Look Ahead to the Top-10 Free Agents Who Could Be Available in 2024

As the 2023 NHL offseason winds down and heads into a very slow month of August, let's jump ahead 12 months and navigate what's going to be an absolutely loaded free-agent class next summer. There's going to be some big names on the 2024 open market and there's no doubt some major changes are on the way before you know it. Here's the best of the best UFA's who could be available in 2024:

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

Leafs GM Brad Treliving is working tirelessly to get this deal done as there has already been some progress after their face-to-face meeting in Arizona a couple of weeks ago. If Matthews hits the open market, all hell will break loose in Toronto and around the league. Where ever it is (likely with the Leafs), expect to see Matthews sign a deal which makes him the highest-paid player in the league.

Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes

Another player, like Matthews, who may be a long shot to make it to market, Aho has come a long way since signing an offer sheet with the Montreal Canadiens. There's contract talks ongoing and it sounds like Aho's open to taking a little less for the benefit of the team.

William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs

Another big job for Treliving and the Leafs, Nylander is much more likely to leave Toronto based on their financial structure and his contract demands. Treliving is trying to get Nylander signed under $9 million per season and apparently so far, they've gotten nowhere. Nylander is a clutch player who has put up 29 points in his last 30 Stanley Cup Playoff games; the bidding war would be very fun to watch. 

Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

There's been a lot of back and forth about what's really going on in Winnipeg, but from what we know, Hellebuyck doesn't want to stick around for a rebuild. There's been a culture change around the Jets so this season there's a ton of pressure to perform. If Hellebuyck gets traded, he likely won't be hitting the open market next summer. If he finishes the season in Winnipeg, he'll be the best goaltender available.

Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets

There may be a lot of holes in his game from a 200-foot lens, but Scheifele is a number one center who works hard and can score with ease. If an extension doesn't get completed before the puck drops next season, there's a chance he could be moved in-season by the Jets. In 496 career games, Scheifele has put up 214 goals and 286 assists. 

Elias Lindholm, Calgary Flames

There's been a lot of chatter about how Lindholm has rejected several extension offers to date and so far the trade winds haven't picked up in a major way. Lindholm's going to get a huge raise from his current $4.85 million salary. One player who should be considered a prime trade candidate before the start of next season.

Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins

Another one of those long shots, Guentzel loves playing with Sidney Crosby and the feeling is mutual. There's a lot of changes happening to the culture in Pittsburgh and Guentzel's been a staple of their winning ways for years. He'll have to take less if he wants to stick around the Penguins organization.

Devon Toews, Colorado Avalanche

One of the best all-around defenseman in the entire league, Toews is a huge part of the Avs winnings ways. He's currently on a bargain deal at $4.1 million and will be looking for a massive raise next summer. If he hits the open market, Toews will be cashing in to some silly money.

Brett Pesce, Carolina Hurricanes

One of the most underrated defenseman in the league, Pesce enters his final season of his contract in 2023-24. As a righty, the interest will be significant and there's already been some trade chatter coming out of Carolina this summer. He's making just over $4 million in 2022-23 and will be in for a nice raise next offseason.

Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals

While Sam Reinhart, Tyler Bertuzzi or Noah Hanifin could likely be here, Wilson rounds out our top-10. He's an intimidating factor on the ice and if he's able to keep his health in check, Wilson can still produce among a top six. Washington is trying hard to get an extension done this summer so the distraction doesn't hover throughout next season.

Honorable mentions: Jonathan Marchessault, Steven Stamkos (extension coming soon with Lightning), Joe Pavelski, Alec Martinez, Tyson Barrie, Chris Tanev, Matt Murray, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brady Skjei, Brandon Montour

Photo credit:   Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports