NHL free agent forwards - who's left to help the Nashville Predators?

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 4: Kyle Wellwood #42 of the Vancouver Canucks tries to slide a backhand shot past goalie Niklas Backstrom #32 of the Minnesota Wild but ends up missing during the second period of NHL action on April 04, 2010 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

With all the activity going on the last two days, some Nashville Predators fans have started wondering where the goal-scoring help is going to come from in 2011-12. Yes, the team did well defensively last year, but improving on a 21st-ranked offense is imperative, especially in light of the departure of Steve Sullivan, J.P. Dumont, Marcel Goc, and Joel Ward.

But what's there left on the open market to choose from? Follow after the jump and let's take a look...

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I've published a Google Spreadsheet (feel free to download your own copy) which contains some details around the remaining free agent forwards on the market, bringing together data from NHLNumbers and Behind the Net. I've screened down to those forwards who played at least 20 games last season, since we're talking about getting scoring help for the Nashville Predators here, and I've included data for 5-on-5 and 5-on-4 play, since we don't really need to look at penalty killing.

Included here are the player's salary from the 2010-11 season ($MM column), and their advanced stats (I'll try to add in Zone Starts later on to provide more context). For pure offensive value, the starting point is your Pts/60 in 5-on-5, which is the sorting order presented here. But for bargain hunting I'd recommend a couple other areas to look at.

The first is that "Sht % On" column, which shows the shooting percentage of that player's team while he's on the ice. If it's low (say, below 7.0, that's a sign that perhaps he suffered the misfortunes of Lady Luck, and his overall offensive totals may regress to a higher level over the long run. The second such are is 5-on-4 ice time; if a player didn't get much last year, their scoring totals may be lower than they might be here in Nashville, where the long-suffering PP should be pretty wide open for auditions.

So what do you think, folks? Any bargains worth sniffing around in here? The two guys who jump out at me are Kyle Wellwood (who I wrote about a few days ago) and Nikolai Zherdev. Yes, Zherdev has a reputation that doesn't seem like it would work here, but that's what we all said about Sergei Kostitsyn last summer.

But who jumps out at you?

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