Analytics Predict Top 5 UFA D-Men Contracts This Summer

We're just over a month away from unrestricted free agency kicking in, and there are several solid NHL defensemen in the 2024 free agent class. It's still possible that one or two of the below could be re-signed to an extension by their current teams, and perhaps the contract might even look something like what's listed below.

AFP Analytics has used its advanced player valuation tools to come up with this list of the top pending UFA blueliners and what their projected contract should look like: 

Topping the list is the Florida Panthers' Brandon Montour. The 30-year-old right-shot D is coming off a very team-friendly 3-year, $3.5 million AAV deal, and according to AFP is set to more than double his salary, on a 6-year contract worth $7.7M annually. We'll see if the Panthers are able to beat other teams to the punch by re-signing him before it reaches that point. 

Brett Pesce, 29, is potentially on his way out of Carolina after nine years, where the Hurricanes have a slew of key UFAs and RFAs to deal with this offseason. He just finished up a 6-year, $4.025M cap hit pact, and the Analytics crew pegs him at being able to land a 5-year deal worth $6.2M, for a 50% raise.

The LA Kings will have a tough decision to make on Matt Roy, another right-shot D-man, who's coming off a 3-year, $3.15M AAV deal. He's expected to be able to command a 5-year pact at a cap hit of $5.8M.

Dylan DeMelo posted a +46 rating this season, and is due for a nice raise from his $3M salary the past four years. The Winnipeg Jets will have some tough decisions to make on how to try to retain both DeMelo and the team's other key UFA blueliner Brenden Dillon. DeMelo could be in for a raise to $5.3M according to AFP.

Rounding out the top 5, Chris Tanev is still potentially adding to his value as the Dallas Stars compete in the Conference Finals. Though at age 34, the analytics predictor sees him getting only a slight raise from his current $4.5M to $4.7M over a potential 3-year deal.

Photo: © Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports