The Detroit News’ top NHL free agents

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News


Mike Green

Go through the gallery to see The Detroit News’ top NHL free agents, with analysis by Ted Kulfan. Click here if you’re having trouble viewing the gallery.

Detroit — For teams looking to get significantly better on the free-agent market this summer – those teams might be disappointed.

This free-agent class is lacking in difference-makers.

If John Tavares, the 27-year-old consistent 80-point producer, re-signs with his New York Islanders, there simply will not be a huge amount of anticipation when unrestricted free agency begins Sunday at noon.

There are some really good complementary players in this class, but not impact players who could change the direction of an organization.

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Fewer “franchise” players are reaching the free-agent market, as teams identify players they want to build around and keep them with lengthy contracts.

What’s left are players toward the end of their careers, looking for that last – or next to last – contract, or players who have failed with other teams.

As for the Red Wings, it appears Sunday will be relatively quiet.

For sure, the Red Wings will look to obtain a backup goaltender to Jimmy Howard – and given the options that will be available, the Wings should be able to get a good netminder.

A surplus of young forwards likely will keep them from shopping aggressively there, while on defense, if they can re-sign Mike Green, the Wings would consider that adequate free-agent shopping.