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Free Agency Look: Defensemen

by Joseph Beguiristain / Florida Panthers

With the start of free agency around the corner, starting on July 1st, FloridaPanthers.com looks at some of the top free agents at their prospective positions. After last summer's haul in Free Agency to help the team win their first Division title in franchise history, will the Panthers add any of the below players to help in their defense of the Southeast crown. (Rankings based off of CBSSports.com's Eye on Hockey staff)

Defensemen

Defenseman Ryan Suter is one of the best free agents available.

Ryan Suter (Nashville Predators)

Ryan Suter is easily the best defensemen available this off-season and last season he played like a Norris Trophy candidate (best defenseman). Last year, the 27-year old set career highs in assists (39) and points (46) for the Nashville Predators. He was eighth among all defensemen in assists.

While the Predators want to keep Suter, it’s very likely he will be suiting up for another team this upcoming season.

Matt Carle (Philadelphia Flyers)

In 2011-2012, Matt Carle had yet another solid season for the Philadelphia Flyers. Carle posted 38 points (4 goals, 34 assists) with a rating of plus-four. This season marked his third straight where he recorded 35 or more points.

The Flyers are pushing hard to re-sign Carle.

Bryan Allen (Carolina Hurricanes)

The Carolina Hurricanes didn’t have much to cheer about last season. Bryan Allen was one of the bright spots as he tallied 14 points in 82 games while playing a sound defensive game.

His production has dropped a little ever since he left South Florida (career-high 25 points in 2006-07 season), but the big defenseman does things that the box score doesn’t show.

Jason Garrison (Florida Panthers)

Jason Garrison had the best season of his young NHL career last year. The late bloomer totaled career highs in points (33), assists (17), and of course goals (16) which were a franchise high among blueliners for Florida. His production was a pleasant surprise for the young, upcoming Panthers who won the division crown a year ago.

Pavel Kubina (Philadelphia Flyers)

The defenseman had a tough go this past season as he split time between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers but Pavel Kubina can put up points from the blueline. A big, mobile defenseman, Kubina has recorded at least 30 points in seven of his NHL seasons. This past season, he recorded 15 points. He's just 30 games shy of 1,000 games played for his career.

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