NHL Free Agency: Who Will Pursue Each of 2013's Top Free Agents?

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IDecember 28, 2012

NHL Free Agency: Who Will Pursue Each of 2013's Top Free Agents?

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    The 2013 NHL free-agency period is expected to be one of the biggest classes in recent memory, and players like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Jarome Iginla and Alex Edler will be the top pieces on the market.

    With so many free agents slated to be available, there are going to be a number of teams like the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs that should be actively shopping to overhaul their rosters.

    Here are the top 2013 free agents to be and the top teams that should actively pursue them.

Ryan Getzlaf

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    Likely Suitors: Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres

    Ryan Getzlaf will be the top center on the free-agent market in 2013, so expect many of the teams that were interested in Brad Richards in 2011 to line up for the Anaheim Ducks' top center.

    There are tons of teams that could be interested in Getzlaf, but the above teams have the highest need for a top center.

    Getzlaf is a center with size, skill and a history of production so he stands to really capitalize on the open market.

Corey Perry

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    Likely Suitors: Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators

    Corey Perry is a scoring winger who plays with an edge, and that will make him appeal to many teams during free agency.

    He is a player who could stand to make a lot of money on the open market, so expect big market teams to get into a bidding war with Perry.

    After many teams missed out on Zach Parise last summer, they will be eager to make up for it by signing Perry in 2013.

Mike Smith

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    Likely Suitors: New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks

    Mike Smith will be the top goaltender available in 2013, because the Detroit Red Wings should be able to lock up Jimmy Howard as soon at the lockout ends.

    Nonetheless, Smith is a goaltender who contended for the Vezina Trophy in 2011-12, so he has a lot of potential moving forward.

    Any team that has a dire need for a future starting goaltender will be interested in Smith because he has the potential to be a star goaltender.

Travis Zajac

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    Likely Suitors: Toronto Maple Leafs, Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators

    Travis Zajac will be the No. 2 center on the free-agency market, and he is a young center with a bright future.

    He may be targeted by teams that miss out on Ryan Getzlaf, but Zajac could be one of the most underrated pickups of the next free-agency class.

    Zajac has already proved he can be an effective 60-point center, but he has the potential to exceed that in the future.

    Teams that need a bona fide top-six center will be willing to dish out cash for Zajac on the open market.

Alex Edler

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    Likely Suitors: Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators

    Alex Edler will be the best defenseman available in 2013, and he is going to get paid in a huge way during the next free-agency period.

    The Vancouver Canucks will be sorry they didn't negotiate a new contract with Edler before the lockout, because his skill will be rewarded in a big way.

    Edler is a offensively minded defenseman who has gradually improved over the past few years, and he is also a solid positional defender.

    Given his age, teams could shell out a ton of money for Edler, because they will use him as a franchise building block.

Ryane Clowe

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    Likely Suitors: Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators

    Ryane Clowe is going to be one of the top wingers on the market in 2013, and teams will be interested to see if he can return to top form.

    He is a secondary scorer, so teams that want to add some truculence and offense will take an interest in Clowe.

    He is a physical winger who has offensive upside, so if he can return to 62-point player he was in 2010-11, he should have no problem earning a solid contract.


Joffrey Lupul

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    Likely Suitors: Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers

    Joffrey Lupul had a career year in 2011-12, so many teams will watch to see if he can repeat his efforts in 2012-13.

    Lupul is a dual threat as a playmaker and scorer, so he should be a valuable commodity once he hits the open market.

    His speed, quick release and ability to be an offensive threat at all time will make him one of the top scoring wingers on the open market.

Nathan Horton

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    Likely Suitors: Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs

    Nathan Horton is a truculent power forward who loves to throw his size around. He is a player who also will play with an edge, and he drops the gloves when necessary.

    He will be a secondary option during the free-agency period, so don't be surprised if teams are hesitant to show interest at first. 

Jarome Iginla

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    Likely Suitors: Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers

    Jarome Iginla is a veteran forward who is going to be a future member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and he is a player who has not yet won a Stanley Cup.

    With Iginla approaching the back end of his career, he will likely sign with a Stanley Cup contender if he tests free agency.

    He is a player who could be the final piece to add to a potential contender, so expect Iginla to garner tons of interest in July of 2013.

Mike Ribeiro

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    Likely Suitors: Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders, Nashville Predators, Anaheim Ducks

    Mike Ribeiro is going to be a center who generates a lot of interest on the free-agency market. He is a player who has a lot of skill and creativity but he is a player who has the reputation of being a diver.

    Nonetheless, Ribeiro will be a top target in 2013, and teams needing to upgrade their center depth will take a flyer on the former Dallas and Montreal pivot.

Michael Ryder

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    Likely Suitors: Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Coyotes

    Michael Ryder is a right winger who is capable of scoring 25 goals or more a season, so teams looking a low-risk and potential high-reward forward will show some interest in the former Bruin and Hab.

    Ryder is coming off a great season so if he can at least match his production in some capacity when the NHL is "unlocked" he should be in good shape for free agency.