NHL Free Agents 2012: Alexander Semin and Best Playmakers on the Market

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 22:  Alexander Semin #28 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on January 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

With the 2012 NHL free agency period kicking off on July 1, talk about where the biggest playmakers will land has become the focal point. People want to know where stars like Zach Parise and Alexander Semin will play in 2013.

The rumor hot stove is sure to be scolding as free agency approaches, and no names will be talked about more than Parise, Semin and Jaromir Jagr.

All of the following players will be the focus at the start of free agency, but don’t expect them to wait very long before signing deals.

 

Alexander Semin

No one will ever mistake Alexander Semin as a great defender or a player who brings a lot of grit, but he can score the puck with the best of them. The Washington Capitals are likely to pass on the streaky scorer, though, allowing the free agency feeding frenzy to begin.

Despite a dip in his offensive production over the last two years, Semin’s stock is still through the roof because of the 70-80 point seasons he potentially has in him. With an offense catered to his strengths, Semin could be a top-tier offensive threat.

Semin was held back by the Capitals focus on Alexander Ovechkin, but if he can find a home with a team like the Detroit Red Wings that knows how to get the most out of their players, he will thrive.

 

Zach Parise

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04:  Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils looks on as Dustin Brown #23, Anze Kopitar #11, Justin Williams #14 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate Kopitar's goal in the second period of Game Three of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at S
Harry How/Getty Images

If there is one player on the free-agent market in 2012 who is the crown jewel, it would be New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise.

The best two-way player of this group, Parise’s attention to detail has made him a force in the offensive zone, as well as one of the best fore-checkers in the NHL. Add in the 30-plus goals he’s had in each of the seasons he has been healthy and Parise is the complete package.

Throughout the process of becoming a free agent, Parise has declared that he wants to play for a winner, and that will decide his future. While that was the best way to walk away from New Jersey, their recent run to the Stanley Cup has complicated matters.

When all is said and done, Parise stays in the swamps of Jersey.

 

Jaromir Jagr

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 08: Jaromir Jagr #68 of the Philadelphia Flyers gets ready to play against the New Jersey Devils in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 8, 2012 in Phil
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With the Philadelphia Flyers uncertain if Jaromir Jagr will be willing to re-sign with the team, they must watch as their veteran winger tests the free agency pool.

Teams like Montreal, Detroit and Pittsburgh all expressed interest last year during his return to the NHL, but the 40-year-old chose the Flyers. After being bounced early in the playoffs, Jagr has a big choice in front of him.

Jagr has many options, but most likely he'll stay in Philadelphia. With a budding star in Claude Giroux centering his line, the veteran winger played like he was a kid again. Jaromir’s best chance at a cup in 2013 is with the Flyers.

 

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