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.