhoff, which will likely be a key factor in where he decides to play next season. Early reports indicate Detroit's offer will be a two-year deal around $ 11 million.

6. Jarome Iginla Won't Stay in Boston

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens - Game Six
Getty Images

6. Jarome Iginla Won't Stay in Boston

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens - Game Six
Getty Images

Jarome Iginla has said that he is looking for a two-year contract and is only willing to sign a one-year deal with Boston, but the Bruins will most likely allow Iginla to walk. Boston is already knocking on the cap ceiling, and it just seems too difficult to incorporate Iginla's salary.

5. Willie Mitchell Won't Be Offered a Contract from Los Angeles

Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Six
Getty Images

5. Willie Mitchell Won't Be Offered a Contract from Los Angeles

Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Six
Getty Images

After winning two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings, you might think that Dean Lombardi would want to keep Willie Mitchell in town. But after the Kings general manager signed Marian Gaborik to such an extensive contract, Mitchell will likely be kicked to the curb and replaced with a cheaper option.

4. Dave Bolland Will Take a Pay Cut and Sign a Long-Term Contract with Toronto

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs
Getty Images

4. Dave Bolland Will Take a Pay Cut and Sign a Long-Term Contract with Toronto

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs
Getty Images

Dave Bolland is an Ontario native and has publicly said that he wants to play the rest of his career with Toronto. Although financially it won't even be close to what he should be making, Bolland will likely take a big pay cut in order to ensure that he stays with the Maple Leafs for as long as he can.

3. Sami Salo Will Retire

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
Getty Images

3. Sami Salo Will Retire

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
Getty Images

The list of defensemen who will become free agents on July 1 is thin, and although I believe Sami Salo could still contribute to a team in need of a veteran blueliner, he will likely decide to retire. Salo will turn 40 before the opening puck drop of the 2014-15 season.

2. Vancouver Canucks Will Sign Jonas Hiller

Anaheim Ducks v Dallas Stars - Game Six
Getty Images

2. Vancouver Canucks Will Sign Jonas Hiller

Anaheim Ducks v Dallas Stars - Game Six
Getty Images

The Canucks, which have never shied away from rumors involving goaltenders, may have a serviceable one in Eddie Lack, but he is also young and inexperienced. Bringing in Jonas Hiller would allow the Canucks to put a veteran goalie between the pipes while Lack continues to develop his game.

1. Neither Jussi Jokinen Nor Matt Niskanen Will Re-sign with Pittsburgh

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two
Getty Images

1. Neither Jussi Jokinen Nor Matt Niskanen Will Re-sign with Pittsburgh

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two
Getty Images

The Penguins have already shipped away James Neal to the Nashville Predators, and it's only going to get worse for Pittsburgh fans. Jussi Jokinen will attract many offers, some of which the Penguins will be unable to match, and Matt Niskanen's asking price to stay in Pittsburgh will be too high with so many young, NHL-ready defensemen in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – the Pens' AHL affiliate.

Around the Web