There are a number of big-name free agents set to hit the open market on July 28. Many of them held off signing extensions due to the looming Seattle Kraken expansion draft last week, but the attention has shifted with that out of the way now.
It's fair to say that Alex Ovechkin is certainly not leaving the Washington Capitals. However, it appears there's a good chance that most of the other free agents will at the very least entertain offers from teams around the league. Let's take a look at five players that would be best served by sticking with their current clubs rather than switching.
Phillip Danault, Montreal Canadiens
Danault appears ready to cash in on the open market after a strong playoff showing that resulted in a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Final with the Canadiens. The 28-year-old has transformed into one of the league's top defensive centers after being traded to Montreal in 2016.
It appears the Quebec native earned head coach Dominique Ducharme's trust to get the toughest assignments. Finding a similar role with a new team might prove difficult. His offensive skills aren't the best - he has a combined 30 goals over the past three seasons - but that doesn't entirely matter in Montreal if his strong defensive game continues.
The Canadiens roll out four strong lines, with Danault being the team's top center. Most of Montreal's forwards are set to return next season, so it would be in Danault's best interest to stick around and try to run things back after a miraculous playoff run.
Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers
Barrie put together one of the best statistical seasons of his career with the Oilers this past campaign, putting up 48 points in 56 games. The 29-year-old took a one-year deal with Edmonton to prove himself after a tough season with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019-20, and he did just that.
His defensive stats still weren't great, but Barrie wasn't brought in to be a shutdown defender. With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl leading the way up front, the Oilers need an offensive defenseman to help set things up in the zone and quarterback their menacing power play.
Barrie has made it clear he hopes to get more of a long-term deal, and Edmonton can now make it work with Adam Larsson not returning. For Barrie, it's hard to pass up the opportunity to keep playing with McDavid and Draisaitl in the coming years and continue thriving on the offensive side of the game.