NHL teams are now allowed to meet with free agents of other teams, but no contracts can be signed until Friday when the free-agent market officially opens.
General managers normally don't have this window of time to talk with players and agents before the start of free agency. This will allow teams to better game plan for Friday and assess which players would best fill the holes and weaknesses on their roster.
There aren't any young, franchise-caliber talents (such as Zach Parise and Ryan Suter from 2012) in this year's class of UFAs, but there are many veterans available who would add important depth to the teams that sign them.
Let's look at the biggest difference-makers in the 2013 UFA class.
Note: All salary information via CapGeek. The following players were not considered for this list because I would be surprised if they don't re-sign with their current team: Daniel Alfredsson (OTT), Damien Brunner (DET), Patrik Elias (NJD), Teemu Selanne (ANA), Rob Scuderi (LAK).