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Three Unrestricted Free Agents to Look Out For

by Photo of Antoinette Cammarano

The NHL’s free agency period starts friday, July 5th.

Three Unrestricted Free Agents to Look Out For

The ink on the NHL draft papers is barely dried, but already the next round of roster changes is being discussed. This time around, the names are, for the most part, well-known players looking for a new home. It's time for the NHL's unrestricted free agency period.

Beginning July 5th, all teams have the opportunity to offer deals to the top unrestricted free agents in the league. If the team those players are currently skating for wishes to keep them, they have to either match or do better than the player's best offer; with some of the name being thrown around right now, the prices on some of those deals can get pretty hefty. 

Let's take a look at who I believe to be the top three unrestricted free agents on the market right now. Each player brings something different to the table and will be an asset to any team they sign to.

1. David Clarkson

New Jersey Devils Right Winger David Clarkson made a name for himself in the 2011-2012 season during which he scored a total of 30 goals to bring the Devils into the Stanley Cup Finals. This season, he scored 15 goals in 48 games in a lockout-shortened season. He finished off the 2012-2013 season with 15 goals, 9 assists, and 24 points, putting him just ahead of the league average when compared to other forwards.

Coming out so late in the 2011-2012 season might have lead some franchises to view Clarkson's goals as lucky breaks, but his near similar performance in the shortened 2012-2013 season proves he's just beginning to blossom into his full potential.

Clarkson's ability to score goals, plus the physical aspect he brings to the game, makes him an attractive pick for many clubs. The Devils reportedly offered a contract to Clarkson before his contract expired on June 30th, but Clarkson turned it down to test the waters in the NHL market. The Devils are reported to be facing some financial difficulties at the moment, and Clarkson may have grown too big for their budget. Clarkson's agent states that the player is keeping an open mind with the Devils, but is keeping an open mind with other clubs as well. 

2. Jaromir Jagr

I don't think anyone should count Jaromir Jagr out. Jagr, a 41-year-old veteran NHL player, may have more than a few years under his belt, but he doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon.

Jagr, who spilt the 2012-2013 season between the Dallas Stars and the Boston Bruins, played 45 out of the 48 games this season, racking up a total of 35 points. Jagr also had a combined total of 16 goals and 19 assists this past season, proving his should not be taken lightly. Although he did not perform as well as one would have expected in the postseason - putting up no goals and ten assists - Jagr has superb puck handling abilities and the physical strength needed to play his style of hockey.

Jagr has expressed a desire to remain in the NHL for another year, and it is likely that he will be signed to another one year deal... just not with the Bruins. The Bruins are nearing their salary cap, and in order to maintain the core of their team they'll have to let Jagr go. Some clubs may be a little weary to sign him due to his age, but it is obvious that those years are not weighing down on Jagr, who continues to skate some of the best hockey we've seen. 

3. Vincent Lecavalier

Lecavalier was a casualty of the compliance buyout of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He's already looking at upwards of $32 million for the next 14 years from the team that cut him lose, and as if that wasn't good enough, there are numerous teams already looking to sign the center to a new contract.

Out of the 48 games this season Lecavalier played 39, scoring 10 goals, getting 22 assists, and garnering a total of 32 points. Lecavalier is only 33 years old, and still has many years left in him. Many general managers at various clubs believe he has what it takes to be a number 2 center, at least.

The teams currently looking at the former Lighting's captain include: the Detroit Red Wings, the Dallas Stars, the Montreal Canadiens, the Philadelphia Flyers, the St. Louis Blues, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Washington Capitals, and the Calgary Flames. Clearly it won't be hard for Lecavalier to find a new home for himself. All of the aforementioned franchises see Lecavalier doing great things for their teams, but only time will tell where he ends up.

There is a plethora of great talent in the unrestricted free agent pool this year. All of the clubs have the opportunity to sign some great players to their teams this year. However, with a lot of clubs facing salary caps and long-term contracts, finding money in their budgets to sign some of these big names won't be as easy as it seems.

Let CHARGED.fm find you sports tickets in your area this summer! 

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