Lowe is a crazy man sparing nothing to improve his team (in a way I kinda admire that). On the other hand, I get the 'strategy' aspect of what he did and it isn't good for the league. In getting the Sabres to sign Vanek at the average hit of over $7mil per year, the arbitrators will award some crazy contracts to the likes of Parise, Ryder, and Hunter (probably Roy too). Expect them to make similar money. Some of their teams won't want to pay and Lowe will be there with his checkbook and freshly-printed contracts to sign them once they're UFAs.
I can't blame him for trying to improve his hockey club. BUT he just drove up the market for young talent that isn't quite established. While I think the money that players are getting this offseason is crazy, the UFAs had been in the league long enough to pay their dues. Vanek is not an established veteran. He is in his 2nd full NHL season and he's getting $7mil a year. That is rediculous! Its taking hockey down a path that is dangerous for the sport. The arbitrators will have to reward huge contracts to the young players now based upon Vanek's contract. While it will no doubt be interesting to see where they end up, the huge contracts will kill the game. We are headed towards another lockout at this rate, and the NHL might not be able to recover from another one.