NHL.com goes Behind the Numbers to examine trends during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and offseason. Today, a look at some unrestricted free agents who should be on the radar of teams because of their strong statistics.

NHL.com goes Behind the Numbers to examine trends during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and offseason. Today, a look at some unrestricted free agents who should be on the radar of teams because of their strong statistics.

NHL.com goes Behind the Numbers to examine trends during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and offseason. Today, a look at some unrestricted free agents who should be on the radar of teams because of their strong statistics.There likely will be plenty of talented players available as unrestricted free agents when the market opens Oct. 9. In a potentially large class with varying skill sets, it’s important to look beyond the basic numbers to underlying statistics to find players who could make significant contributions.
Behind the Numbers has identified three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie who could be among the best in the unrestricted free agent class, according to advanced stats.
Forwards
Tyler Toffoli — The 28-year-old made an immediate impact with the Vancouver Canucks, scoring 10 points (six goals, four assists) in 10 regular-season games after being acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 17. Toffoli was fourth in points per 60 minutes with the Canucks during the regular season (2.43), behind forwards J.T. Miller (2.62), Elias Pettersson (2.59) and Micheal Ferland (2.45), and was second in goals per 60 minutes (1.62), behind forward Zack MacEwen (1.89). Toffoli’s shot attempts differential (SAT) was notable this season; he was plus-218 in 58 games with Los Angeles to lead Kings forwards and plus-10 with the Canucks in 10 games. Those numbers suggest Toffoli is among the most valuable potential unrestricted free agent forwards available.
Evgenii Dadonov — The 31-year-old was fourth on the Florida Panthers during the regular season with 47 points (25 goals, 22 assists) in 69 games. He tied forward Mike Hoffman for the Florida lead with 11 power-play goals, and his 167 shots on goal were third behind Hoffman (214) and center Aleksander Barkov (172). Dadonov’s plus-61 SAT was even more impressive considering the Panthers finished minus-29. Dadonov’s power-play production combined with his puck possession metrics at 5-on-5 make him a well-balanced forward for any team looking to improve in those areas.
Mikael Granlund — The 28-year-old center declined from averaging 0.69 points per game over seven seasons with the Minnesota Wild to 0.44 in 79 games over two seasons with the Nashville Predators after being acquired in a trade Feb. 25, 2019. Despite the drop in production, he scored 17 goals this season, the third-highest total of his NHL career (26 in 2016-17, 21 in 2017-18). Granlund also led Nashville forwards in average time on ice per game during the regular season (17:48), showing he can be trusted in all situations. 
Defensemen
Alex Pietrangelo — The 30-year-old’s plus-140 SAT was second on the St. Louis Blues behind defenseman Vince Dunn’s plus-176. Pietrangelo led the Blues with a plus-38 SAT when ahead in games, suggesting he helped to preserve leads. From a leaguewide perspective, his plus-140 SAT ranked 19th among defensemen, and his plus-38 when ahead in games ranked ninth at the position. The St. Louis captain also was tied for sixth in the NHL among defensemen with 22 power-play points (six goals, 16 assists). Pietrangelo’s six power-play goals were tied for second among defensemen with Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins, behind Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers, who led the NHL with seven. Pietrangelo’s 5-on-5 puck possession metrics combined with his power-play ability make him one of the most intriguing potential unrestricted free agent defensemen.
Kevin Shattenkirk — The 31-year-old ranked 20th in the NHL among defensemen in SAT during the regular season (plus-136) and third among Tampa Bay Lightning skaters, behind forwards Nikita Kucherov (plus-180) and Brayden Point (plus-142). Shattenkirk scored 34 points (eight goals, 26 assists) in 70 games this season, his highest regular-season total since 2016-17, when he scored 56 points (13 goals, 43 assists) in 80 games with the Blues and Washington Capitals. Shattenkirk was 11th among NHL defensemen this season in points per 60 minutes (1.35; minimum 55 games played), and averaged 17:13 of 5-on-5 ice time per game. Shattenkirk’s advanced stats suggest he still can be a valuable offensive defenseman and possibly even contribute more with increased ice time.
Goalie
Anton Khudobin — The 34-year-old led the NHL in save percentage (.930) and even-strength save percentage (.945) among goalies who played at least 20 games this season. He was 16-8-4 for the Dallas Stars during the regular season and had the second-highest percent of games started with at least a .900 save percentage (76.9 percent), behind Darcy Kuemper of the Arizona Coyotes (82.8 percent) . Khudobin’s stats were impressive this season considering the Stars provided little goal support, ranking 26th in the NHL in goals per game (2.58). His even-strength save percentage and his quality-start percent make him among the most valuable options at the position. Khudobin has continued his strong play in the postseason, going 13-8-0 with a 2.72 goals-against average and .918 save percentage, including a .927 even-strength save percentage, to help Dallas make it to the Stanley Cup Final.

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