FanPost

Top 6 Forward Free Agent Targets - Who Does GMDP Go After?

For me, the "thrill" of getting the #4 overall pick faded the moment the puck dropped on the first playoff series - leaving a pretty empty feeling knowing that the Preds are not a part of it. While it looks like Filip Forsberg and/or that #4 pick could be true franchise forward(s) that the Preds have never had, it is too much to expect either of those players to carry the team to a deep playoff run in 2013-2014. The Preds need a significant upgrade at forward this Summer, regardless of what Forsberg and the #4 pick may bring to the table.

It is clear from the comments of GMDP (at about the 7:45 mark) and the comments of Shea Weber, that GMDP plans to bring in at least one proven scorer at forward who will, at the very least replace the production lost when Erat was traded. The 2012-2013 Preds needed at least one more Top 6 forward even before Marty left town (but I am not going to hold my breath waiting for the Preds to acquire 2 proven Top 6 forwards this offseason).

Who are the likely targets? Here are the top-scoring pending UFA forwards according to CapGeek.com. Two things jump out about that list: 1) there are no real established, in-their-prime stars, except maybe Mike Ribeiro or Pascal Dupuis who are 33 and 34; which leads me to the second point: 2) the top 8 guys on this list (all the guys with 50+pts equivalent numbers) are all over 30. These top available UFAs are going to want longer term deals, and I don't see GMDP offering a big money contract to any of these guys that would take them into their late 30's (with likely declining production), especially with all the (potential) young talent at forward the Preds have coming up. So probably not somebody "old." Also, the Preds could definitely use more size up front; and they will probably avoid anyone with a concussion history or other injury history (see Matthew Lombardi). There is also the Preds system to think about - it will have to be a player who is solid defensively.

A name that has come up repeatedly in discussions of the subject is Viktor Stalberg in Chicago. At 6' 3" 210, he's got the size and with 9G 14A 23P he brings pretty good production (although borderline Top 6 forward production), albeit with this being only his third full year in the NHL, he's got a limited resume. He showed up a lot in Game 1 and had a nifty primary assist on the OT GWG. Other names I've seen thrown around in here on this topic, or who seem to fit: Nathan Horton, Mason Raymond, Brad Boyes.

What UFA forwards do you think the Preds should pursue? And how much will that player cost?

This FanPost was written by an OTF reader, and does not represent the views of the editorial staff. Got something you'd like to share? <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/admin/entries/new?community_id=208&entry_type=FanPost" target="new">Post your own</a>!

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