10 Free Agents Whose Prices Will Soar Once NHL Lockout Ends

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2012

10 Free Agents Whose Prices Will Soar Once NHL Lockout Ends

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    The NHL lockout has made fans desperate for hockey.

    They pray that the lockout will be a short one and that a reasonable regular season will be played and the postseason will remain intact.

    The thought of making a big splash in free agency next summer is not one of their foremost thoughts. However, if the NHL and the Player's Association come to an agreement and a season is played, teams will be able to improve themselves through free agency.

    The overall revenue that players receive may be less a year from now, but the top free agents will always command big money.

    Here are the players who could see big jumps in their salary when they become free agents in 2013.

    Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks and Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers would have been at the top of the list, but they signed new contracts before the lockout.

    All current salary figures are provided by NHLNumbers.com.

No. 10, David Clarkson, New Jersey

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    David Clarkson scored 30 goals last season for the Devils and is clearly an improving player. After scoring 49 goals total in his previous four seasons, Clarkson asserted himself for the Devils.

    He will be a free agent after the 2012-13 season and is scheduled to earn $3 million this season. If he can put up another 25 to 30 goals, he should easily be able to increase his salary during the offseason.

No. 9, Ryane Clowe, San Jose

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    Ryane Clowe has one more year on a contract that will pay him $4 million in 2012-13.

    Clowe, 30, is a mainstay for the San Jose Sharks. He has scored 82 goals during the last four seasons by establishing his presence in front of the net and making dirty plays.

    Clowe is a physical player who is not afraid to throw off his gloves and stand up for himself and his teammates. He had 97 penalty minutes last year and exceeded the 100-minute mark in the previous two seasons.

No. 8, Nathan Horton, Boston

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    Nathan Horton is scheduled to make $5.5 million with the Boston Bruins this season.

    Horton forever etched himself into the hearts and memories of Bruins fans with a near-legendary performance in the 2011 playoffs.

    He scored two overtime goals in the series victory against the Montreal Canadiens, including a blast that beat Carey Price to win the seventh game. He also scored the game-winning goal in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    That goal propelled the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks.

    Horton's contribution in the finals was limited after he suffered a concussion in Game 3 following a nasty hit by Vancouver's Aaron Rome. However, that hit was one of the rallying points that propelled the Bruins to the Stanley Cup.

    Horton scored 26 goals for the Bruins in 2010-11 and had 17 more in 46 games last year before another concussion kept him off the ice the rest of the season.

    A solid season by Horton will make him a popular free-agent target.

No. 7, Brenden Morrow, Dallas

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    Brenden Morrow is scheduled to make $4.1 million for the Dallas Stars this season.

    He played in 57 games and scored 11 goals last season.

    However, he is capable of filling the net. He had 33 goals in 2010-11.

    If Morrow can stay in the lineup and come up with his share of clutch goals, he should be able to cash in with a big payday as a free agent.

No. 6, Stephen Weiss, Florida

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    The Florida Panthers surprised many NHL observers by winning the Southeast Division title last season. They extended the New Jersey Devils to seven games before bowing out of the playoffs.

    Stephen Weiss, 29, has been one of the Panthers' mainstays since the 2006-07 season. He is scheduled to make $4.1 million and is coming off a 20-goal season.

    If he can stay healthy, repeat his production and the Panthers make the playoffs again, he should be in line for a big payday next summer.

No. 5, Patrik Elias, New Jersey

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    Patrik Elias has been a productive player for the New Jersey Devils since the 1997-98 season.

    Elias, 36, does not have a lot of time left in the NHL, but he did score 26 goals and 78 points last year. He is scheduled to earn $5 million with the Devils this season.

    If he can score at a similar rate this season, he should be able to get a sizable free-agent contract during the summer. It may be for a shorter term, but he will get paid once again.

    While he has been very dependable for the Devils, he has the kind of talent that would pay off for any contending team.

No. 4, Alex Edler, Vancouver

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    Defenseman Alex Edler is one of the mainstays of the Vancouver Canucks.

    Edler, 26, is scheduled to make $3.25 million this year. He could command one of the top salaries on the market next summer.

    Edler scored 11 goals and 38 assists last year and is an outstanding puck carrier and skater. He should be one of the better defensemen in the league for many years to come.

No. 3, Valtteri Filppula, Detroit Red Wings

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    The 2012-13 season could be a huge year for Valtteri Filppula of the Detroit Red Wings.

    The 28-year-old center is coming off of his most productive season, scoring 23 goals and 43 assists. Much more will be expected from him this year.

    Filppula has game-breaking talent and he could increase his point totals if he shot more often.

    He is scheduled to earn $3.5 million this season and could see a big increase with an explosive 2012-13 season.

No. 2, Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim

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    Ryan Getzlaf has endured three frustrating season with the Ducks after looking like a sure star his first three seasons.

    Getzlaf, 27, has scored 49 goals the last three seasons after scoring 74 the previous three seasons. However, Getzlaf has the size (6'4" and 217 pounds), strength and skating ability to turn things around again.

    If he can put together an explosive season in 2012-13, teams will be knocking on his door and offering him big money. However, if he can't get back his old form, it will be difficult for teams to offer him a huge deal.

    He is scheduled to earn $6.125 million this season.

No. 1, Jarome Iginla, Calgary

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    Jarome Iginla has been a monster goal scorer for the Calgary Flames since his rookie year in 1996-97.

    Iginla, 35, has scored 30 goals or more for 11 straight seasons and has twice topped the 50-goal mark.

    He is brute strong and can dominate in front of the net. He also has a vicious wrist shot and he can score from the outside.

    He seems to be the ideal player for any team that needs a dependable goal scorer to get over the top and make itself a contender.

    He is scheduled to make $7 million this season.