NHL Rumors: Top 5 Forwards Expected to Hit Free Agency in 2023

There was a lot to unpack this summer as the NHL's offseason was entertaining at times and shocking at others. While there's still a number of talented free agents available on the open market, this segment's focus is next summer, when some star players are going to be available to sign. Let's dive into five big names set to hit the open market in 2023:

Patrick Kane

There's been a ton of trade rumors lately surrounding Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, as he wants nothing to do with a five-year rebuild in the windy city. Kane will be 34 years old next summer but has shown he's far from slowing down anytime soon. 
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The all-star winger recorded 92 points in 78 games last season and is entering the final season of his contract, setting him up to make $10.5 million on the books. He won't demand that kind of ticket next summer, but it will be close depending on the length of the deal. There's a decent chance the team who acquires Kane this season tries to sign him to a contract extension, but if he hits the open market in 2023, early contenders include the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Vladimir Tarasenko/Ryan O'Reilly

The St Louis Blues have some big decisions to make as their young core is ready to take over and they have veterans Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O'Reilly coming up for extensions. The Blues will have $24 million to work with next summer, however will prioritize their captain O'Reilly over their one-time disgruntled winger. 
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If they underachieve this season, expect to see Tarasenko dealt, meanwhile don't be surprised if O'Reilly's extension gets done during next season. As for Tarasenko targets, look for the Washington Capitals to be very interested next summer.

J.T Miller

The Vancouver Canucks and J.T Miller's camp continue to try and work out an extension this summer, but to this point the team's confidence is lower. Miller is coming off a monster season and has taken his game to another level of late. The versatile forward will be 30 years old next summer, and will have a long list of suitors ready to make offers. Bo Horvat's contract will certainly come in to play here. 

Jonathan Huberdeau

Look away Calgary Flames fans as the bad may be getting worse. It's going to take a lot of wins and some serious dough to keep Jonathan Huberdeau in Calgary as he's gone from playing hockey in the sunshine to the dead of winter in Calgary. Management has already made an impression, but it's going to be tough to keep 'Huby' around long-term. Expect to see him test the market next summer and headline a list loaded with high-end talent.

Honorary mention to Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche who is likely staying put and signing an extension in the coming months, along with David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins who isn't expected to leave Boston. If things for some reason go south for either player, next summer will be even crazier.

photo credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports