5 best free-agent left wingers

by Jun 29, 12:14 PM
Jean-Yves Ahern / USA TODAY Sports

With the draft now in the rear-view mirror, the focus shifts to the free agency period where teams look to add to their rosters one last time.

With many players available before they officially become free-agents on July 1st, here's a look at the five best left wingers available.

Mason Raymond

Raymond scored 45 points in 82 games in his first season with Toronto after signing as a free agent, and proved valuable as the Maple Leafs struggled with offensive help beyond their first two lines.

Raymond's 2009-10 season with the Vancouver Canucks was his most successful (53 points) and earned him a two-year extension. He has struggled offensively since, with his 45 points last season marking his high-water mark since 2010.

That said, the 28-year-old is still expected to generate plenty of interest on the market.

Matt Moulson

It's always difficult to gauge how a player will do when taken away from his playing partner, but Moulson did all right for himself in Buffalo.

After five seasons playing alongside John Tavares with the New York Islanders, Moulson's stock rose as one half of a potent offensive pairing. Moulson was then traded twice, compiling 42 points in 64 combined games with Buffalo and Minnesota.

While offensively gifted, it's difficult to measure Moulson's actual expected contribution; the bulk of his best work came next to Tavares. For that reason, it may be difficult for teams to know exactly what they're getting.

Jussi Jokinen

Jokinen is a streaky player, but has enough offensive upside to make an impact. Jokinen is on his fourth NHL team after three successful years in Dallas with the Stars and decent performances with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes.

Landing with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013, Jokinen scored 11 points in ten games in limited action and followed that up with 57 points in 81 games last season.

Having the high-powered Penguins on his resume might skew the numbers some, but if Jokinen lands with a contending team that needs added scoring, he should be an adequate contributor.

Mike Cammalleri

The Calgary Flames forward will see his five-year, $30-million contract expire this summer - and he should garner plenty of attention.

There's little doubt Cammalleri is in line for a pay cut following a drop off in production since joining the Flames for a second time. He was famously pulled off the ice, put in a cab, and flown to Calgary in 2012; he'll have more control over his situation this time around, and will likely seek out a role with a contending team.

Cammalleri hasn't played more than 67 games since 2008-09, but was still a solid contributor despite playing on a team that finished 27th in the league in scoring. He could return to the 50-point plateau if he found his way onto a better team.

Thomas Vanek

Vanek wanted out of the Sabres' organization to play on a better team - and was granted that wish in October when he was moved to the Islanders to play with Tavares.

Vanek fared well on Long Island - recording 44 points in 47 games - but made it clear that re-signing with the Islanders was not a priority and was subsequently flipped to Montreal at the trade deadline. He had just 10 points in 17 postseason games with the Canadiens, and that showing may leave a sour taste in other teams' mouths.

Vanek wants to play on a good team and bring significant talent to the table, coming off a 68-point season and having three 40-goal seasons to his credit. But a shaky playoff resume and questions about his wavering level of play may be causes for concern.

Feature photo courtesy of Jean-Yves Ahern / USA TODAY Sports