Leading up to July 5th, the first day of NHL free agency, we will be profiling various free agents that we believe the Predators could or should pursue. Today we continue with New York Rangers forward Ryane Clowe…
Position: Left Wing
2012-13 Stats: 40 GP, 3 G, 16 A, 19 PTS, +1
2011-12 Stats: 76 GP, 17 G, 28 A, 45 PTS, -5
Previous Contract: 4 years, $14.5 million
Projected Cap Number: From $3-4 million
Why the Preds should pursue: An important judgment the Predators need to make is whether Ryane Clowe’s 2012-13 season was an aberration or a sign of things to come. In any case, this is a player that could be had for a “bargain” this summer. After accumulating zero goals in 28 games with the Sharks last season, Clowe was shipped to New York and played better with the Rangers. He would certainly give the Predators a mean streak up front that they simply don’t have (and could use). Best-case scenario is Clowe, who can play either wing, could provide similar production/value to fellow free agent David Clarkson – at a much cheaper rate. Clowe is a player that teams love to have but hate to play against.
Why the Preds shouldn’t pursue: As we saw this season, Clowe can be the bad kind of streaky. Even when he was scoring more goals in San Jose, he tended to have some dry spells offensively. Clowe will be 31 before the 2013-14 season begins, which suggests he is unlikely to improve on the numbers he put up in recent years for the Sharks. If his subpar season between San Jose and New York is a sign of things to come, the Predators shouldn’t have interest in paying decent money to a gritty forward that may only chip in 10 goals and/or 30 points. It has also been reported that Clowe suffered three concussions last season, which has to be a cause for concern, too.
Where he would fit: A return to previous form could mean 15-25 goals and about 50 points from the second line, which has to be somewhat attractive to the Predators. Having Clowe and Patric Hornqvist on separate lines and power play units would be beneficial, as the Predators would have a more constant net-front presence. GM David Poile has expressed a desire to get bigger, and Clowe would fit the bill.