NHL Free Agency 2013: Forwards the Nashville Predators Should Pursue

New Jersey's David Clarkson is set to hit the jackpot this summer. - Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In case you haven't heard, the Nashville Predators could use some proven NHL talent at forward these days. Who should be on David Poile's shopping list? Let's review the leading candidates...

Nashville has traditionally been known for having more talent on the blueline and in goal over the years, and that was before the team traded Martin Erat away a few months ago, or placed Sergei Kostitsyn on unconditional waivers. Along with those two out of the way, the coming departure of Hal Gill frees up more financial room for the Predators to wade into the thick of the bidding for this summer's free agent crop.

The following forwards could make fine additions to the Nashville lineup...


David Clarkson

#23 / Right Wing / New Jersey Devils

6-1

200

Mar 31, 1984

2012-2013 Cap Hit: $2.6 million



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - David Clarkson 48 15 9 24 -6 78 6 0 5 180 8.3
Season GP TOI/60 Pts/60 Corsi Rel On-Ice Sht % On-Ice Sv% PDO Pen Take Pen Drawn OZ Strt% Shots/60
2013 48 13.57 1.47 +16.9 5.8 897 956 1.1 1.3 50.8 11.88
2012 80 13.07 1.66 +3.1 7.8 907 985 1.4 2.0 49.4 10.33
2011 82 11.93 0.98 -0.5 4.1 917 958 0.9 0.7 49.3 10.61
2010 46 12.03 1.95 -9.1 11.0 916 1026 1.5 1.2 51.6 9.22
2009 82 10.49 1.81 -6.0 7.6 930 1006 1.3 1.4 50.7 9.35
2008 81 11.46 1.29 -5.0 10.3 906 1009 1.9 1.9 48.9 9.31

Fancy Stats from Behind The Net

Clarkson's an interesting case - he has taken his game to another level in the last two seasons, and drives pucks to the net with abandon. Even though he takes quite a few penalties, he actually draws more from his opponents, which is a nice bonus. He will surely command top dollar, but might well be worth it.


Nathan Horton

#18 / Right Wing / Boston Bruins

6-2

229

May 29, 1985

2012-2013 Cap Hit: $4 million



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Nathan Horton 43 13 9 22 +1 22 0 0 1 114 11.4
Season GP TOI/60 Pts/60 Corsi Rel On-Ice Sht % On-Ice Sv% PDO Pen Take Pen Drawn OZ Strt% Shots/60
2013 43 14.31 1.95 +9.3 8.5 898 982 0.5 0.7 60.4 9.95
2012 46 13.05 2.40 +16.6 9.6 877 973 1.4 0.4 56.0 6.80
2011 80 13.60 2.48 +13.3 10.9 929 1038 0.8 0.8 52.3 8.05
2010 65 15.36 2.58 +11.3 11.6 909 1025 0.7 1.2 46.2 6.43
2009 67 13.48 1.79 +5.7 10.0 913 1012 1.3 1.0 55.4 5.91
2008 82 14.66 2.00 +7.3 9.9 929 1028 0.8 0.8 52.1 7.94

A power forward with chronic shoulder issues and a history of concussions? I know Horton has had two strong playoffs in a row, boasts excellent possession metrics as seen in the table above and is a six-time 20 goal scorer, but there is tremendous danger in extending him a long-term contract. His shoulder may well pop out of joint as he reaches to sign the darned thing.

It's hard to ignore his history of impressive performance, however. Remember, that "Corsi Rel" column shows that player's Corsi metrics compared to how his team fares when he's on the bench. Boston is generally a strong team in that area, so Horton's consistently positive results there stand out even more. If health & durability issues can be addressed to Nashville's satisfaction, Horton could fit right in.


Stephen Weiss

#9 / Center / Florida Panthers

5-11

190

Apr 03, 1983

2012-2013 Cap Hit: $3.1 million



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Stephen Weiss 17 1 3 4 -13 25 1 0 0 19 5.2
Season GP TOI/60 Pts/60 Corsi Rel On-Ice Sht % On-Ice Sv% PDO Pen Take Pen Drawn OZ Strt% Shots/60
2013 17 13.74 0.51 -15.5 4.4 876 920 0.5 0.3 57.4 3.08
2012 80 15.19 1.88 -2.2 10.1 917 1017 0.8 0.7 55.6 4.94
2011 76 14.40 1.43 +0.1 7.7 907 984 0.8 0.3 47.6 6.25
2010 80 14.52 1.76 +10.6 9.2 915 1007 0.6 0.5 47.0 5.73
2009 78 13.05 2.06 +12.4 10.5 929 1034 0.5 0.9 45.5 5.72
2008 74 13.42 1.57 +8.7 9.4 931 1026 0.9 1.0 53.0 5.14

Weiss wouldn't make the most thrilling of additions at center, but a lineup of Fisher-Weiss-Legwand-Gaustad would at least boast excellent depth. If the Preds wanted to go three lines deep with decent offensive talent as opposed to loading up a "top line", Weiss could help make that happen.


Derek Roy

#15 / Center / Vancouver Canucks

5-9

184

May 04, 1983

2012-2013 Cap Hit: $4 million



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Derek Roy 42 7 21 28 +4 6 2 0 1 85 8.2
Season GP TOI/60 Pts/60 Corsi Rel On-Ice Sht % On-Ice Sv% PDO Pen Take Pen Drawn OZ Strt% Shots/60
2013 42 13.79 1.86 +8.8 8.7 935 1022 0.1 0.6 41.7 6.11
2012 80 14.22 1.58 +5.4 8.1 912 994 1.2 0.8 48.9 6.28
2011 35 13.53 2.53 -6.1 9.3 912 1005 0.6 1.1 61.3 6.21
2010 80 13.75 2.13 +4.2 8.6 922 1007 0.9 1.5 51.6 7.31
2009 82 13.86 1.95 +2.3 8.1 917 998 0.6 1.6 50.9 7.13
2008 78 13.73 2.86 +13.3 11.3 882 995 0.7 1.8 54.2 8.24

Much like Weiss, Roy wouldn't blow our doors off in terms of adding a star player, but he does boast a pretty solid two-way game, and draws penalties well. I'd take him over Weiss, personally.


Jaromir Jagr

#68 / Right Wing / Boston Bruins

6-3

240

Feb 15, 1972

2012-2013 Cap Hit: $4.5 million



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Jaromir Jagr 45 16 19 35 -2 22 6 0 4 115 13.9
Season GP TOI/60 Pts/60 Corsi Rel On-Ice Sht % On-Ice Sv% PDO Pen Take Pen Drawn OZ Strt% Shots/60
2013 45 14.74 1.99 +8.0 10.3 901 1004 0.5 1.0 53.0 6.51
2012 73 12.47 2.04 +10.0 9.1 907 998 0.7 1.1 59.9 7.32

Sooooo dreamy... But forget about it, Jagr's not coming here.


Clarke MacArthur

#16 / Left Wing / Toronto Maple Leafs

6-0

191

Apr 06, 1985

2012-2013 Cap Hit: $3.2 million



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Clarke MacArthur 40 8 12 20 +3 26 2 0 1 62 12.9
Season GP TOI/60 Pts/60 Corsi Rel On-Ice Sht % On-Ice Sv% PDO Pen Take Pen Drawn OZ Strt% Shots/60
2013 40 12.96 1.50 +16.2 9.2 923 1015 0.8 0.5 45.7 6.25
2012 73 13.61 1.99 +7.2 9.5 914 1009 0.8 1.0 52.8 7.79
2011 82 13.97 2.25 +19.3 9.6 909 1005 0.5 1.2 49.5 6.02
2010 81 12.00 1.54 -1.1 7.3 907 980 0.6 0.9 47.2 6.23
2009 71 11.37 1.34 +4.1 7.1 918 989 1.3 1.0 44.9 6.47
2008 37 12.51 1.82 -10.8 10.7 925 1032 1.3 0.5 45.7 6.22

Now here's an interesting prospect - he hit the 20-goal mark in each of the last two full NHL seasons, and has established himself as a strong driver of Shots For & Against.


Michael Ryder

#73 / Right Wing / Montreal Canadiens

6-0

198

Mar 31, 1980

2012-2013 Cap Hit: $3.5 million



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Michael Ryder 46 16 19 35 +2 16 8 0 5 101 15.8
Season GP TOI/60 Pts/60 Corsi Rel On-Ice Sht % On-Ice Sv% PDO Pen Take Pen Drawn OZ Strt% Shots/60
2013 46 12.84 1.73 -0.1 8.9 915 1004 0.8 0.6 56.5 6.81
2012 82 14.28 2.51 +0.7 10.9 921 1030 0.8 0.4 51.8 8.66
2011 79 12.15 1.63 -7.1 8.1 927 1008 0.8 1.1 50.1 7.94
2010 82 12.62 1.33 +0.0 7.3 941 1014 0.3 0.8 50.8 8.47
2009 74 11.53 2.46 +7.9 12.6 942 1068 0.8 0.9 50.0 8.51
2008 70 10.81 1.35 +6.1 8.7 920 1007 0.9 1.1 49.0 7.37

He's a 3-time 30 goal scorer who was near that pace again in this shortened season - while not a great force at puck possession, he could provide a solid 1-2 scoring punch on the right wing with Patric Hornqvist.


Ryane Clowe

#29 / Left Wing / New York Rangers

6-2

225

Sep 30, 1982

2012-2013 Cap Hit: $3.6 million



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Ryane Clowe 40 3 16 19 1 93 1 0 0 87 3.4
Season GP TOI/60 Pts/60 Corsi Rel On-Ice Sht % On-Ice Sv% PDO Pen Take Pen Drawn OZ Strt% Shots/60
2013 40 13.80 1.41 +7.5 8.2 922 1005 1.0 0.5 52.3 8.26
2012 76 15.03 1.52 +2.2 7.2 916 988 0.7 0.8 57.2 7.30
2011 75 15.07 2.44 +13.5 7.9 919 998 0.8 1.1 50.7 7.59
2010 82 14.33 2.04 +4.9 8.4 918 1001 1.2 0.8 48.7 8.27
2009 71 13.80 1.53 +4.5 7.2 927 999 0.6 1.6 53.6 7.10
2008 15 11.58 2.07 +11.4 8.9 867 955 1.4 2.4 50.0 6.22

Once in a radio interview Barry Trotz was asked which player around the league most exemplified "Predator hockey", and his answer was Ryane Clowe. After a criminally cold-shooting season, he may become a classic "buy low" opportunity who could add beef & scoring from the right wing.


Viktor Stalberg

#25 / Right Wing / Chicago Blackhawks

6-3

209

Jan 17, 1986

2012-2013 Cap Hit: $875,000



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Viktor Stalberg 47 9 14 23 +16 25 0 0 1 113 7.9
Season GP TOI/60 Pts/60 Corsi Rel On-Ice Sht % On-Ice Sv% PDO Pen Take Pen Drawn OZ Strt% Shots/60
2013 47 11.57 2.10 +3.2 9.3 960 1053 0.8 0.9 63.9 10.70
2012 79 13.30 2.34 +11.8 8.1 902 983 0.9 0.9 63.6 11.42
2011 77 10.36 1.65 +11.0 7.3 899 972 1.3 1.4 60.3 9.63
2010 40 12.02 1.37 -2.8 4.8 900 948 1.0 1.2 62.2 12.10

While not a leading player in the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup championship, Stalberg is an extremely interesting winger. Much as with Horton above, he has been one of the better puck-possession guys on a consistently excellent team across multiple years. If you check over at HockeyAnalysis.com, you'll see that over the last three seasons with the Blackhawks, all the top guys put up better results with Stalberg than without him.

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