Insider makes a troubling announcement regarding the UFA defense market

Mike Armenti
June 8, 2024  (9:45)

Elliotte Friedman
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman has confirmed something potentially troubling for contending teams about the market for defensemen ahead of free agency on July 1st.

With 3 weeks remaining until the opening of free agency, several NHL clubs are patiently waiting for their opportunity to make key additions without having to send out assets via trade.
The ability to spend only cap dollars to try to improve your team has made free agency a very popular avenue for GMs to address their team's needs, leading to one of the busiest stretches on the NHL's calendar, in terms of roster activity.
Unfortunately for the teams looking to bolster on defense, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman has confirmed that the market for defensemen will be very, very hot this summer, leading to some very high salaries.
"I had some guys telling me that there's some defencemen this year that are going to hit massive paydays."

Obviously, the two biggest names being connected to the Leafs in recent weeks have been Brett Pesce and Nikita Zadorov. Both players are looking to sign long-term deals in the $5.5M-$6.5M range, which likely far exceeds their actual value on the ice. Could Friedman's report mean that they could actually earn this type of money? More?
There are others potentially landing on the market this summer that may entice the Leafs if they swing and miss on their primary targets. Names like Brady Skjei and Brandon Montour, for example. A little bit further down the list, we have names like Tyler Myers, Matt Dumba and Shayne Gostisbehere that may entice the Leafs as well.
At any rate, for teams like the Leafs, who are already tight against the cap every season, an inflated market for defensemen could force the team to seek out defensive assistance on the trade market instead of overpaying a UFA.
We'll see where this all goes on July 1st.
8 JUIN   |   353 ANSWERS
Insider makes a troubling announcement regarding the UFA defense market

Will the Maple Leafs make a big splash on July 1st and sign one of the big name UFA defenders?

Yes14641.4 %
Hell, they might sign two of them7721.8 %
No, they'll steer clear of overpaying anyone7019.8 %
I really don't know what will happen6017 %
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