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Calling Bargain, Rip-off or Perfect Deal for Major 2013 NHL Free-Agency Signings

Franklin SteeleAnalyst IIDecember 1, 2016

Calling Bargain, Rip-off or Perfect Deal for Major 2013 NHL Free-Agency Signings

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    Teams have few opportunities to really break the bank and do some damage against their cap like they can during NHL free agency. Whenever viewing a particular squad's cap situation, the player that it is being overpaid typically didn't arrive via the farm system.

    No, most of the brutally overpaid players in the league arrived as a free agent.

    With the cap in place and successful teams doing everything they can to keep their homegrown talent, we're seeing a drastic drop-off in the quality of FAs as the years go by. Now a general manager who is looking to add an impactful player come July needs to open the checkbook a bit wider than he would have had to a decade ago.

    Still, some GMs manage to not overreach while still getting their guy.

    All cap hit numbers and contract information appears courtesy of Capgeek.com.

Vincent Lecavalier: Philadelphia Flyers

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    New Contract: Five years, $22.5 million

    The Philadelphia Flyers are a tough team to understand these days. After buying out 35-year-old Danny Briere for cap relief, they almost immediately turned around and signed 33-year-old Vincent Lecavalier to a long-term deal.

    He gives the Flyers a size boost down the middle, and while he's not known as a scrapper, he's no pushover either.

    Lecavalier isn't a 100-point player anymore, but a 60-plus-point campaign isn't out of the question. He's going to be an integral part of the top six moving forward, and he could surprise some people if he moves to Claude Giroux's right wing.

     

    Bargain, Rip-off or Perfect Deal: Perfect deal

    The Flyers really didn't have the cash to spend on Lecavalier, but they landed arguably the best free agent for a cap hit that's similar to Olli Jokinen and David Legwand.

Nathan Horton: Columbus Blue Jackets

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    New Contract: Seven years, $37.1 million

    We likely won't know the impact of this deal until a year from now—after Nathan Horton actually plays an entire season for the Columbus Blue Jackets. That won't happen in 2014, because Horton required shoulder surgery this offseason, as reported by Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch.

    That'll likely put him out until at least December. The Jackets are betting a lot of cash that Horton won't suffer any lingering effects and regain his old form. If he bounces back, $5.3 million a season might not be all that bad of a cap hit.

    He's been an effective 50- or 60-point player when healthy, and he is a proven playoff performer.

     

    Bargain, Rip-off or Perfect Deal: Perfect deal (for now)

    Horton will need to stay off of the IR for this deal to be even remotely worth it. That's been an issue for him over the past three years. Columbus is hoping that these issues were flukes and not the norm. If Horton finds himself in the press box more often than not, this deal could be a catastrophe for Columbus.

Valtteri Filppula: Tampa Bay Lightning

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    New Contract: Five years, $25 million

    Steve Yzerman must have seen something in Valtteri Filppula that his old team in Detroit didn't. Filppula's camp maintained this five-year, $25 million asking price throughout 2013, and Detroit general manager Kenny Holland wasn't willing to pay up for one outstanding season.

    The Tampa Bay Lightning were.

    During his time in Detroit, Filppula was a player who showed a lot of promise but rarely cashed in. While he's a sound two-way forward, the Lightning aren't paying him for his defensive prowess. They'll be looking for 60-point seasons out of their Finnish center.

     

    Bargain, Rip-off or Perfect Deal: Rip-off

    Filppula has shown no ability to produce at a high level for sustained periods of time. Consistency is an issue and always has been, and giving him five years to put it together seems like a bit of a reach.

Stephen Weiss: Detroit Red Wings

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    New Contract: Five years, $24.5 million

    Stephen Weiss took a moderate raise (as opposed to a crazy one) to go to the Red Wings, and he gives the team all kinds of interesting options in its top six. He was the most consistent forward on an on-again-off-again Florida Panthers team and could thrive in an environment like Detroit alongside players like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

    He's more or less a replacement for Filppula and is actually coming in on less of a cap hit while actually having more than one good season under his belt.

    The Wings aren't paying for promise or potential with Weiss. They know exactly what they are getting, which is a top-two center for at least another three or four years.

     

    Bargain, Rip-off or Perfect Deal: Bargain

    It's impossible to see Weiss as anything but a bargain when comparing his output to the likes of Filppula and Tyler Bozak, who were both paid similarly despite being gambles.

David Clarkson: Toronto Maple Leafs

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    New Contract: Seven years, $36.75 million

    Now, all it takes to receive a big-money, long-term contract is one (or maybe two) solid seasons. The formula is simple: score some goals during your contract year (forget consistency) and then get paid.

    Exhibit A: David Clarkson.

    He scored 30 goals during the 2011-12 season while playing on a power play alongside Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. The Toronto Maple Leafs secured their most coveted player in Clarkson but seemingly ignored the fact that he was a 30-point player prior to erupting alongside two ultra-talented players.

    Clarkson came out of the gates hot in 2013, scoring 10 goals in his first 14 games before massively tapering off.

     

    Bargain, Rip-off or Perfect Deal: Rip-off

    Clarkson is a player who can play a physical game and loves to bang bodies, but $36 million and seven years for a one-time 30-goal scorer is ridiculous.

Daniel Alfredsson: Detroit Red Wings

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    New Contract: One year, $5.5 million

    Arguably the biggest surprise of this particular free-agency period was the unfolding of the Daniel Alfredsson saga. He went from beloved captain of the Ottawa Senators to complementary piece of the Detroit Red Wings in seemingly no time at all.

    He's 40, but a desire to win a Stanley Cup has a tendency to knock five years off of a player's age. He scored 10 goals in 2013 and was effective in the playoffs with the Sens.

    Alfredsson won't be called upon to be a dominating offensive presence in Detroit, but this is arguably the most talented team he's ever been a part of. 

     

    Bargain, Rip-off or Perfect Deal: Perfect deal

    The fact that so much of Alfredsson's contract is tied to performance bonuses is stellar for the Red Wings. If he plays like a $5 million guy, then he'll be paid like one. If he doesn't, then he won't.

Jarome Iginla: Boston Bruins

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    New Contract: One year, $6 million

    No Nathan Horton? No problem. The Boston Bruins wasted little time in replacing the big-bodied right winger with Iginla, who comes to town after turning down the chance to play with the B's during the playoffs.

    He chose the Pittsburgh Penguins at the last minute and was, in turn, flattened by Boston during the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Iggy wasn't about to make the same mistake twice. He'll be an important part of a retooled Bruins team that made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final last year. There's no mystery about what he brings to the table, either.

    Boston picked up an outstanding leader and a guy who is willing to do anything to win in Iginla. Like Alfredsson, he's playing for his first Stanley Cup ring, and that'll likely be apparent on the ice on a nightly basis.

     

    Bargain, Rip-off or Perfect Deal: Perfect deal

    Iginla likely had the choice to take less money for a longer term, but he opted for the one-year, big-money deal. Boston did well to not tie itself to an aging player, while Iggy, 36, did well to secure another sound payday for himself.

Mike Ribeiro: Phoenix Coyotes

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    New Contract: Four years, $22 million

    One of the first free agents to find a new home was Mike Ribeiro. Staying true to his word, he took a bit less money for a longer term with the Phoenix Coyotes. The Desert Dogs landed arguably the best free agent in team history.

    The 'Yotes have needed a No. 1 center for the better part of the past decade. On July 5, they finally found one. Ribeiro will line up with Shane Doan, and the power forward is likely to bring the very best out of the puck-distributing center.

    Ribeiro, who logged 49 points in 48 games last year, was a boost to the power play with the Washington Capitals. Phoenix will look for him to have a similar impact with the extra man.

     

    Bargain, Rip-off or Perfect Deal: Perfect deal

    He may be getting a bit older, but Ribeiro, 33, plays a smart game that doesn't require a whole lot of physicality. That will be Doan's area to handle, leaving the new center to dish pucks and find open teammates for the next four years.

Ryane Clowe: New Jersey Devils

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    New Contract: One year, $6 million

    No Nathan Horton? No problem. The Boston Bruins wasted little time in replacing the big-bodied right winger with Iginla, who comes to town after turning down the chance to play with the B's during the playoffs.

    He chose the Pittsburgh Penguins at the last minute and was, in turn, flattened by Boston during the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Iggy wasn't about to make the same mistake twice. He'll be an important part of a retooled Bruins team that made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final last year. There's no mystery about what he brings to the table, either.

    Boston picked up an outstanding leader and a guy who is willing to do anything to win in Iginla. Like Alfredsson, he's playing for his first Stanley Cup ring, and that'll likely be apparent on the ice on a nightly basis.

     

    Bargain, Rip-off or Perfect Deal: Perfect deal

    Iginla likely had the choice to take less money for a longer term, but he opted for the one-year, big-money deal. Boston did well to not tie itself to an aging player, while Iggy, 36, did well to secure another sound payday for himself.

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