NHL Free Agency: 10 players to watch for above all else

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NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – APRIL 05: Andrew Copp #18 of the New York Rangers skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on April 05, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

On the heels of an incredible Stanley Cup Finals, NHL free agency is closing in.

The Colorado Avalanche emerged victorious over the Tampa Bay Lightning to win this year’s Stanley Cup in a thrilling series.

With the deciding series in hockey now behind us, it’s time for teams to turn their attention to the draft, taking place on July 7 and July 8, and then to NHL free agency, which opens up July 13th at noon ET.

Some of the potential stars set to become free agents have already inked new contracts with their current clubs including Bryan Rust of the Penguins, Mark Giordano of the Maple Leafs. Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith have reportedly agreed to re-sign with the Bruins and Golden Knights, respectively, as well.

NHL free agency: Who are 10 players to keep an eye on?

#10 – Center Andrew Copp (New York Rangers)

Few deadline acquisitions made more an impact than Andrew Copp did for the New York Rangers after coming over via trade from the Winnipeg Jets. Copp is a versatile player who can fill in wherever he is needed and that holds tremendous value in today’s game.

Going through free agency for the first time in his eight-year career, Copp is in line for quite the payday after his stock began to shoot through the roof as a member of the Rangers.

Copp, still just 27 years of age, scored 18 points in 16 games for New York in the regular season and then 14 more in the playoffs. He did everything right in an effort to secure some serious money in free agency.

#9 – Defenseman John Klingberg (Dallas Stars)

29-year-old John Klingberg is one of the most valuable defenders in this year’s free agent class and is in line for a serious payday. He signed a very team-friendly deal with the Stars that is set to expire and he will finally be able to get his raise that he’s more than earned.

A three-time All-Star, Klingberg hasn’t been able to repeat his 2017-18 season where he scored a career-high 67 points, but he remains one of the best offensive defenseman in the game. In 74 games for the Stars last season, Klingberg put up 47 points in the regular season and an additional point in the playoffs.

Klingberg is a well-respected part of this Dallas Stars club and it’s been reported that both player and team would be open to a new contract. The only issue with that is the fact that the Stars have already committed a good portion of their money to Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Ryan Suter. The desire to bring him back is there but the money may not be.

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