2013 NHL free agency is upon us, and that means only one thing: some players are about to get seriously overpaid. A mildly washed up 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr is going to make $5 million a year. 33-year-old powerplay specialist center Mike Ribeiro will seek a five-year deal—and he'll get it, along with big money and a no-movement clause.
That's the funny thing about the salary cap.
The owners instituted it to protect their cash (erm, "even the financial playing field") yet their GMs just can't help but throw money at anyone who has even a remotely recognizable name.
Here's a secret: championship teams win by icing players that are making less than they are worth. The Chicago Blackhawks just won the Stanley Cup while paying Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews $6.3 million each.
Or, likely $3 million less (each) than what they'd fetch on the open market.
Bargains are imperative to remaining competitive in the NHL these days. And while this particular free agency period will feature plenty of athletes fetching a few mil more than they are worth, that doesn't mean that there won't be a handful of bargain players available to the more savvy managers around the NHL.
As is the case with any bargain, there are risks involved. Several of these guys could turn out to be worth it, however.