10 Hottest Free Agents Who Will Get Paid This Offseason

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystMay 3, 2013

10 Hottest Free Agents Who Will Get Paid This Offseason

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    The NHL community is currently focused on another exciting installment of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but changes loom on the horizon. General managers are constantly collecting data and developing their own game plan for when the championship chase concludes.

    Free agency routinely reshapes the league's balance of power, and this upcoming summer should be no different. Accomplished veterans and emerging youngsters are sprinkled throughout the 2013 free agent pool.

    You can anticipate attention shifting toward those players as the number of postseason teams dwindles. Contract extensions have taken some of the premier projected free agents off the market, most notably Jimmy Howard (Detroit), Alexander Semin (Carolina) and Corey Perry (Anaheim). 

    Here's a peek at impending free agents who can expect to be busy fielding phone calls when the offseason gets underway.

10. Derek Roy

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    Current Team: Vancouver Canucks

    Position: C

    Age: 29

    2013 Salary Cap Hit: $4 million

    The nine-year pro is a proven commodity and immediately supplies a contender with an effective center and savvy leader. Roy has suited up in at least 78 games four times since 2008.

    He split the 2013 season between Dallas and Vancouver, totaling 28 points in the process. Roy spent his first eight seasons with Buffalo but could join his third team in 12 months when free agency begins.

9. Damien Brunner

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    Current Team: Detroit Red Wings

    Position: C

    Age: 27

    2013 Salary Cap Hit: $1.35 million

    Brunner has turned heads during the course of his one-year entry-level deal with Detroit. The center spent his early professional career in native Switzerland but seems to have caught on quite nicely in the NHL.

    He scored 12 goals and added 14 assists in 44 regular-season contests. The Red Wings are tied up to plenty of long-term contracts, including recently signed goalie Jimmy Howard, so Detroit must decide how highly it values Brunner after his debut season.

8. Stephen Weiss

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    Current Team: Florida Panthers

    Position: C

    Age: 29

    2013 Salary Cap Hit: $3.1 million

    Weiss has been a classy, professional player since Florida made him the fourth overall selection in the 2001 draft. The Toronto native owns 394 points as a member of the Panthers and established a franchise record for games played. 

    He has reached the playoffs just once in 11 NHL seasons, so it may be time for him to move on to a contender and pursue substantial postseason success. Weiss missed the final 31 contests of the 2013 campaign due to a wrist injury.

7. Pascal Dupuis

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    Current Team: Pittsburgh Penguins

    Position: RW

    Age: 33

    2013 Salary Cap Hit: $1.5 million

    Dupuis is 12 years deep into his NHL experience. His career was resurrected in Pittsburgh, where he has missed just 13 games in five seasons.

    Previously, he spent his playing days bouncing around the league. Dupuis played for three other teams, never posting very impressive numbers. 

    That's all changed with the Penguins.

    He is a Stanley Cup champion and owns 172 points in the past four regular seasons. Dupuis has 14 career playoff goals.

6. Nathan Horton

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    Current Team: Boston Bruins

    Position: RW

    Age: 27

    2013 Salary Cap Hit: $4 million

    The Toronto product bolted from Florida to join the Bruins in 2010. He played an integral role during Boston's run to the 2011 Stanley Cup title, tallying 17 points in 21 playoff games.

    Horton has played in more than 67 games just once since 2008, so there are some durability concerns. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2003 draft has scored 56 goals in three seasons with the Bruins.

5. David Clarkson

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    Current Team: New Jersey Devils

    Position: RW

    Age: 28

    2013 Salary Cap Hit: $2.7 million

    He has been a model of consistency in six full seasons with the Devils. Aside from an injury-plagued 2009-10 campaign,  Clarkson is 419-for-422 in games played.

    The Ontario native followed a 30-goal 2011-12 season with 15 goals and nine assists this year. Opposing teams will find it difficult to swoop in and steal Clarkson from the only NHL home he's ever known.

4. Valtteri Filppula

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    Current Team: Detroit Red Wings

    Position: C

    Age: 27

    2013 Salary Cap Hit: $3 million

    This wasn't a great season for the eight-year pro to build his free agent resume on (nine goals, eight assists) but his body of work is already established in Detroit. Filppula owns 100 goals and 150 assists since 2006.

    The Finnish standout is an athletic specimen and has been with the Red Wings organization since the 2002 NHL draft. He is one year removed from his strongest season as a pro (66 points in 2011-12).

3. Mike Smith

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    Current Team: Phoenix Coyotes 

    Position: G

    Age: 30

    2013 Salary Cap Hit: $2 million

    Smith became the top netminder on the market when Detroit signed Jimmy Howard to an extension. The seven-year veteran has played for three teams in his career and showed signs of improvement with the Coyotes.

    In two seasons with the Coyotes, Smith posted goals-against averages of 2.21 and 2.58. Those numbers are lower than the stats he put up in each of his three preceding seasons in Tampa.

    He is likely to follow in former Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's footsteps and exit the desert when free agency commences. 

2. Mike Ribeiro

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    Current Team: Washington Capitals

    Position: C

    Age: 33

    2013 Salary Cap Hit: $5 million

    Ribeiro impressed throughout his first regular season with the Caps. He flourished alongside superstar Alex Ovechkin, accumulating 49 points in 48 contests. 

    Ribeiro surpassed the 30-assist plateau for the ninth consecutive season, reaffirming his status as one of the game's elite distributors. The 13-year pro didn't miss a game this season, so that should boost general managers' confidence in the veteran.

1. Jarome Iginla

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    Current Team: Pittsburgh Penguins

    Position: RW

    Age: 35

    2013 Salary Cap Hit: $7 million

    Iginla's 15-year career as a Calgary Flames legend came to a halt when he was shipped to Pittsburgh at the trade deadline. He hasn't skipped a beat as a Penguin, collecting 13 points in 14 total games.

    His speed isn't quite as scintillating as it once was but he remains an all-around elite offensive talent. Iginla has tallied at least 67 points during every full season since 2000, including five campaigns that featured 80 or more points. 

    He hasn't scored fewer than 31 goals per season during that span. Iginla is a model of consistency and should have a stable of Stanley Cup contenders scrambling for his services this summer.