Ranking the top 10 free agents
With the 2015 NHL Draft officially in the books, it's time to turn to free agency, which begins July 1.
The 2015-16 salary cap has been set at $71.4 million, while teams will have to spend a minimum of $52.8 million to reach the cap floor.
Here's a look at the top 10 players available in free agency:
10. Michael Frolik
A valuable two-way forward with strong possession numbers, Frolik is in the prime of his career, and would be a boon for any team looking for wing depth.
9. Martin St. Louis
At this stage in his career, St. Louis can be had on the cheap, and could benefit a contending team while he attempts to end his career on the highest of notes. He'll also likely be extra motivated after scoring only one goal in 19 playoff games last spring.
8. Mike Ribeiro
Reportedly unwilling to sign a two-year, $6-million offer from the Predators, he'll look to take his 0.75 career point-per-game average elsewhere, shoring up another club's center ranks. Potentially complicating matters, however, is an accusation of sexual assault.
7. Justin Williams
Cut loose by the Los Angeles Kings, the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy winner will take his quietly consistent game to a different NHL city this summer.
Williams has posted above-average possession numbers throughout his career, and the winning experience gained with the Kings - plus his knack for scoring during their championship runs - will certainly be seen as a huge asset.
6. Antoine Vermette
A highly sought-after target prior to the 2014 trade deadline, Vermette sputtered at times during his brief tenure with the Chicago Blackhawks, but came through when it counted most, scoring two game-winning goals in the Stanley Cup Final.
Vermette is a do-it-all center, with the ability to score, defend, win faceoffs, and kill penalties. He should be a hot commodity.
5. Cody Franson
The 27-year-old right-handed defenseman - coming off a series of one-year deals - will be looking to cash in big, and justifiably so.
Despite failing to fit in with the Nashville Predators after being acquired in a trade, Franson will still garner plenty of attention come July 1.
4. Antti Niemi
The best goalie available on the open market, Niemi brings a career save percentage of .916 and a Stanley Cup ring to the table.
While the Dallas Stars acquired his rights at the draft, there's a chance he'll want to weigh his options in hopes of retaining his status as a clear-cut No. 1 goalie. If so, teams with a need in net will come calling.
Update: Niemi has reportedly signed a three-year, $13.5-million deal with the Stars.
3. Paul Martin
Martin is capable of locking things down in his own end and chipping in offensively. He's a strong possession defender who can play on both the penalty kill and power play.
2. Matt Beleskey
The winger set a personal high with 22 goals last season, and added another eight in the playoffs. His shooting percentage was rather inflated, but that shouldn't deter suitors looking to add some scoring punch.
1. Mike Green
A fixture on the Washington Capitals' blue line for the past 10 seasons, Green's gaudy numbers may be a thing of the past, but he could be just the ticket for a team looking for offense and veteran experience.
Green did record 45 points while averaging under 20 minutes of ice time last season, and has been a possession monster during his career. He's as close to a game-breaker as anyone available in free agency, and will likely be signed quickly.
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