During the lead-up to NHL free agency opening on Oct. 9, we’re taking a look the top UFAs at each position. Today, we’re targeting the centremen who could garner the most interest on the open market.

This year’s class at centre presents some interesting cases. Unlike in the past few seasons, there isn’t really a star centreman up for grabs who can significantly change your team’s makeup. There are, however, several strong depth options — some with top-six upside, and others offering valuable veteran experience and an opportunity to win.

It’s worth noting that several of the players here, while officially listed at centre, often slot in — and have even seen some of their most successful seasons — along the wing. That’s particularly true as most of these players have been in depth roles at various points in the season. We’ve highlighted some of those versatile forwards here, listing them as centres because of their tendency to suit up there and their upside at the position.

1. Mikael Granlund
2019-20 team: Nashville Predators | Age: 28
2019-20 stats: 17G, 13A, 30Pts in 63GP
2019-20 cap hit: $5.75M
Even with that disclaimer about centres who sometimes disguise as wingers, it still feels necessary to acknowledge Granlund in this context — in part because his success at each position has been a topic of much discussion in both Minnesota and Nashville.

It wasn’t so long ago that Granlund was one of Minnesota’s top young stars, factoring heavily into the team’s top-scoring tallies and rising as one of the club’s most talented young playmakers and forwards of the future. But a trade to Nashville at the 2018-19 deadline, which saw Kevin Fiala heading to the Wild in return, brought on a series of struggles for the Finnish forward. His next deal could reflect that, making him a strong contender for a short-term deal to revive his production before properly cashing in a few seasons down the road.

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During the lead-up to NHL free agency opening on Oct. 9, we’re taking a look the top UFAs at each position. Today, we’re targeting the centremen who could garner the most interest on the open market.

This year’s class at centre presents some interesting cases. Unlike in the past few seasons, there isn’t really a star centreman up for grabs who can significantly change your team’s makeup. There are, however, several strong depth options — some with top-six upside, and others offering valuable veteran experience and an opportunity to win.

It’s worth noting that several of the players here, while officially listed at centre, often slot in — and have even seen some of their most successful seasons — along the wing. That’s particularly true as most of these players have been in depth roles at various points in the season. We’ve highlighted some of those versatile forwards here, listing them as centres because of their tendency to suit up there and their upside at the position.

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1. Mikael Granlund
2019-20 team: Nashville Predators | Age: 28
2019-20 stats: 17G, 13A, 30Pts in 63GP
2019-20 cap hit: $5.75M
Even with that disclaimer about centres who sometimes disguise as wingers, it still feels necessary to acknowledge Granlund in this context — in part because his success at each position has been a topic of much discussion in both Minnesota and Nashville.

It wasn’t so long ago that Granlund was one of Minnesota’s top young stars, factoring heavily into the team’s top-scoring tallies and rising as one of the club’s most talented young playmakers and forwards of the future. But a trade to Nashville at the 2018-19 deadline, which saw Kevin Fiala heading to the Wild in return, brought on a series of struggles for the Finnish forward. His next deal could reflect that, making him a strong contender for a short-term deal to revive his production before properly cashing in a few seasons down the road.

2. Erik Haula
2019-20 team: Carolina Hurricanes + Florida Panthers | Age: 29
2019-20 stats: 12G, 12A, 24Pts in 48GP
2019-20 cap hit: $2.75M
Haula was excellent during the Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season, tallying 29 goals and 55 points. Unfortunately, a serious injury prevented him from hitting that same level of success in his second year, and trades to the Carolina Hurricanes and then Florida Panthers saw him start to hit his stride but never fully reach that same level as he did in 2017-18. Health will factor into his next deal, but considering his high ceiling and serious versatility — he plays enough left wing to be listed at that position, too — he’ll surely garner plenty of interest on a short-term deal.

3. Carl Soderberg
2019-20 team: Arizona Coyotes | Age: 34
2019-20 stats: 17G, 18A, 35Pts in 70GP
2019-20 cap hit: $4.75M
Another veteran who’s spent considerable time on the wing, Soderberg followed up his career-high 23 goals in 2018-19 in Colorado with his second-best total of 17 this year in Arizona after being dealt to the desert in June 2019.