Monday, June 3, 2013

2013 NHL Free Agents - Top Three Forwards

As the 2013 NHL free agent season anticipation builds, there are some players who fans should be keeping an eye on.  In that vein, here are the top three forwards, who will become unrestricted free agents in July of 2013.

1.  Pascal Dupuis, Right Wing, 34

The leading regular season goal-scorer among 2013 unrestricted free agents, Dupuis continues to produce in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  In 11 games to-date, he has put seven pucks in the net, while assisting on three more goals.  It's no exageration to say that the Pittsburgh Penguins would not be in the position to win the Eastern Conference this season, if it wasn't for the contributions of Dupuis.  

The 34 year-old right-winger is finishing up a 2-year deal, paying him $1.5 million annually, according to capgeek.com.   As Dupuis' offensive output has picked up over the past two seasons, expect his annual salary to follow a similar upward arc.  

2.  Mike Ribeiro, Center, 33

Ribeiro can produce.  No doubt about it.  He was key to the Washington Capitals climbing out of the cellar and into the 2013 NHL playoffs.  Averaging just over a point per game in this shortened season, Ribeiro continued his reputation as a premier set-up man, assisting on 36 scores.  He has 423 assists in 785 regular season games.   

Finishing up a five-year deal worth $25 million according to capgeek.com, Ribeiro may be playing with a different squad for 2013-14.  The Capitals are projected to be a tick over $5 million under next season's reduced cap, and they also need to address defenseman Tom Poti.  Without a drastic pay-cut, it's likely that the Caps won't be able to afford Ribeiro's services.   

3.  David Clarkson, Center, 29

Relatively young, Clarkson has become an offensive force in the NHL at just the right time for his own financial benefit.  Always a physical player, he also became known as a goal scorer over the past two seasons with the New Jersey Devils.  A 30 goal scorer last season, Clarkson was nearly on pace to match that mark this season, tallying 15 pucks in the net, playing in all 48 regular season games. With his combination of physicality and offensive awareness, Clarkson will be a sought after commodity in the free agency season, and certain to make more of a dent in the cap of the team who signs him. 





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