Ranking the Top 10 Wingers in the 2014 NHL Free-Agent Class

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Ranking the Top 10 Wingers in the 2014 NHL Free-Agent Class
RICH SCHULTZ/Associated Press

There are a lot of great free-agent wingers that will be available July 1, and pursuing the right ones will be among this summer's most critical choices. There are aging top-line scorers like Jaromir Jagr and Jarome Iginla, offensive-minded talents like Thomas Vanek and Marian Gaborik and more complementary two-way options like Ryan Callahan. Where do they all rank?

To answer that, I used the same system introduced when we covered centers two weeks ago. Taking a list of free-agent wingers from Cap Geek, we estimated each player's value using a weighted historical average of each player's goals versus threshold (GVT), a high-level one-number stat provided by Hockey Prospectus.

Since the context in which a player is used can greatly influence their numbers, we also considered their location on a player usage chart, divided into left wings and right wings. That served to push those with softer assignments like Vanek down the list, in favor of those who handle the tougher minutes.

Speaking of those tougher minutes, honorable mentions go to shutdown wingers like Daniel Winnik, Nikolai Kulemin and Brian Gionta, who were not included amongst these primarily top-six options.

In the end, we ranked the 10 best available free-agent wingers, identified their strengths and weaknesses and identified what they could be worth. Let's begin!

 

All advanced statistics are via writer's own original research unless otherwise noted.

 

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