Ranking the Top 10 Free-Agent Right Wingers Available This Offseason
This July, Jarome Iginla of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Michael Ryder of the Montreal Canadiens and David Clarkson of the New Jersey Devils will be some of the most sought-after right wingers of the NHL's free-agent market.
These players are set to make millions of dollars as free agents, and many teams will try to sign them as soon as possible. Here are the top 10 right wingers who will be available this offseason.
10. Milan Hejduk
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Milan Hejduk is a veteran winger whose best days are behind him, but he still can be an effective third-line player. Hejduk was a valuable member of the Colorado Avalanche during his younger years, but he is now known for his leadership skills.
He is 37 years old, but Hejduk still should draw some interest from teams during free agency.
9. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
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Pierre-Marc Bouchard is a talented forward who has been with the Minnesota Wild since 2002, and he likely won't be re-signed. He has had problems remaining healthy throughout his career, and he hasn't been able to fully actualize his offensive capabilities.
In the right situation Bouchard might be able to fully realize his potential, and teams should be willing to take a risk on the 29-year-old winger.
8. Jaromir Jagr
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Jaromir Jagr is one of the greatest right wingers to ever lace up a pair of skates, but Father Time is catching up to him. Jagr has always been a great offensive threat—especially on the power play—but he can't stay on the ice very long.
He noticeably appears winded after extended shifts, and he needs a reduced role. Teams interested in Jagr should realize that he will be most effective if he is limited to 16 minutes or less a game. By doing this, Jagr can still have an impact, but he won't have to carry a team offensively.
There should be many teams interested in this future Hall of Famer, but Jagr isn't getting any younger.
7. Damien Brunner
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Damien Brunner had a solid rookie season in the NHL, and he scored 26 points in 44 games. The 5'10" right winger should draw a lot of interest when he hits the open market because he oozes creativity.
At first Brunner was having a problem making plays on a smaller ice surface, but he compensated and started to thrive as the season continued. He is also an asset in the shootout and excels on the power play.
Brunner will be a hot commodity on the free-agent market, and his age and upside make him valuable.
6. Brad Boyes
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Brad Boyes had an amazing 2012-13 campaign, and it was his best season since 2008-09. Boyes found great success playing alongside John Tavares this season, and he scored 35 points in 48 games.
Boyes was also a very disciplined player, and he only racked up 16 penalty minutes. Although some could argue that Boyes was a by-product of Tavares, the majority of his points came from setting up his teammates.
Any team looking for an established playmaker who can run a power play should show interest in Boyes, because his point shot is also a strong part of his overall game.
5. Nathan Horton
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Nathan Horton made his return to action this year after being limited to 46 games in 2011-12 because of concussion-related symptoms. Horton scored 22 points in 43 games and is a power forward who still has a ton of potential.
He has averaged 0.68 points a game throughout his career, but he is also a player who likes to get physical along the boards. Horton is a pain to play against, and he is a power forward who would fit well with almost any team in the NHL.
4. Michael Ryder
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Michael Ryder averaged 0.76 points per game this season with the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens. He is a a 33-year-old right winger who has a knack for finding the net. Ryder is also a skilled playmaker who is a fixture on the power play.
Ryder is a great player to use in the top six, and he should draw significant interest from teams that need an experienced scoring winger.
3. David Clarkson
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David Clarkson is a power forward who should draw a ton of interest on July 5 because of his size and offensive abilities. Clarkson has shown that he can be a solid secondary scorer, and he is also a rugged and physical winger.
Clarkson is entering his prime years, and his ability to inject energy into the lineup is one of his most valuable intangibles.
He should draw a ton of interest from multiple teams, and it is unlikely that he will re-sign with the New Jersey Devils.
2. Pascal Dupuis
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Pascal Dupuis has really developed into a quality player since joining the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he should capitalize during free agency this summer. After averaging between 0.39 points a game and 0.46 points a game, Dupuis has averaged over 0.70 points a game in his last two season.
Dupuis had a career-high 25-goal season in 2011-12, and he finished with 20 in a shortened 48-game season in 2012-13. He is a great player who does a lot for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they may not be able to give him a significant raise from the $1.5 million he currently makes.
Dupuis has always been a great defensive two-way forward, and his recent offensive outburst will make him very valuable during free agency.
1. Jarome Iginla
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Jarome Iginla will draw the most attention on July 5 as the NHL's top free-agent right winger. Iginla is a future Hall of Famer who can still be a top scorer, and he would really be an asset to any team in the NHL.
Iginla is a top-six winger who may test free agency depending on how his season with the Pittsburgh Penguins ends, and things will be interesting on free-agent day. If Iginla doesn't win the Stanley Cup this year, it is fair to say he will sign with the team who is closest to winning one.