Free agency is the time that any team can sign any player who is a unrestricted free agent, and most of the time it means mediocre players will be given massive contracts (Ex. David Clarkson, Matt Niskanen). Here are some of the bigger names of the 2015 free agency class that are guaranteed to get a raise and cash in this free agency:
Cody Franson, Toronto Maple Leafs, current contract: 1 year, $3.3 million
Franson signed three consecutive 1 year deals with the Maple Leafs, and contract negotiations have always been ugly between the two sides. He plays a top line defensive role this season, produces offensively, is very physical, has size at 6'6", and is a right handed shot defenceman. Long story short, Franson is going to be a rich man come free agency. Everything he possesses is extremely rare to find in a player, and he has been proving his skill all season long. He has a rocket of a shot, and teams have already begun calling the Leafs about the possibility of trading for Franson. A long term deal in the $5.5-$6 million range is what Franson has every right to command when signing a new contract.
Mike Ribeiro, Nashville Predators, current contract: 1 year, $1.05 Million
Ribeiro was a point per game player with the Washington Capitals in the lockout shortened season, and he currently has 36 points in 41 games played. When July 1st comes around, teams will be calling for Ribeiro's services and it is very likely he will have an abundance of options to chose from. He is the type of player that needs support and decent players to play along side to generate points, as he has great skill but not enough to do it on his own. This will influence his decision in free agency and teams looking for a productive centre will be giving him a big raise from his current salary.
Antoine Vermette, Arizona Coyotes, current contract: 5 years, $18.75 million
Vermette is already on the trade block, as the Coyotes know that if they don't pay him big time other teams will and they will lose Vermette for nothing come free agency. To keep it simple, this is the type of player that will cash in and make more than he should. His point production (27 points in 41 games) isn't that good, but with the rumors are saying he could command $5.5-$6 million this off season. This potential salary certainly does not reflect his current point production; however he can still add depth to a forward group and bring veteran leadership. He will be 33 years old, and some team might regret giving him a long term contract given that his play has declined over the last couple of years.
Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers, current contract: 1 year, $3.5 million
The undersized winger is never afraid to go into the dirty areas of the ice, and will take a hit to make the play. He has good offensive numbers, and is still young. He is effective on the powerplay and has excellence possession numbers. Any team looking for speed will be giving Zuccarello a call on July 1st, and he will most definitely receive a raise from his $3.5 million salary.