NHL's top free-agent bargains

Five free-agent suggestions who offer value without bidding war

Updated: July 3, 2013, 2:54 PM ET
By Neil Greenberg | ESPN Insider

Viktor StalbergBill Smith/NHLI/Getty ImagesForward Viktor Stalberg, who carried a 2012-13 cap hit of just $875,000, offers high free-agent value.

NHL teams are dealing with a few new wrinkles this offseason. Not only does the salary-cap decrease from $70 million to $64.3 million put some organizations in a financial pickle, but some teams were able to use compliance buyouts for the first time, putting more talent in the free-agent pool than was expected. So in addition to unrestricted free agents Derek Roy, David Clarkson and Mike Ribeiro, skaters such as blueliner Tomas Kaberle, goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and forwards Danny Briere and Vincent Lecavalier became available.

Lecavalier immediately became the center of attention, and rightly so: He scored 383 goals and 491 assists in 1,037 career games -- all with the Tampa Bay Lightning -- while also leading that franchise to its only Stanley Cup. His personal production has slipped in recent years, but the Flyers felt he would be a great fit as their No. 2 center, offering the 33-year-old a four-year deal worth $22.5 million.

However, while some teams are focusing on high-end talent like Lecavalier, there are other free agents who could provide significant upside for less than premium dollars -- and without a bidding war.

Here's a look at five "bargain" free agents.


To see the rest of Neil Greenberg's list of bargain free agents, plus Insider's complete NHL coverage, sign up for ESPN Insider.

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.