Top NHL free agent defensemen: Hamilton on market


With the NHL free agent signing period about to begin, there are several teams in need of a defenseman who can play top-four minutes or provide leadership in a third-pair role. takes a closer look at the top unrestricted free agent defensemen expected to be available when the market opens July 28 (listed in alphabetical order):

Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers

Barrie bounced back this season, leading NHL defensemen with 48 points (eight goals, 40 assists) in 56 games after he scored 39 points (five goals, 34 assists) in 70 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. The 29-year-old has scored at least 48 points five times in the past seven seasons and at least 21 power-play points four times in that span. Barrie has scored 394 points (88 goals, 306 assists) in 610 regular-season games with the Oilers, Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche.

Video: EDM@VAN: Barrie cleans up rebound down low

Zdeno Chara, Washington Capitals

The oldest player in the NHL proved he could play at a high level, scoring 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 55 games this season. The 44-year-old was a physical presence who averaged 18:19 of ice time and led the Capitals in shorthanded ice time per game (2:41). Chara was second on Washington in blocked shots (67, two behind John Carlson) and had 88 hits, second among Capitals defensemen (Brenden Dillon, 143). He has scored 666 points (207 goals, 459 assists) in 1,608 regular-season games with the Capitals, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders. Chara won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011.

Cody Ceci, Pittsburgh Penguins

The 27-year-old scored 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) and was an NHL career-high plus-18 in 53 games this season. Ceci led the Penguins in blocked shots (70) and was fifth in hits (74), averaging 18:31 of ice time per game. He has scored 143 points (37 goals, 106 assists) in 549 regular-season games with the Penguins, Maple Leafs and Senators, and likely will be a more affordable option than some other unrestricted free agent defensemen.

Alex Goligoski, Arizona Coyotes

Though the offense may be down — he scored 22 points (three goals, 19 assists) in 56 games this season, his fewest since scoring 20 in 45 games as a rookie in 2008-09 — Goligoski is a veteran leader who can play in all situations. The 35-year-old was second on the Coyotes in ice time per game at 23:00 behind Jakob Chychrun (23:23) and first in shorthanded ice time (164:31), and he had seven assists on the power play. He also was tied for ninth in the NHL in blocked shots (108) with Scott Mayfield of the Islanders. Goligoski has scored 429 points (83 goals, 346 assists) in 924 regular-season games with the Coyotes, Dallas Stars and Penguins. He won the Cup with the Penguins in 2009.

Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes

Hamilton is likely the top defenseman available, having scored at least 10 goals and 39 points in each of the past seven seasons. He scored 42 points (10 goals, 32 assists) and was plus-20 in 55 games this season, and has scored the most goals among NHL defensemen (59) in the past four seasons. The 28-year-old averaged 22:43 of ice time per game, including a Carolina-high 3:03 on the power play. Hamilton has scored 341 points (106 goals, 235 assists) in 607 regular-season games with the Hurricanes, Calgary Flames and Bruins, including 104 power-play points (28 goals, 76 assists).

Video: CAR@NSH, Gm6: Hamilton beats Saros at the backpost

Adam Larsson, Edmonton Oilers

Larsson is a shutdown defenseman who ranked second in the NHL with 128 blocked shots (40 behind Alec Martinez, of the Vegas Golden Knights) and was fifth in hits at the position (166) this season. He averaged 19:39 of ice time per game, including 2:18 on the penalty kill. The 28-year-old scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 56 games and has scored 137 points (25 goals, 112 assists) in 603 regular-season games with the Oilers and New Jersey Devils.

Alec Martinez, Vegas Golden Knights

Martinez scored 32 points (nine goals, 23 assists) in 53 games and led the NHL with 168 blocked shots this season. The 33-year-old was plus-26 and was second on Vegas in average ice time per game (22:34) behind Alex Pietrangelo (24:26). He has scored 238 points (73 goals, 165 assists) in 660 regular-season games with the Golden Knights and Los Angeles Kings. Martinez won the Cup with the Kings in 2012 and 2014.

Brandon Montour, Florida Panthers

Montour scored 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 50 games with the Panthers and Buffalo Sabres this season. He averaged 20:29 of ice time per game and was relied on to kill penalties, averaging 1:44 of shorthanded ice time per game. The 27-year-old has scored 109 points (31 goals, 78 assists) in 293 regular-season games with the Panthers, Sabres and Anaheim Ducks, and would be a good addition for a team seeking help on the second or third pair.

Mike Reilly, Boston Bruins

Reilly, who turns 28 on Tuesday, is coming off his best offensive season in the NHL with 27 assists in 55 games with the Bruins and Senators. Reilly is reliable and can handle a steady workload; he averaged 19:18 in ice time per game this season and has increased that total in each of the past five seasons. He has scored 80 points (eight goals, 72 assists) in 259 regular-season games with the Bruins, Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild.

David Savard, Tampa Bay Lightning

Savard was one of the most sought-after defensemen before he was acquired by the Lightning in a three-team trade April 10. The 30-year-old scored six points (one goal, five assists) averaging 19:51 of ice time in 54 games with the Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets this season, when he was one of seven players with at least 100 hits (132) and 100 blocked shots (109). He has scored 166 points (41 goals, 125 assists) in 611 regular-season games with Tampa Bay and Columbus, and won the Cup with the Lightning this season.

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