Teams in need of high end scoring talent are going to be in tough this year in free agency.
There's not one high end centre available and the top wingers like Zach Parise, Alex Semin and Jaromir Jagr could be paid a fortune if Dennis Wideman's contract on Wednesday is any indication.
There are only 13 forwards who had more than 36 points last year that are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents at noon on Sunday, and some of those are the likes of Teemu Selanne and Shane Doan who are likely to stay with their long-time teams to finish their careers.
In that group of 13, seven are 35 or older, meaning a multiyear deal signed under the current collective bargaining agreement is a huge risk. (Players who get contracts of more than one year beyond age 35 will count against the cap even if they choose to retire.)
The only scoring types in their 20s available are Parise, PA Parenteau, Semin, Jiri Hudler and Kyle Wellwood.
With all that in mind, there are some useful third and fourth liners in the bunch, players I've tried to highlight in this list of the top 55 forwards likely to be available.
The statistics here are for the last three seasons combined, with ice time an average of minutes per game between 2009-10 and last season:
Who are some of the potentially hidden gems in there? Well Parenteau is an interesting name given how well he played for the Islanders the past two years, putting up 67 points last season to finish tied for 26th in NHL scoring with players like Jarome Iginla and Tyler Seguin.
Or how about Dustin Penner, who had an awful regular season but was exellent in the playoffs. What do you pay him as he comes off a huge $4.25-million a year deal that was the result of a contentious offer sheet all those years ago?
Then there are players who have battled very serious injuries the past few years who could rebound: Mueller, Latendresse, Huselius, Fehr and Parse.
A few of the checker types will probably cash in, too. Gaustad is one name that is likely to be well salaried for what he brings, but teams are going to want Moen, Tootoo, Prust, Glass and others who bring toughness above all else.
UPDATE Players who are crossed off have signed.