Top five UFA right wingers: Can Islanders keep Palmieri for another run?

New York Islanders' Kyle Palmieri (21) celebrates after scoring a goal during the second period of Game 6 during an NHL hockey second-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (Frank Franklin II / AP)

Last fall, we got our first taste of what NHL free agency looks like in a flat-cap world, particularly when it comes to scoring wingers. Many had to wait patiently for teams to clear space and navigate their situations, and we could see a similar trend this summer.

While the biggest offensive stars of this year's free agency class make their living down the left side, there are several strong scorers available at right wing, too.

The Montreal Canadiens made sure depth forward Joel Armia doesn't make it to free agency, signing the winger to a four-year deal Tuesday afternoon.

Here's a look at some of the top right wingers due new deals this summer.

Kyle Palmieri
Age: 30
2020-21 cap hit: $4.65M (Devils/Islanders)
The Smithtown, N.Y. native got off to a slow start with the New York Islanders but ultimately fit in well with his hometown team -- particularly in the playoffs, where he came alive with a team-leading seven goals (tied with Brock Nelson) and nine points in 19 games. The versatile forward, who's played along the left side, too, has expressed a desire to stay on Long Island, and GM Lou Lamoriello has echoed a similar sentiment.

"He is someone we have a strong intention to bring back, if possible,” Lamoriello told reporters last month.

That was last month, before the Islanders GM emerged from an impending cap crunch by off-loading Andrew Ladd ($5.5M AAV) to Arizona's books and trading Nick Leddy ($5.5M) to Detroit.

Now, with Jordan Eberle plucked away by Seattle via expansion, the cap space -- and the opportunity -- is there for Lamoriello to keep Palmieri in the fold after all.

Blake Coleman
Age: 29
2020-21 cap hit: $1.8 (Lightning)

SIGNED: Shortly after the opening of free agency, the Calgary Flames swooped and signed Coleman to a six-year pact, handing the versatile forward a hefty raise in the process. Coleman will earn an AAV of $4.9 million on the new contract.

Corey Perry
Age: 36
2020-21 cap hit: $750,000 (Canadiens)
In the past two seasons since the Anaheim Ducks bought out the final two seasons of Perry's long-term deal, the gritty winger has twice made it to the Stanley Cup Final -- first with the Dallas Stars, then with the Montreal Canadiens -- where he's far out-played the value of his contracts. Both times, he's come up clutch in key moments, bringing a physical, get-under-your-skin element that really shines in the post-season. While his high-scoring regular seasons might be behind him, Perry's proven he's got plenty of playoff hockey left in him and would be a wise pickup for a contender.

Alex Chiasson
Age: 30
2020-21 cap hit: $2.15M (Oilers)
His production took a nosedive this season -- he tallied just nine goals and 16 points in 45 games, a far cry from his 22-goal, 38-point campaign in 2018-19. With the Oilers making moves in free agency and on the trade front, a fresh start should be on the horizon for Chiasson. And in a league where depth scoring is so often the difference, the winger should be scooped up on a short-term, low-risk deal.

Bobby Ryan
Age: 34
2020-21 cap hit: $1M (Red Wings)
After being bought out by Ottawa last fall, Ryan joined Detroit on a low-risk, $1-million deal for the 2020-21 season. As the club navigated another year of its rebuild, Ryan offered strong leadership along with a decent offensive output in a depth role, to the tune of seven goals and 14 points in 33 games.

More RW names to watch: Nikita Gusev

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