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Guentzel, Reinhart, Stamkos top NHL free-agent list


Jon Cooper had Steven Stamkos right in his line of sight.

Speaking ahead of the NHL draft at the stunning Sphere auditorium about February's 4 Nations Face-Off tournament, the Tampa Bay Lightning head coach sat opposite a giant picture of his captain taken the day he was selected first overall in 2008.

Live coverage of TSN Free Agent Frenzy begins Monday, July 1 at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT on TSN1,, and the TSN App.

"I've been staring at him the whole time," Cooper said with a grin when asked about Stamkos, who is poised to hit the market Monday when free agency opens unless the team and player come to an agreement on a new deal.

"You know how I feel about him," Canada's coach for the 4 Nations continued. "This whole thing's a process."

Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois, however, subsequently said he met with Don Meehan, the agent for Stamkos, over the weekend.

"Our respective positions haven't changed," Brisebois said.

The Lightning then made a trade Sunday, picking up the rights to Jake Guentzel from the Carolina Hurricanes in hopes of signing the winger before other teams get the chance.

With all that in mind, The Canadian Press takes a look at some of the big-name free agents in this year's class:


AGE: 29

2023-24 SALARY CAP HIT: US$6 million

The winger might be the most sought after player when the clock strikes 12 p.m. ET on Monday — unless he signs in Tampa first. Guentzel was a trade deadline acquisition by Carolina from the Pittsburgh Penguins, finishing the season with 30 goals and 77 points in 77 games. He's put up 227 goals and 491 points in 520 regular-season contests. He's added 67 points (38 goals, 29 assists) in 69 playoff appearances.


AGE: 34

2023-24 SALARY CAP HIT: $8.5 million

The centre has twice won the Stanley Cup in his 16 seasons with the Lightning. Despite being on the wrong side of 30, Stamkos put up his second 40-goal campaign over the last three seasons. He has 555 goals and 582 points for 1,137 points over 1,082 regular season games with the Lightning. Stamkos has added 101 points (50 goals, 51 assists) in 128 playoff contests.


AGE: 28

2023-24 SALARY CAP HIT: $6.5 million

The winger is coming off a career-high 57-goal campaign — and added nine more in the post-season — with the Stanley Cup champion Florida Panthers after never scoring more than 33. Selected second overall by the Buffalo Sabres at the 2014 draft, Reinhart has 255 goals and 538 points in 696 career games. He's added 32 points (20 goals, 12 assists) in 53 playoff appearances.


AGE: 30

2023-24 SALARY CAP HIT: $3.5 million

The defenceman is among the top blue-line options set to become available after winning the Cup with Florida. Similar to Reinhart, he spent years finding his game elsewhere before getting settled with the Panthers. Montour had eight goals and 33 points in 66 games in 2023-24. He has 66 goals and 252 points in 520 career contests. Montour has chipped in 35 points (11 goals, 24 assists) in his 80 playoff appearances.


AGE: 29


The centre was acquired by the Vancouver Canucks from the Calgary Flames this season, but looks set to test the market. Lindholm will be a solid addition to whatever team secures his service despite having a down year that saw him put up just 15 goals and 44 points in 75 games. All told, he's amassed 218 goals and 557 points in 818 regular-season games. Lindholm has added 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) in 40 playoff contests.


AGE: 33

2023-24 SALARY CAP HIT: $5 million

One of the "Golden Misfits" from the original Vegas Golden Knights roster that stunned the hockey world by making it to the Cup final in their 2018 expansion season, Marchessault put up a career-high 42 goals points in 2023-24. The veteran winger's 69 points also rank second on his all-time stats sheet. Marchessault has 230 goals and 487 points in 638 regular-season games to go along with 76 points (36 goals, 40 assists) in 101 playoff appearances — including the Knights' title campaign of 2022-23.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2024.


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