Danny Moloshok/Associated Press

The 2016 NHL free-agent season was over in 90 minutes—at least, the expensive part. The window of opportunity for teams to speak to free agents before July 1 meant extra time for players, agents and general managers to find the best available fits.

The salary cap for the coming year restricted many of the strong contenders, allowing middling teams and lower echelon clubs to step in and pitch their opportunities. In some cases, free agents took the road less obvious and may benefit from the experience.

Still other teams were forced to aim lower in free agency, thus giving a less obvious free agent a bona fide opportunity on a bigger stage. Some of these players will no doubt wash out, but it is worth it for a once in a lifetime chance.

Here are the 2016 free agents who will benefit the most from a change of address in the season to come.



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