2013 NHL Free Agents: Topflight Offensive Weapons Set to Become Available

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMay 14, 2013

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 23:  David Clarkson #23 of the New Jersey Devils in action against the Florida Panthers at the Prudential Center on March 23, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Panthers 2-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Elite offensive talent is hard to come by in the NHL, which is why there is little room for error for teams in need of topflight offensive weapons each offseason.

Whether a club is searching for an experienced center to create some offense or an explosive winger to help score goals, it never hurts to improve on the attack. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the two best teams in the NHL this season, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins, were also the two top-scoring teams in the league.

Below we'll highlight a trio of topflight offensive weapons who will become free agents this summer.


Pascal Dupuis, RW

Pascal Dupuis has been a stud for the Pittsburgh Penguins this season, scoring 20 goals and tallying 18 assists while playing in all 48 regular-season games for the Eastern Conference-leading squad.

The 34-year-old Quebec native will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and based on his play this postseason for the Pens, he'll be a hot commodity this summer. Dupuis recorded seven points in Pittsburgh's first-round series win over the New York Islanders, scoring a team-high five goals and picking up two assists.

Dupuis has played the past five-and-a-half seasons in the Steel City, but he has emerged this season. His 14.3 shooting percentage during the regular season was the best of his career. 

Only Washington Capitals center Mike Ribeiro recorded more points than Dupuis among 2013 free agents this past season.


David Clarkson, RW

New Jersey Devils winger David Clarkson cooled off dramatically after recording 10 goals and seven assists through the first month-and-a-half of the regular season (20 games).

The 29-year-old, who has played his entire NHL career with the Devils, went on to finish the season with just 24 points (15 goals and nine assists). Still, Clarkson's mark puts him among the top free-agent goal scorers heading into the summer.

Believe it or not, Clarkson's 15 goals actually led New Jersey in 2012-13, as the Devils went on to finish 28th in the league in goals per game (2.3).

Although it's fair to wonder if Clarkson can consistently put together stellar offensive performances, there's no denying that he's one of the top offensive threats set to become available once free agency begins.


Michael Ryder, RW

The Montreal Canadiens brought right winger Michael Ryder over from the Dallas Stars midseason in 2013. But the former eighth-round draft pick may be headed elsewhere this summer.

An experienced player with over 200 career NHL goals and assists, Ryder is only 33 and has played some impressive hockey at times recently. He recorded 62 points for Dallas in 2011-12 and is coming off a year in which he racked up 35 points (16 goals and 19 assists).

Ryder only played 27 games for Montreal during the regular season but ranked toward the top of the squad with 10 goals and 11 assists over that time. Had he played the entire season north of the border, his 16 goals would have led the Canadiens in 2012-13.

Only Dupuis and Jaromir Jagr scored as many or more goals than Ryder among soon-to-be free agents this past season.


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