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"Sabres Win Cup!"
Lancaster, NY • United States • 36 Years Old • Male
Below is a list of notable unrestricted free agent signings (sorted by team) from the 2005 & 2006 off seasons. It’s funny how crazy us fanatics get about signing free agents and how depressed we get if our teams (the Sabres in my case) seem to miss out on the talent bonanza.

After a deeper look through this list, I’m pretty happy with the Sabres approach. While frustrating during the summer months, it’s clear that over 90% of these players are a complete waste of money… and on top of it, being unrestricted, most of these were overpaid as well.

From the whole list, I count 7 free agents signings in two years that were worth it.
Marc Savard
Michal Rozsival
Martin Straka
Scott Niedermayer
Teemu Selanne
Paul Kariya

The moral of the story… chill out fans of teams who choose to stay out of the free agency market. Chances are, your team’s free agent signing will be a bust! Its only a mater of time till we find out that Drury, Briere, Gomez and Souray are dead weight!

Atlanta Thrashers
F Peter Bondra (Senators)
F Bobby Holik (Rangers)
F Steve Rucchin (FA from Rangers)
F Jon Sim (FA from Florida)

Boston Bruins
D Brian Leetch (Maple Leafs]
F Alexei Zhamnov (Flyers)
D Zdeno Chara (FA from Ottawa)
F Marc Savard (FA from Atlanta)
F Shean Donovan (FA from Calgary)
F Mark Mowers (FA from Detroit)

Buffalo Sabres
D Teppo Numminen (Stars)
D Jaroslav Spacek (FA from Edmonton)

Carolina Hurricanes
D Oleg Tverdovsky (Devils)
F Matt Cullen (Panthers)
F Ray Whitney (Red Wings)
F Cory Stillman (Lightning)
G John Grahame (FA from Tampa Bay)
D David Tanabe (FA from Boston)
F Trevor Letowski (FA from Columbus)
F Brad Isbister (FA from Boston)

Florida Panthers
F Jozef Stumpel (Kings)
F Chris Gratton (Avalanche)
F Martin Gelinas (Flames)
F Joe Nieuwendyk (Maple Leafs)
F Gary Roberts (Maple Leafs)
G Ed Belfour (FA from Toronto)
D Ruslan Salei (FA from Anaheim)

Montreal Canadiens
D Mathieu Dandenault (Red Wings)
F Sergei Samsonov (FA from Edmonton)

New Jersey Devils
D Vladimir Malakhov (Flyers)
D Dan McGillis (Bruins)
F Alex Mogilny (Maple Leafs)
F Mike Rupp (FA from Columbus)
F Jim Dowd (FA from Colorado)

New York Islanders
D Alexei Zhitnik (Sabres)
F Miroslav Satan (Sabres)
D Brendan Witt (FA from Nashville)
D Tom Poti (FA from Rangers)
F Mike Sillinger (FA from Nashville)
F Andy Hilbert (FA from Pittsburgh)
F Chris Simon (FA from Calgary)
D Sean Hill (FA from Florida)
F Viktor Kozlov (FA from Devils)

New York Rangers
D Marek Malik (Canucks)
D Michal Rozsival (Penguins)
F Ville Nieminen (Flames)
F Martin Straka (Kings)
F Martin Rucinsky (Canucks)
D Aaron Ward (FA from Carolina)
F Matt Cullen (FA from Carolina)
F Brendan Shanahan (FA from Detroit)

Ottawa Senators
G Martin Gerber (FA from Carolina)
F Joe Corvo (FA from Los Angeles)
F Dean McAmmond (FA from St. Louis)

Philadelphia Flyers
D Derian Hatcher (Red Wings)
D Mike Rathje (Sharks)
D Chris Therien (Stars)
F Peter Forsberg (Avalanche)
D Nolan Baumgartner (FA from Vancouver)
F Randy Robitaille (FA from Minnesota)
F Geoff Sanderson (FA from Phoenix)

Pittsburgh Penguins
D Lyle Odelein (Panthers)
D Sergei Gonchar (Bruins)
F John Leclair (Flyers)
F Zigmund Palffy (Kings)
D Mark Eaton (FA from Nashville)
F Jarkko Ruutu (FA from Vancouver)
F Robert Petrovicky (FA from Atlanta)
F Mark Recchi (FA from Carolina)

Tampa Bay Lightning
D Luke Richardson (FA from Toronto)
D Filip Kuba (FA from Minnesota)

Toronto Maple Leafs
F Mariusz Czerkawski (Islanders)
F Eric Lindros (Rangers)
F Jason Allison (Kings)
D Hal Gill (FA from Boston)
D Pavel Kubina (FA from Tampa Bay)
F Mike Peca (FA from Edmonton)

Washington Capitals
F Andrew Cassels (Blue Jackets)
D Brian Pothier (FA from Ottawa)
F Donald Brashear (FA from Philadelphia)

Anaheim Mighty Ducks
D Scott Niedermayer (Devils)
F Teemu Selanne (Avalanche)
F Craig Adams (Hurricanes)
D Ian Moran (FA from Boston)
F Travis Green (FA from Boston)

Calgary Flames
D Roman Hamrlik (Islanders)
F Tony Amonte (Flyers)
F Darren McCarty (Red Wings)
G Jamie McLennan (FA from Florida)
D Andrei Zyuzin (FA from Minnesota)
F Jeff Friesen (FA from Anaheim)

Chicago Blackhawks
G Nikolai Khabibulin (Lightning)
D Adrian Aucoin (Islanders)
D Jaroslav Spacek (Blue Jackets)
F Martin Lapointe (Bruins)
G Patrick Lalime (FA from St. Louis)
G Brian Boucher (FA from Calgary)

Colorado Avalanche
D Patrice Brisebois (Canadiens)
F Brad May (Canucks)
F Pierre Turgoen (Stars)
F Andrew Brunette (Wild)
D Ken Klee (FA from New Jersey)
F Tyler Arnason (FA from Ottawa)

Columbus Blue Jackets
D Adam Foote (Avalanche)
D Brian Berard (Blackhawks)
D Andy Delmore (Sabres)
G Ty Conklin (FA from Edmonton)
F Anson Carter (FA from Vancouver)

Dallas Stars
F Matthew Barnaby (FA from Chicago)
F Jeff Halpern (FA from Washington)
F Eric Lindros (FA from Toronto)

Detroit Red Wings
G Chris Osgood (Blues)
D Andreas Lilja (Predators)
F Mikael Samuelsson (Panthers)
G Dominik Hasek (FA from Ottawa)
D Danny Markov (FA from Nashville)
F Greg Johnson (FA from Nashville)

Edmonton Oilers
D Daniel Tjarnqvist (FA from Minnesota)
F Marty Reasoner (FA from Boston)
F Petr Sykora (FA from Rangers)

Los Angeles Kings
F Valeri Bure (Stars)
F Pavol Demitra (Blues)
D Rob Blake (FA from Colorado)

Minnesota Wild
D Keith Carney (FA from Vancouver)
D Kim Johnsson (FA from Philadelphia)
F Mark Parrish (FA from Los Angeles)
F Branko Radivojevic (FA from Philadelphia)

Nashville Predators
F Paul Kariya (Avalanche)
F Yanic Perreault (Canadiens)
F Jason Arnott (FA from Dallas)
F Shane Endicott (FA from Pittsburgh)
F Patrick Leahy (FA from Boston)
F J.P.Dumont (FA from Buffalo)

Phoenix Coyotes
G Curtis Joseph (Red Wings)
G Mike Morrison (FA from Ottawa)
D Ed Jovanovski (FA from Vancouver)
F Jeremy Roenick (FA from Los Angeles)
F Georges Laraque (FA from Edmonton)
F Owen Nolan (FA from Toronto)

San Jose Sharks
D Mathieu Biron (FA from Washington)
F Curtis Brown (FA from Chicago)
F Mike Grier (FA from Buffalo)

St. Louis Blues
F Scott Young (Stars)
F Dean McAmmond (Flames)
G Manny Legace (FA from Detroit)
D Jay McKee (FA from Buffalo)
F Doug Weight (FA from Carolina)
F Dan Hinote (FA from Colorado)
F Bill Guerin (FA from Dallas)
F Martin Rucinsky (FA from Rangers)
F Radek Dvorak (FA from Edmonton)

Vancouver Canucks
G Brent Johnson (Coyotes)
F Anson Carter (Kings)
F Richard Park (Wild)
D Willie Mitchell (FA from Dallas)
D Rory Fitzpatrick (FA from Buffalo)
F Marc Chouinard (FA from Minnesota)
F Jan Bulis (FA from Montreal)
Filed Under:   Free agents   UFA   sabres   cleon  
July 13, 2007 10:16 AM ET | Delete
being a flyers fan the only one i will disagree with is "F Peter Forsberg (Avalanche)". although this looked like it was going to be a bust, homer's savy trade turned this one into some large gains for philly.
July 13, 2007 10:37 AM ET | Delete
Yeah - forsberg was iffy for me... i didn't list him as a impactful signing cause he never really met the expectation for which he was signed.
July 13, 2007 10:49 AM ET | Delete
i can agree with you from that standpoint. if fopa stayed healthy it could be quite a different story. however, he also had a great supporting cast when he was playing well for them (primeau, dejardins, etc)
July 13, 2007 10:59 AM ET | Delete
Nikolai Khabibulin's been pretty good for the Hawks as well... but they still aren't seeing the W's.
July 13, 2007 11:27 AM ET | Delete
I realize it was huge for the Sabres to lose two of the key players through free agency, and the Sabres will be under more pressure this season to replace their skills and compete at the same level they have for the past two seasons, but dont discount the value free agents add to the teams with whom they sign. Hatcher has adjusted fairly well to the 'new' NHL and Rathje may have as well, had he not had all the problems with his butt and back. While, they both signed top dollar contracts, whose worth can be questioned, Rathje's salary doesnt count against the cap because he is LTI, but the larger consideration is the signing of Rathje and Hatcher to big contracts was done at a time when it really was NOT completely understood what effects the changes in officiating would have on the game. It is only in hindsight that we can look back now at those signings and say we would have been better off going in a different direction. Hatcher had adjusted, and while his 3.5M/yr salary seems a bit high, if he can play steady and consistent defensive hockey for the Flyers and help with the development of our youn defensemen, for the remainder of his contract, then one could argue his 3.5M/yr was worth it. Forsberg was worth the signing, except for his problems with injuries -- which is something teams should have full access to a players medical history, before agreeing to terms of a contract. I dont know, however, if Forsberg's foot issues were really known, however, at the time he signed with the Flyers, and I find it doubtful that the Flyers were aware of it. So was this really a bad signing, or was it more an unfortunate one, brought on in part, perhaps, by the lack of information regarding a player's compete medical situation. I hope Gomez and Drury flop in NY, just because the play for the Rangers. Although, I think I'd be foolish to think they wont have some success, given the type players they are. I just hope they dont have a lot of success, and not enough to help the Rangers over their other weaknesses across all their offensive lines and their defense. I think Briere will find instant chemistry on a line with Gagne and Knuble. All three of those guys are smart veteran players who know how to read whats happening on the ice. For sure, it will take some time for the line to fully gel and reach its highest potential, but I think, and hope, that line will have some immediate chemistry and success, much like how Forsberg missed most of the preseason his first year in Philly, but had instant success on the line with Gagne and Knuble.
July 13, 2007 11:39 AM ET | Delete
Willie Mitchell is the best signing the Canucks made last year, turned our defence from a joke into one of the best in the league. Anson Carter was great for the one season we had him, but he didn't want to admit his goals were by the Sdins work and not as much his own. Now, he's going to be lucky to get a million a year after a bad season between Columbus and Carolina.
July 13, 2007 2:59 PM ET | Delete
That's because 90% of the UFAs in 2005 and 2006 were not top tier talent to begin with. The hit rate for tier 1 talent is alot higher when you break it down. Most of the guys that were signed weren't very good to begin with, most of them are lifetime journeymen. I would also add Shanahan to the list of FA who did well with their new team. Probably Corvo and Belfour too. Also, I wouldn't call Chara a bust, he did what he normally did, its just that the team around him wasn't as good.
July 13, 2007 11:43 PM ET | Delete
That list makes you kind of laugh at the Blues... They did the same thing last year that they did this year signing big name players. Think it'll work better?
July 14, 2007 2:15 AM ET | Delete
Dean McAmmond should be considered a pretty good signing too, played in all situations and was invaluable in the play-offs
July 14, 2007 2:10 PM ET | Delete
I like what the Isles did last offseason in their FA signings. They went out and signed quite a bit of players - no huge name, but players to fill spots in a system - and it worked out. I think the moral is more that the big name "superstar" signings rarely work out like the fans expect. Instead, the players who are signed more for their play and how it matches up to what the Head Coach is trying to do than their name are what teams should go after.
July 14, 2007 2:41 PM ET | Delete
Yeah, Nyi28nhl. I agree. I like the Islanders better without Smyth and Blake. I think it was a much better choice to sign Fedotenko and Sim. I think I like the Islanders better this year, than last. They did sign Guerin, though. I dont like that signing as much.
July 15, 2007 2:48 AM ET | Delete
forsberg didn't play well in philly? he was just part of one of the best lines in the NHL...
July 16, 2007 12:56 AM ET | Delete
injuries stopped forsberg from being a bigger producer than what he was but you can't complain when even though ho only played 60 or more games in his first year and 40 something the 2nd he still averaged a point a game for his two years i don't think that would be considered a bust
July 16, 2007 2:05 PM ET | Delete
you have to give forsberg some credit, an injury plagued season, many people considered it an "off" season for him, and he gets 55 points in 57 games. maybe a little bit lower for foppa's expectations, its his first NHL season in his career where he didnt average a point a game, but a solid campaign none the less.
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