by OddsShark (@OddsShark)
There are only 19 players in the NHL who make more than $75 million right now, but the odds of a new free agent joining that club this summer is listed as a pick’em at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com with the price on each side sitting at -120 (wager $120 to win $100).
So will center Matt Duchene or winger Artemi Panarin become the next members as two of the most coveted free agents, or will they fall short of that large number?
Last summer, All-Star center John Tavares spurned the New York Islanders and left for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs with a seven-year contract worth $77 million. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings also re-signed All-Star defenseman Drew Doughty to an eight-year deal worth $88 million.
Even though Duchene and Panarin are great players, neither of them seems to be in the same class as Tavares or Doughty in terms of being the cornerstone of a franchise. Of course that does not mean some team won’t still pay them like they are franchise players anyway, but it might be more of a long shot.
That said, the Nashville Predators are big -325 favorites on the NHL free agency odds to sign Duchene when the free agency window opens on July 1 while the Florida Panthers are -115 chalk to pick up Panarin over the New York Rangers (+215). Duchene just met with the Predators after already visiting with the Montreal Canadiens, who are the +550 second choice. The Panthers just hired Panarin’s former head coach with the Chicago Blackhawks Joel Quenneville to lead the team, and he visited the Rangers too on Wednesday.
One more key free agent worth mentioning is the top goaltender on the market – Sergei Bobrovsky. Florida’s former goalie Roberto Luongo retired on Wednesday following 19 seasons in the league, opening the door for Bobrovsky to replace him.
That would explain why oddsmakers have the Panthers as -280 favorites to sign him on those NHL odds, with the Islanders second at +425. The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the mix as well at +1000 and figure to be a contender considering he has spent most of his career there so far.
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