How the 2013 free agent class has performed this season

January 15, 2014, by

David Clarkson’s contract looks like a disaster for Toronto

We’re just past the halfway mark of the 2013-2014 season and it’s a pretty safe time to evaluate how a player’s season has gone.  So with that in mind, let’s take a look back at the unrestricted free agent class of 2013 – specifically some forwards that could have been Ranger targets as they sought to bolster their offense.  Were these players money well spent?*

David Clarkson – seven years, $36.75 million

2013-2014 stats: 3 goals, 5 assists, 102 hits, 51 penalty minutes

Toronto would love a way out of this one already.  Clarkson has rarely been healthy, and he’s been ineffective when he has been on the ice.

Valtteri Filppula – five years, $25 million

2013-2014 stats: 18 goals, 18 assists, 12 power play points, 88 shots

Though he was quiet last night, Filppula has been one of the season’s pleasant surprises.  After a very disappointing 2013 campaign, Filppula has replaced Vinny Lecavalier and then some.

Vincent Lecavalier – five years, $22.5 million

2013-2014 stats: 9 goals, 9 assists, 8 power play points, 68 shots

Lecavalier started off strong but has not played well after sitting out with a back injury.  This contract was a mistake at the time, and it remains one now.

Mikhail Grabovski – one year, $3 million

2013-2014 stats: 12 goals, 20 assists, 8 power play points, 61 shots

Grabovski has proven to be a bargain, but he was a high-risk, high-reward signing for sure.  Someone will make a big mistake overpaying him this summer.

Mike Ribeiro – four years, $22 million

2013-2014 stats: 11 goals, 21 assists, 9 power play points, 7 shots

Ribeiro has produced pretty much as expected.  He’s not a game-changer, but that contract doesn’t look too bad.

Ryane Clowe – five years, $24.25 million

2013-2014 stats: 1 goal, 6 assists, 29 hits, 15 penalty minutes

Clowe hasn’t been healthy all year and this deal is definitely looking like a disaster, although Clowe has been heating up lately.  The Rangers reportedly wanted badly to retain Clowe, but wouldn’t go above a certain price, and it looks like the right choice.

Clarke MacArthur – two years, $5.5 million

15 goals, 18 assists, 9 power play points, 93 shots, 66 hits

MacArthur has been one of the NHL’s best bargains.  MacArthur flew under the radar a bit, but he’s having a great year and is exactly the type of player the Rangers could have used.  They never showed much interest, but MacArthur has made a lot of teams look foolish for not chasing him.

Tyler Bozak – five years, $21 million

2013-2014 stats: 7 goals, 12 assists, 4 power play points, 38 hits, 29 shots

Bozak has missed half the year with injuries, but he’s producing at nearly a point-per-game clip when he’s been healthy.  I’m still skeptical this contract will pay off long-term, but Bozak has been very good so far.

Bryan Bickell – four years, $16 million

2013-2014 stats: 6 goals, 2 assists, 61 hits, 47 shots

Like several of the underwhelming guys on this list, Bickell has missed time with injury.  Nevertheless, he’s been a big disappointment for the Blackhawks this year – one of the few they have.  Bickell was tempting after his monster playoff run, but this is a bullet dodged.

Danny Briere – two years, $8 million

2013-2014 stats: 7 goals, 6 assists, 3 power play points, 54 shots

There are already rumblings that Montreal would like to get out from underneath this dreaded 35+ contract.  Briere is just not the same player at age 36.

Mason Raymond – one year, $1 million

2013-2014 stats: 12 goals, 16 assists, 9 power play points, 97 shots

There was no risk here, but Raymond has been a very nice addition for the Maple Leafs.  I know Raymond is kind of a one-dimensional guy, but I’m still surprised he didn’t get a better deal.

There are definitely some “hits” on this list, but for the most part the big fish from the 2013 summer UFA class have been underwhelming.  Instead of being big spenders, the Rangers chose to keep Brad Richards around for one more year.  He’s responded with 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists) to lead the club.  That’s more than every player here but Filppula, so it sure looks like GM Glen Sather made the right call (knock on wood, as long as Richards stays healthy).

*All stats entering Tuesday’s action

Categories : Around the League


  1. AD says:

    I would rather have signed Clarke McCarthur at that contract and production level, than held on to Richards.

  2. Spozo says:

    I said this plenty of times. The risk in Richards is the injury factor. He will be bought out after this season (would a Stanley cup and a Conn Smythe trophy even save him?) so essentially he’s on a 1 year contract at 6.6 million. Which when you look at the above list isn’t that bad of a deal based on his production. The Rangers basically gambled on him not getting hurt long term. Disagree with that gamble all you want but so far the decision has looked like a good move for Sather.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:


      • Spozo says:

        What would you have done differently? There weren’t any real bargains out there this past year for ufa centers. So you would have bought out Richards and gone with Stepan, Brassard, and Boyle as the top 3 centers for this year? Yup in hindsight that looks like a recipe for success considering Richards is the leading scorer and they are 4 games above .500.

        It’s not about earning his contract which he had zero chance of doing. He was the better option than any other alternatives and he is on a 1 year contract.

        Like I said, what would you have done this offseason?

  3. Bob says:

    What about Alfie and Iginla? 

    • Kevin says:

      As alluded to in the intro, I didn’t view them as viable NYR targets.  No mention was ever made connecting either player to NY.

      • Bob says:

        True,  though none of these guys were really viable  targets 

        • Kevin says:

          Prior to the decision to keep Richards they were all discussed at one point or another, but that eliminated the possibility.

  4. Walt says:

    Any signing of an UFA is a crap shoot.  Given the results as shown above, it pays to develope your own, and stay with a known player, than to risk paying hugh contracts, and poor results.

    • Kevin says:

      Ding ding ding! That’s the lesson 🙂

      • RangerSmurf says:

        Do you have the signing dates?
        I suspect there’s a strong correlation between value and when they were signed.    Guys like Raymond/Grabo were signed late in the process, whereas Clarkson/Weiss were July 1 deals that bombed.

        • Kevin says:

          Good Q.  Don’t have them off hand but I believe those were the only 2 that were substantially later in the process

      • Walt says:

        With his poor history, do you see Sather making the same mistake again in the near future?????  Hope not!!!

  5. TxRanger says:

    seems like all the guys no body really pursued are the ones doing the best. Mason Raymond didn’t even sign until right before preseason, right?

    • Kevin says:

      Yep. I think the lesson here is that bargain hunting for guys like Pouliot is much smarter than going all-in on the big fish whose price is driven through the roof.  Obviously Pouliot hasn’t panned out – although he’s been much better lately – but that’s the wiser investment.

      • @Centerman21 says:

        I don’t know how Toronto thought Clarkson would be a good signing. He was a product of his surroundings. Ie Kovalchuk & Parise.

  6. bill_goldthorpe says:

    Forgot arguably the two best signings this summer: Jagr & Ryder

    • Chris A says:

      Thanks for the heads up, successfully killed 15 minutes at work and was hysterical, even by DGB’s lofty standards.

  7. @Centerman21 says:

    Over the past 5-6 seasons the Caps biggest weakness has been lack of a viable 2nd line Centerman. They seem to have a different one every season now. They let Ribeiro walk over a few bucks and will now let Grabovski leave. They’d be crazy to do so. The cap is going up so they like most teams will have some money to spend.

  8. Bloomer says:

    I believe the reason why free agent signings often don’t work out, is due to the age of the player. Generally speaking (there are exceptions) a hockey players’ performance start to diminish after a certain age, particularly if they have had a injury riddle career. Therefore, building a team though the draft or signing undrafted players is the route to success.  Free agents might be ok to fill in some depth issues. But in my view, going after big name players after their best before date is not how championship teams are built

    • Walt says:

      Right on!!
      Once they sign big contracts, for the most part, they are no longer hungrey, and don’t really go all out.  Give it to the kids, they are tougher, hungrey, and healthy, and are trying to prove that they are worthy of a bigger deal!!
      How many big name free agents have worked out for us, think about it, I say not many, if any at all, other than Graves?????