We all get caught up in free agent hype this time of year. I am as guilty of it as anyone, but are we looking at a Stanley Cup for the Rangers or for the Kings because they grabbed the most attractive or simply the most free agents? No, not really.
I am going to look through some free agent signings from last summer and try to bring sanity to an insane time of year...
I'll work in alphabetical order, using a hockey magazine from last summer as a guide.
Jason Arnott to Nashville - 5 year contract and this would make Nashville a solid Cup contender. They finished fifth again and lost to the Sharks again with barely a struggle.
Rob Blake to LA - 2 year deal should make the Kings defence better right? The team showed very little improvement and Blake lost a step.
Martin Gerber to Ottawa - 3 year deal Ottawa now wants out of badly... He was supposed to replace Hasek.
Ben Guite to Colorado - No one cared, but the Avs got a solid agitator and energy player here. He didn't even qualify as an afterthought.
Ed Jovanovski to Phoenix - 5 year contract for 7 million per. I can say this as a Canuck fan who watched Jovo for years. He is big, solid and he gives the puck away a lot and takes bad penalties a lot. He looks good on a good team, but he can't drag a bad team up. Apparently, he may be traded this summer already.
Michael Peca to Toronto - The latest savior for the Leafs failed and he's already gone. He is overrated.
Sergei Samsonov to Montreal - He played so well, they gave him away. This is the third team in two years to give up on him.
I know this year's crop is better than last year, but what's to say Drury and Briere's numbers won't falter when they are out of Buffalo. People who are expecting Buffalo to just fall apart I believe are wrong. Drew Stafford appears to be the real deal and he'll get top six playing time now. Vanek is coming into his own and, if Connelly is healthy, he fills a hole at center.
The only team I am writing off is Edmonton and that is because it appears no free agents want to play for Lowe. Considering how he handled Ryan Smyth at the deadline, I don't blame them.
Some teams may improve through this frenzy, but I don't think we will see 100% success and if the cap stays at 50 mill, the long term contracts could become Yashin-like in their tradeability. I could be wrong, but lots of people are wrong about how the playoffs will shake down in JULY.
nice research... free agents havent really been a good investment
Mike Peca isn't overrated...he got injured but before that, from what I saw anyway, he was one of their best players. 2.5 mil wasn't that big of a risk either.You're right about the rest though
I don't think anyone expects Buffalo to fall apart but I don't think they'll get off to the start they did last year. They set a torrid pace early. They may start slow then pick up the pace. Briere's numbers may drop but he's still playing with Gagne so I could see an increase or a decrease. It's a tough call in Philly. Drury's numbers may improve depending on who he plays with. If he has Shanny or Jagr (doubt it) on his wing how could his numbers not improve?