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Top 25 NHL free agents for 2016

Steven Stamkos is the biggest name hitting the market this summer. But the decisions made by other big free agents -- like Milan Lucic and Loui Eriksson -- will also have a major impact on the 2016-17 season and those that follow. AP Photo, Getty Images

For years, the NHL’s unrestricted free-agent classes were on the decline. Teams locked up their young players to long-term deals and a consistently rising cap meant there was usually room to do the deals they wanted to do.

This year, it’s different.

There’s a superstar in Steven Stamkos, who may still hit unrestricted free agency, which is normally unheard of in the cap era. Even if he signs in Tampa Bay, there’s still a lot of difference-making talent on the market.

The challenge is finding a landing spot for these players when teams are so short on salary-cap space.