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Frank Seravalli

TSN Senior Hockey Reporter

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While the #TavaresWatch is in play-by-play mode for the handful of teams handpicked to make the pitch to John Tavares, the interview period has been hectic for the rest of the NHL, too.

The other 25 or so NHL teams are sorting through a thin market on defence in an attempt to bolster their back end.

For a true impact defenceman, the best bet remains the Trade Bait board – which starts with two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson and also includes names such as Justin Faulk, Brandon Mountour and maybe even Colton Parayko.

The Free Agent Frenzy? That’s a little more tricky.

It’s Buyer Beware for Mike Green at No. 5, a big-ticket item who is coming off neck surgery last season that prevented him from moving at the trade deadline. He is one of just seven right-shot defencemen available though. Lefty Jack Johnson checks in at No. 9.

He may not have the same name recognition as Green or Johnson, but John Moore has rocketed toward the top of the class as a free agent in demand.

The Moore camp has fielded interest from more than a dozen NHL teams and has already conducted interviews with eight different clubs. 

Moore, 27, has seen his stock rise considerably as the prototypical “modern” mobile defenceman who can join the rush in today’s NHL while also remaining responsible in his own end. He is one of just three defencemen in TSN’s Top 75 Free Agent list who averaged 20 minutes or more in ice time last season – Green and Olympic gold-medal winner Dan Hamhuis are the others.

Stanley Cup champion Brooks Orpik (No. 18) could re-sign with the Capitals at a reduced price after being bought out by Colorado. 

Washington is still pushing to re-sign Michal Kempny, one of the best trade deadline value pick-ups in history, to keep their top four defencemen together. Agent J.P. Barry of CAA Sports has received interest from eight or more teams about Kempny, who was amazingly plotting his return to Europe before being plucked from Chicago.

(The Capitals are also still working to sign Devante Smith-Pelly, who was not issued a qualifying offer by Monday’s deadline, but he’s ready to cash in after playing playoff hero.)

Former Islander Calvin De Haan (No. 20) is also a hot commodity, fielding calls from as many as 10 teams, despite playing just 33 games last season due to injury. He can skate, so he’ll be paid. Two-time Stanley Cup champion Ian Cole (No. 21), seen as the glue on Pittsburgh’s back end during injury-riddled Cup runs, will also be a popular man on July 1. 

After Cole, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, with plug-and-play depth defencemen of varying talents and specialities available.

The San Jose Sharks raised some eyebrows when they did not qualify right-shooting defenceman Dylan DeMelo. He joined the board alongside other intriguing names Anthony Duclair, Tobias Rieder, Derrick Pouliot, Nick Shore and Nail Yakupov – all of whom were not qualified.

It’s possible not all of those players hit the market, as their teams may not have qualified them but remain interested and wanted to avoid the arbitration process.

Nonetheless, it’s been a stunning fall of grace for Yakupov, who was drafted No. 1 overall just six years ago by the Edmonton Oilers. Yakupov was ranked the fifth-worst top pick of all-time last week by TSN.

Yakupov joins the list at No. 42 on TSN’s Top 75 Free Agents available ahead of Canada Day:

 

The Top 75 FAs

 
RK Player Team Pos Age GP G PTS 17-18
1 John Tavares NYI C 27 82 37 84 $5.5M
2 James van Riemsdyk TOR LW 29 81 36 54 $4.25M
3 Paul Stastny WPG C 32 82 16 53 $7M
4 James Neal VGK LW 30 71 25 44 $5M
5 Mike Green DET RD 32 66 8 33 $6M
6 Tyler Bozak TOR C 32 81 11 43 $4.2M
7 Rick Nash BOS LW 33 71 21 34 $7.8M
8 David Perron VGK RW 30 70 16 66 $3.75M
9 Jack Johnson CBJ LD 31 77 3 11 $4.36M
10 Carter Hutton STL G 32 32 2.09 .931 $1.13M
11 John Moore NJD LD 27 81 7 18 $1.67M
12 Michal Kempny WSH LD 27 53 3 10 $900K
13 Thomas Vanek CBJ LW 34 80 24 56 $2M
14 Patrick Maroon NJD LW 30 74 17 43 $2M
15 Jonathan Bernier COL G 29 37 2.85 .913 $2.75M
16 Riley Nash BOS C 29 76 15 41 $900K
17 Derek Ryan CAR C 31 80 15 38 $1.43M
18 Brooks Orpik COL LD 37 81 0 10 $5.5M
19 Robin Lehner BUF G 26 53 3.01 .908 $2.25M
20 Calvin De Haan NYI LD 27 33 1 12 $3.3M
21 Ian Cole CBJ LD 29 67 5 20 $2.1M
22 Michael Grabner NJD RW 30 70 27 36 $1.65M
23 Anthony Duclair ARI LW 22 56 11 23 $1.2M
24 Tobias Rieder LAK LW 25 68 12 25 $2.25M
25 Devante Smith-Pelly WSH RW 26 75 7 16 $650K
26 Jay Beagle WSH C 32 79 7 22 $1.75M
27 Leo Komarov TOR LW 31 74 7 19 $2.95M
28 Kyle Brodziak STL C 34 81 10 33 $950K
29 Valtteri Filppula PHI C 34 80 11 33 $5M
30 Dan Hamhuis DAL LD 35 80 3 24 $3.75M
31 Matt Calvert CBJ LW 28 69 9 24 $2.8M
32 Anton Khudobin BOS G 32 31 2.56 .913 $1.2M
33 Tomas Plekanec TOR C 35 77 6 26 $6M
34 Petr Mrazek PHI G 26 39 3.03 .902 $4M
35 Blake Comeau COL RW 32 79 13 34 $2.4M
36 Thomas Hickey NYI LD 29 69 5 25 $2.2M
37 Chris Kunitz TBL LW 38 82 13 29 $2M
38 Mark Letestu CBJ C 33 80 9 23 $1.8M
39 Greg Pateryn DAL RD 27 73 1 13 $800K
40 Scott Hartnell NSH LW 36 62 13 24 $1M
41 Ryan Reaves VGK RW 31 79 4 10 $1.13M
42 Nail Yakupov COL LW 24 58 9 16 $875K
43 Kevin Connauton ARI LD 28 73 11 21 $1M
44 Brian Gibbons NJD C 30 59 12 26 $650K
45 Tim Schaller BOS LW/C 27 82 12 22 $775K
46 Toby Enstrom WPG LD 33 43 1 6 $5.75M
47 Luca Sbisa VGK RD 28 30 2 14 $3.6M
48 Dylan DeMelo SJS RD 25 63 0 20 $650K
49 Nick Holden BOS RD 31 73 4 17 $1.65M
50 Xavier Ouellet DET LD 24 45 0 7 $1.25M
51 Brandon Manning PHI LD 27 65 7 19 $975K
52 Brandon Davidson NYI LD 26 51 4 7 $1.43M
53 Joe Morrow WPG LD 25 56 6 16 $650K
54 Christian Folin LAK RD 27 65 3 13 $850K
55 Antoine Vermette ANA C 35 64 8 16 $1.75M
56 Brad Richardson ARI RW 33 76 3 15 $2.08M
57 Antoine Roussel DAL LW 28 73 5 17 $2M
58 Derek Grant ANA C 28 66 12 24 $650K
59 Eric Fehr SJS C 32 18 3 4 $2M
60 Jaroslav Halak NYI G 33 54 3.19 .908 $4.5M
61 Ondrej Pavelec NYR G 30 19 3.05 .910 $1.3M
62 Alexei Emelin NSH LD 32 75 1 9 $4M
63 Michael Hutchinson WPG G 28 3 3.26 .907 $1.15M
64 Nick Shore CGY RW 25 64 5 18 $925K
65 Matt Read PHI RW 31 33 7 16 $3.63M
66 Roman Polak TOR RD 32 53 2 12 $1.1M
67 Kris Versteeg CGY RW 32 24 3 8 $1.75M
68 Daniel Winnik MIN LW/C 33 81 6 23 $660K
69 Cam Ward CAR G 34 43 2.73 .906 $3.3M
70 Scottie Upshall STL LW 34 63 7 19 $800K
71 Luke Schenn ARI RD 28 64 1 7 $1.25M
72 Daniel Carr MTL LW 26 38 6 16 $725K
73 Chris Wagner NYI C 27 79 7 16 $637K
74 Tommy Wingels BOS RW 30 75 9 17 $750K
75 Logan Shaw MTL C 25 72 4 14 $650K