NHL Teams Commit A Record $500M To 70 Players On Opening Day Of Free Agency
The start of NHL free agency yesterday "was a crazy day of wheeling and dealing," as teams committed a record $500M (all figures U.S.) "to sign more than 70 players to new contracts," according to Eric Duhatschek of the GLOBE & MAIL. TSN said that the previous record was $384M spent back in '09. The "rush to sign players as soon the signing window opened at noon (Eastern) Tuesday came about largely because of a change in the collective bargaining agreement, which gave NHL teams a 'grace' period to explore contract talks with free agents five days before their old deals actually expired." Ryan Miller was "probably the biggest name player to land with a Canadian team," as he signed a three-year, $18M contract to join the Canucks. It "went along like that all day -- every new signing more bizarre than the last one until eventually you became numb to the numbers." But "hope springs eternal in the NHL and though the history of free-agent signings is littered with expensive mistakes, that knowledge didn’t prevent teams from wading in, cheque books in hand, to scoop up what had been thought of as a modestly talented free-agent group" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/2). In Toronto, Terry Koshan writes, "Jaws began dropping not long after NHL clubs were able to start throwing gobs of money at players that otherwise wouldn't have gotten it had it been any other day on the calendar." Some of the players who "found new homes on Tuesday will live up to their new contracts, but others will fall woefully short, leaving frustrated fans in their wake." What is certain is "the day itself surpassed its billing as a free-agent frenzy" (TORONTO SUN, 7/2).