Quick reminder, if the chart below seems alien to you, consult our guide to free agent d-man for a primer on Hockey Abstract's player usage charts.
The market for wingers is probably the deepest in this free agency. There are numerous top-6 contributors available and plenty of depth forwards to go around. That means reasonable prices for teams looking for help on the flanks. Let's dive right in.
- Brian Gionta (Declining Veteran) - Gionta didn't have terrible season, putting up 40 points while dealing with shut down deployment from Michel Therrien. But at 35, his useful years are dwindling quickly. His ability to drive possession has undoubtedly declined towards the twilight of his career and he's coming off of a $5 million dollar AAV contract in Montreal. He'll likely take a pay cut this year, but the question is how much? Taking on a risky 35+ contract for a guy who's showing the wear and tear of age isn't a great bet. Similar Players to Avoid: Todd Bertuzzi (DET), Radek Dvorak (CAR)
- Steve Bernier (Bottom 6 Filler) - Borderline NHLers like Bernier can be picked up at almost any time if you need some cannon fodder. Only teams with a serious lack of depth on the farm need apply. Similar Players to Avoid: Jack Skille (CLB), Stephen Gionta (NJ), Cam Janssen (NJ), Chris Thorburn (WPG), Mike Brown (SJS), Shawn Thorton (BOS), Adam Cracknell (STL), Patrick Eaves (NAS), Chris Connor (PIT), Chuck Kobasew (PIT), Ryan Jones (CGY)
- Ryan Callahan (Overvalued Intangibles) - You'll hear the phrases "leadership" and "hard worker" thrown after Callahan's name a lot. The question is, are all those fuzzy intangibles worthy of the huge contract Callahan wants on the open market? With consistently middling on-ice results and only average point production, the short answer is no; and the New York Rangers sure seem to agree since they unceremoniously dumped their captain at the trade deadline. Similar Players to Avoid: Nikolai Kulemin (TOR)
Disclaimer! Not all of the guys listed above are necessarily bad NHL players. Some of them could be serviceable pick ups and depth guys. But remember, we're trying to get the most bang for our buck in free agency.
- Jarome Iginla (Old but Still Truckin') - While Iginla is most certainly a veteran, and most certainly declining, he's merely fallen from superstar to above-average Top-6 contributor. Jarome is still good for 60+ points and isn't a total drag on his team's possession stats. Given his age, any long term contract would be a potential gaffe in the making, but if you can get him on a one year deal at a reasonable number, you'd be crazy not add his 30 goals and 30 assists to your team's attack. Similar Players: Daniel Alfredsson (DET)
- Marion Gaborik (Expensive) - Gabbo is the darling deadline pick-up of this year's playoffs. He's got a history of multiple 40 goal seasons, his possession numbers aren't bad, and he's still got excellent speed. Its no secret Gaborik is a bonafide top line scorer. And coming off a contract that paid him $7.5 million AAV, he'll be looking for another pay day in free agency. If you've got deep pockets and nothing to lose, Gaborik might be the right fit.
- Ales Hemsky (Best Value) - Hemsky has been a positive play driver on two struggling teams in Edmonton and Ottawa. And since he's not putting up top-end numbers like some of the bigger names, Hemsky might be floating under the radar this free agency. That mean's a cheap contract for strong playing driving ability, and in the right situation, Hemsky still has the play-making skill set to produce points. Similar Players: Radim Vrbata (PHX), Lee Stempniak (PIT), Matt D'Agostini (BUF), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (CHI), Steve Downie (PHI)
Disclaimer! You should never buy on a player without considering his career numbers, his quality as a teammate, injuries, age, and previous contract. Don't forget to check back soon for our overview of left wings.
More from Beyond the Blue Line
- Do Younger Teams Have a Better Chance at Winning the Stanley Cup?
- Kings vs. Rangers: A Tale of Two Ways to Build a Hockey Team
- NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Final: New York Rangers vs. LA Kings
Andrew Devitt is an avid stat nerd and passionate Flyers fan living in Horsham, PA. You can follow him on Twitter @Drewski89