NHL Free Agency: 5 Bargain Players That Teams Should Take a Chance on
While big-name free agents like Zach Parise, Alexander Semin and Michal Roszival are sure to land hefty contracts in the offseason, there are still those gritty players that won't receive as much cash come July 1st.
But remember it's always quality, not quantity.
Along with Los Angeles' Trevor Lewis and Alec Martinez, New Jersey's Stephen Gionta and Petr Sykora all helped their respective teams get to the Stanley Cup Finals. All four of them made under $1 million in 2012.
Whether it's an up-and-coming stud or a seasoned NHL veteran, there will always be reasonably priced free agents available.
Here are five free agents whose cheap contracts won't result in cheap performances.
Veteran Scott Clemmensen did a solid job backing up Jose Theordore in 2011-12. Clemmensen finished the regular season with a 14-6 record and a GAA of 2.57 for the Florida Panthers. He even appeared in net during the postseason when Theodore stuggled.
As a lifelong backup, Clemmensen's only starting experience came after an elbow injury put Martin Brodeur on the shelf for four months in 2008.
In the 40 games he started for New Jersey, Clemmensen finished with 25 wins and a GAA of 2.39.
He had a cap hit of $1.2 million last season and his reasonable contract could save money in the long run.
After spending three years away from the NHL, the Jaromir Jagr experiment in Philadelphia showed positive results this season.
Nobody expected him to put up 100 points last season (something he's done five times in his illustrious career), but his ability to set up scoring chances and contribute on a consistent basis was key to the Flyers' success in 2012.
Jagr made $3.3 million in his first year in Philadelphia and his veteran leadership and postseason experience helped guide a Flyers team to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Although their exit was far too early for their expectations, Jagr still finished with 54 points in the regular season, good enough for third on the team.
His name alone will put fans in the seats for any team that signs him, and he'll still put up numbers while keeping a very generous contract for owners.
Willie Mitchell was one of the most outstanding defenseman of the entire 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Mitchell helped shut down some of the league's top forwards during the Kings' Stanley Cup run. In the finals, he helped limit high-powered New Jersey forwards Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk to a combined total of two points.
Although he's only played a full 82-game season once during his 11-year NHL career, Mitchell can still hang with the best defensemen in the NHL.
No doubt he will be one of the most sought after D-men if the Kings choose not to renew his contract.
His $3.5 million contract was the second highest for a Kings' defensemen this season behind Drew Doughty, but he was worth every penny after he helped lead an L.A. team that finished second in the league in goals against per game during the regular season.
Although Tomas Holmstrom is near the end of his career, the lifelong Detroit Red Wing can still play.
2011-12 was one of Holmstrom's worse years statistically, but his 74 games played helped a Detroit team that struggled to find its identity for a majority of the season.
His 180 career playoff games make him one of the most experienced free agents available and if he's not on a team with players like Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Franzen, his offensive numbers are sure to increase.
Just like Tomas Holmstrom, 39-year-old Mike Knuble had one of his worst seasons in 2012.
The Washington Capitals' alternate captain made $2 million last season while putting up a beyond disappointing 18 points in 72 games.
His productivity has decreased over the last two seasons, but he still has the durability and the experience to help guide the young guns of the NHL.
Knuble enjoyed his greatest success as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers almost a decade ago when he had three-straight seasons with at least 50 points.
Knuble's never gone deep in the postseason in his career, but is more than capable of helping any contender lift the Stanley Cup.
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