NHL Free agency is just hours away. Consequently, there are a lot of players available to sign with new teams. This article will focus on the top six through ten unrestricted NHL free agents from the winger position. They will be hitting the open market on Saturday (if they are not re-signed by their current team beforehand).
Kindly note that Patrick Marleau is listed at center but mostly plays a wing position. Hence, he will be on two different lists.
There are some pretty good NHL free agents that will be going to new teams. So let’s take a look at the top 6-10 free agent wingers list.
10. Nail Yakupov
Yakupov is high risk and flamed out in St. Louis, much the way he did in Edmonton. Or did he? He was barely averaging ten minutes a night for the Blues and that makes it tough. The winger could never really stay in the lineup. In 40 games, he had just nine points.
However, he will turn just 24 in October. Does a team take a chance on him hoping to find something others missed? It is an excellent question. His possession metrics have improved every year but his PDO has been low. That is not much to go on but Yakupov has shown flashes of potential. Again, this is a high risk one year flier at best.
9. Drew Stafford
Stafford will be testing the market. He was awful in Winnipeg with 13 points in 40 games. On the other hand, the winger had eight points in 18 games with a +8 in Boston. Which Stafford are you going to get here? That is the burning question.
If he gets some minutes (especially on the power play), that should boost his effectiveness. He was playing depth minutes with Boston and he was thriving quite well. The term on his contract should only be for a season as he’s 31. If he is motivated, a team could look like a genius here.
8. Michael Cammalleri
The Devils put Cammalleri on waivers today for the purpose of being bought out.
Cammalleri is in the 35+ territory. The free agent had a Michael Ryder like streak of futility with New Jersey, but he can still go on spurts of brilliance.
He’s likely going to receive offers from teams since they’ll value how he can create offense. He won’t provide much defense but look for him to get a one year contract in the cheap. Teams will see how he nearly averaged a point a game just a season ago and get enticed.
7. Thomas Vanek
The problem with guys like Chris Kunitz and Patrick Sharp is how badly things fell apart last season. Vanek did not have a good stint in Florida but his Detroit numbers merit another contract. He is only 33 unlike the two guys above who are in their 35+ years.
Teams will definitely come calling on him as he could be a good power play threat. The concern is does one get the 15.2% shooter or the 5.9% shooter? Vanek had zero luck in Florida. Nothing went right at all. A cheaper one year deal seems likely as few teams would risk a multiple year contract.
6. Jaromir Jagr
After a few seasons in Florida, Jagr will hit the open market. His possession metrics rose but points per game plummeted late. It wasn’t a great season for him but the winger could bounce back. He will need the right team. Jagr is a year removed from a 65+ point season but he is now 45.
Also, the new NHL is getting wise to Jagr. He had just 21 points in the final 42 games of the season. The winger scored just 16 times. He did have 13 power play points on an abysmal special teams squad in Florida. Can he play 17 minutes a night? Probably not. Jagr might be able to play 15-16 minutes and that may be effective enough. A one year deal is the most he will get anywhere.