NHL Free Agency Brings Big Risers, Fallers In Stanley Cup Futures Market

Nashville Predators fans cheer on their team during an NHL game against the St. Louis Blues at Bridgestone Arena on April 4, 2024 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The first day of the National Hockey League’s free agency period is behind us, and what a day it was. Blessed with a maximum 5% salary cap ceiling increase for the first time since 2018/19, teams used the newfound money in their pockets to spend over a billion dollars combined on player contracts. This has led to many new looks, and a good chunk of teams who saw significant shifts in their early odds to win the 2024/25 Stanley Cup.

The Biggest Risers and Fallers

Nashville Predators+3500+1800St. Louis Blues+4500+5500
Tampa Bay Lightning+3000+1800Pittsburgh Penguins+4000+5000
Washington Capitals+8000+5000New York Islanders+3300+4500
Chicago Blackhawks+15000+10000Florida Panthers+900+1300
Seattle Kraken+6000+5000Columbus Blue Jackets+12500+20000

The two teams with the most impactful rises in yesterday’s frenzy happen to share a common thread. The Nashville Predators emptied the tank in pursuit of high-end talent on Monday, signing or extending ten players but largely focusing on three key adds. Winger and 2023 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Marchessault heads over from Vegas, defenceman Brady Skjei makes the jump from Carolina, and in perhaps the biggest shock of all, Steven Stamkos is heading to Smashville.

The availability of Tampa’s captain was made possible by the Lightning’s own push to improve their overall game, headlined by the signing of winger Jake Guentzel to a seven-year deal. While Guentzel’s point totals were lower last year, his 5-on-5 play was much more well-rounded, leading the Bolts to feel their money was better spent there. It’s bittersweet from a fan appreciation standpoint but a necessary move from a long-term success standpoint.

Edmonton Oilers to win 2024/25 Stanley Cup


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Just beneath them, Washington made a proportional jump thanks to the addition of Matthew Roy to an already active summer, along with trading for Jakob Chychryn from Ottawa. Chicago is still far away from contention but moving much further from the bottom by acquiring Tyler Bertuzzi, Tuevo Teravanien, and Laurent Brossoit. The Seattle Kraken made a leap through signing Brandon Montour and Chandler Stephenson.

The biggest fallers generally slid not through losing top players but through their divisions getting better, though Florida has some blue-line holes to fill with the departure of Montour and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Toronto).

Standing Firm – Contenders & Rebuilders

Edmonton Oilers+800+850Calgary Flames+6600+6600
New Jersey Devils+1000+900Montreal Canadiens+8000+8000
Dallas Stars+900+950Utah Hockey Club+8000+8000
Colorado Avalanche+1000+1100Anaheim Ducks+15000+15000
Carolina Hurricanes+900+1100San Jose Sharks+35000+35000

Much of the top and bottom class didn’t see significant changes, though they still made their share of moves. The Western Conference Champion Edmonton Oilers’ slight dip was particularly interesting, given that the team, by all accounts, had a great day at the office, signing Viktor Arvidsson and Jeff Skinner to reasonable deals while re-upping Corey Perry and Connor Brown.

The New Jersey Devils barely missed out on our risers list, thanks to the signings of Brett Pesce, Brenden Dillon, and former Devil Stefan Noesen, along with trading for Jonathan Kovacevic the night before.

On the bottom end, no realistic moves would’ve saved the teams at the bottom from their longshot status. Signing Tyler Toffoli and Alex Wennberg, for example? These solid adds may have bumped up a top team, but they are meaningless from a 2025 Stanley Cup perspective on the 32nd-projected San Jose Sharks. Perhaps they’ll become trade deadline pieces that bump a team up in a few months time.

The Upper And Middle-Mid

New York Rangers+1200+1300Los Angeles Kings+2500+5500
Toronto Maple Leafs+1500+1400Detroit Red Wings+3300+5000
Vancouver Canucks+1400+1400Ottawa Senators+3300+4500
Vegas Golden Knights+1600+1600Buffalo Sabres+4000+4500
Boston Bruins+2000+1800Philadelphia Flyers+4500+5000
Winnipeg Jets+2500+2500Minnesota Wild+4500+5500

Lastly, we have the pretty-good to mediocre class, and not a lot has changed here. Even teams that made decently big splashes, like the Bruins (Nikita Zadorov and Elias Lindholm) and Maple Leafs (Chris Tanev and Oliver Ekman-Larsson), still have to answer the question of whether they’re better bets than top teams who also made improvements, and to this stage, the answer is probably not. Something that could cause some movement in this tier is the ongoing situation with Jacob Trouba, who the Rangers are reportedly looking at moving, and the Red Wings are looking at acquiring.

Ultimately, the offseason doesn’t end on July 2nd – far from it, as teams have made signings and trades even while this piece was being put together – so keep following along with Canada Sports Betting for the latest odds and analysis as we get closer to puck drop!