6 Free Agents That Can Help Detroit Red Wings in 2013

Garrett KolodziejContributor IISeptember 5, 2012

6 Free Agents That Can Help Detroit Red Wings in 2013

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    There are different ways to which hockey teams build their clubs.

    Some prefer to acquire a cesspool of quality prospects and let their games grow in the junior hockey circuit and other leagues. Others are only focused on the short-term ramifications and use free agency to build their hockey club. 

    Which ever way you think works best for your respective team, there is no question that July 1st feels like a hockey holiday. It is on July 1st that Free Agency begins for all thirty organizations. This is a perfect chance for teams to reverse their fortunes and land marquee players to gigantic contracts.

    That was the hope for the Red Wings going into the 2012 offseason. Progress was made in addressing problems with this team, but an immediate fix to losing legend Nicklas Lidstrom was not solved.

    Here you will find six free agents who are about to test the waters in 2013 that can benefit from playing with Detroit. Several factors (age, position, salary, plus/minus, etc.) will be used to determine those who can lead the Red Wings back to winning their twelfth Stanley Cup in the team's history.

    The order of these players does not signify whether they should be the main focus or a distant thought. It is only an opinion.

Chris Higgins No. 20, Left Wing

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    Age: 29

    Shoots: Left

    Salary (2011-12): $1.9 million (Source: capgeek.com)

    Team: Vancouver Canucks

    Impact: When Christopher Higgins is healthy, his true offensive prowess comes out. His 2011-12 season saw him score 43 points in 71 games. He has been primarily used as secondary scoring depth in a lethal Vancouver offense.

    That role might have this native of Smithtown, N.Y. bolting the Canucks in hopes of earning top-six minutes. He had three 20-goal seasons in his days with Montreal.

    Since then, he has failed to eclipse that mark. Higgins would be given ample opportunity to provide spark and 20 goals in Detroit's offense. And with a reasonable contract offer, the price might be right on this former first rounder.

Ladislav Smid No. 5, Defenseman

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    Age: 26

    Shoots: Left

    Salary: $2.25 million (according to capgeek.com)

    Team: Edmonton Oilers

    Impact: If there was a definition of a stay-at-home defenseman, Smid would fit the bill.

    After losing Brad Stuart in a trade to San Jose, the Red Wings are looking for a no-holds-barred player who is a good puck mover. Smid has proven in only six professional seasons that he is truly a premiere shut-down specialist.

    In 78 games, he punished 186 opponents in 2011-12. He also blocked 184 shots last season, ranking as seventh best in the NHL.

    The salary for some may be too high for an unproven commodity. There is still much to love about adding a player like Smid to the Red Wings. He would give them a steady defensive presence that would make opponents think twice. 

Manny Malhotra No. 27, Center

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    Age: 32

    Shoots: Left

    Salary: $2.5 million (according to capgeek.com)

    Team: Vancouver Canucks

    Impact: Despite the logjam of secondary forwards the Red Wings currently have, Malthotra would cater to many of the Red Wings' major needs. The team lacks a true faceoff specialist for their third and fourth lines. Malhotra would give them success in that area.

    Last season, he won 536 total faceoffs and converted on 58.5 percent of the faceoffs he took.

    At age 32, he brings with him a lengthy NHL career that has spanned more than a decade. His salary for a player of his caliber is a bit of a gamble. Yet, a gamble on a dependable faceoff specialist who sparks energy could prove to balance out an offense that's already best in the league.

Mark Streit No. 2, Defenseman

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    Age: 34

    Shoots: Left

    Salary: $4.1 million (according to capgeek.com)

    Team: New York Islanders

    Impact: While most interest will be on Flyers' D-man Kimmo Timonen, a perfect "Plan B" will be on the market in Mark Streit.

    His 2011-12 season would be a rebound from a scrapped 2010-11 campaign due to a torn labrum and rotator cuff that sidelined him for more than six months. Streit is a crafty puck mover who has anchored the Islanders' back end for the past three seasons now.

    While his numbers have been good with shoddy talent in Long Island, a player like Streit would flourish with all of the talent in the Motor City. Detroit's only problem might be if the Islanders extend a contract to him first.

    And also age will play into a question as he will be 35 at the time of free agency. 

Joffrey Lupul No. 19, Left Wing

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    Age: 28

    Shoots: Right

    Salary: $4.25 million (according to capgeek.com)

    Team: Toronto Maple Leafs

    Impact: For Joffrey Lupul, the 2013 offseason will bring many choices.

    He could re-sign with the team who has given him a multitude of opportunities to flourish into one of the game's rising stars. He also could leave Toronto to pursue a larger role with a team in contention for the playoffs on an annual basis.

    Whatever he decides, the Red Wings should make the case to offer a contract to Lupul. He will be 29 next offseason and is coming off his best statistical season ever (67 points in 66 games). He also has a hard shot and is creative in the offensive zone. Not to mention he is an instant slot on the first or second line.

    But many teams may pass on Lupul due to his past injury concerns and one breakout season. 

Jarome Iginla No. 12, Right Wing

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    Age: 35

    Shoots: Right

    Salary: $7 million (according to capgeek.com)

    Team: Calgary Flames

    Impact: This veteran will arguably be the marquee free agent of this stellar cesspool of players. And rightfully so as Iginla has grown into one of the game's elite.

    He has spent his entire career (fifteen seasons) with the Calgary Flames and in 2011-12 scored his 500th career NHL goal. Yet, this superstar has failed to etch his name on the Stanley Cup as a member of the Flames. He came within one game of doing so in 2003-04.

    Since then, the Flames have fizzled into the NHL's basement.

    The likely scenario might be that Iggy re-signs with Calgary to finish his career. But if the power forward looks elsewhere to win now, you can surely bet the Red Wings staff will give an arm and a leg for this future Hall of Famer. 

Other Notable Names to Hit Free Agency in 2013

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