Free agency gives players a chance to hit it big once their previous contract expires.
While many of the issues surrounding free agency are at the root of the current lockout, teams know they can get significantly better or worse depending on the players they bring on board through free agency.
While teams must still draft well and develop young talent in the minor leagues, a solid free-agent signing or two can help a good team turn into a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
Conversely, a poor signing can turn a playoff team into an also-ran.
Here's our look at the 15 most ridiculous free-agent signings.
(Contract details are courtesy of CapGeek.com.)