A few marquee NHL pending unrestricted free agents appear likely to re-sign with their current clubs or have already done so. But several impact players may still opt for a change of scenery.
While Alex Ovechkin isn't expected to hit the market and Taylor Hall has already chosen not to explore it again, it would be compelling to see a quartet of other pending UFAs do just that.
These may not be the most likely scenarios, but that doesn't mean we can't still hope they'll happen. Here are four signings we'd love to see when NHL free agency opens Wednesday:
Kraken ensnare Hamilton
The Seattle Kraken should nab Carolina Hurricanes star defenseman Dougie Hamilton for several reasons.
The league's newest squad chose not to make any huge splashes in the expansion draft, passing on the likes of Carey Price and Vladimir Tarasenko for more affordable options. As a result, Seattle has nearly $31 million in cap space, and Hamilton is a franchise cornerstone defenseman who only turned 28 last month.
The Kraken did reportedly commit to inking steady blue-liners Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak, but Hamilton is a bonafide No. 1 rearguard who can anchor a power play and a defensive unit in general. The club could also use a right-handed shot like Hamilton for their top pairing since Mark Giordano, Carson Soucy, Vince Dunn, and Oleksiak are all lefties. Larsson should be in the team's top four, but Hamilton would be a major upgrade.
Seattle should swoop in and sign Hamilton - the move would more than solidify the Kraken blue line for years to come, and the NHL's 32nd team could justify the cost by having more than enough financial wiggle room.
Kraken land Landeskog
Would it be fun to watch Gabriel Landeskog continue to produce with the Colorado Avalanche on arguably the NHL's best line alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen? Sure. But it would be more interesting to answer the question, "How good would the Swedish winger be on an entirely different squad?"
How about a brand-new outfit that laid part of its foundation in last week's expansion draft and - even after signing Hamilton - would still have a bunch of money to spend on more core players that could carry the club for years? Landeskog would give Seattle a combination of playmaking ability, physicality, two-way prowess, and the leadership qualities that earned him the "C" with Colorado.