Top 3 Cap-Friendly UFA Forwards This Summer

For NHL teams whose cap space doesn't afford them the luxury of swimming in the deep end of the free agent pool this summer for the likes of Jake Guentzel, Sam Reinhart, Steve Stamkos or Elias Lindholm, let's propose a more affordable set of forwards who will be available in the shallow end of the open market pool. 

These three under-the-radar UFAs come July 1st would make for solid cap-friendly adds to any team's lineup, at likely in the range of a $3 million cap hit. 

Dakota Joshua

The Vancouver Canucks under-rated forward is coming off a career season, at a bargain rate. His two-year, $825 million AAV deal has expired, and he'll be riding a career-best 18 goals and 32 points in 63 games into unrestricted free agency. The 6'3" power forward also handed out a punishing 245 hits and recorded an impressive +19 rating. 

Daniel Sprong

A former second-round pick, Sprong had a breakout year in 2022-23 with the Seattle Kraken, eclipsing the 20-goal mark for the first time in his then-7-year career. He followed that up this season with the Detroit Red Wings with an 18-goal performance, along with 43 points in mainly a 4th-line role, in only 12 minutes per night. The speedy forward is still a well-kept secret, so his $2 million price tag from this past season might not increase significantly past the $3M mark.

Jordan Martinook

The Carolina Hurricanes find themselves in a bind this offseason, with no less than nine pending UFAs. Obviously, their focus will be on re-signing the likes of Guentzel, Teuvo TeravainenBrady Skjei and Brett Pesce. That could leave their longtime middle-six winger in the lurch, and having to find himself a new home on the open market. Coming off a three-year, $1.8 million AAV, and back-to-back years of 13 and 14 goals, while playing a solid checking role, he should still be very affordable. 

Honorable mention goes to the Red Wings' David Perron (17 goals, 47 points), Yakov Trenin of the Colorado Avalance (12 goals, +15 rating), and possibly Anthony Duclair of the Tampa Bay Lightning, though his 24-goal season likely pushes him over the $4M mark.

Photo: © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports