What’s your team need? The top NHL free agents available

Some leftovers from the first few days of the NHL free-agent signing period could have a greater impact on teams than some of the players signed Monday on the first day. Some intriguing players still available:

Jake Gardiner, defence: Once Erik Karlsson opted to stay with San Jose, Gardiner was the most accomplished defenceman available. There has been considerable discussion about his defensive faults, but the Leafs blueliner does many things right, averaging 21 minutes, 21 seconds per game and earning the reputation as a good skater and a slick puck carrier with the potential to push toward 50 points in a season. He’s 28.

Marcus Johansson, forward: Another impressive skater, Johansson was often the most noticeable player on the ice for the Bruins during the Stanley Cup final. He fits well into any team’s middle-six forward group. He has scored as many as 24 goals in a season.

Micheal Ferland, left wing: He can score (53 goals the last three seasons with Calgary and Carolina) and play with edginess. That will earn him a raise from the $1.75 million (U.S.) he made last season with Carolina.

Brian Boyle, centre: At six-foot-seven, he’s one of the NHL’s prickliest role players. Boyle can win important draws, kill penalties or be a net-front presence on the power play.


Jason Pominville, right wing: With so many teams looking to bolster offence, Pominville, 36, still seems desirable. He scored 16 goals each of the last two seasons in Buffalo, but he’s five years removed from his last 30-goal season.

Patrick Marleau, left wing: He scored 16 goals for the Leafs, but his options are limited by his desire to play near his West Coast home. And he’ll be 40 in September.

Patrick Maroon, left wing: He’s a rugged role player who scored a key goal in the Blues’ Stanley Cup run.

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