John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo
The salary cap dropped this summer, but that didn't stop some teams from spending big money to lure new players. Here are the five most impactful signings of the offseason:
Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit Red Wings: One year, $5.5 million
The Ottawa Senators joined the NHL in 1992. They operated for just three years before Daniel Alfredsson joined the team in 1995. He's became captain in 1999 and has been there ever since—until this year. Alfredsson shocked the hockey world when he accepted a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings for 2013-14, citing a breakdown in relations with Senators management.
David Clarkson, Toronto Maple Leafs: Seven years, $36.75 million
Power forward David Clarkson cashed in on one of the biggest free-agent deals of the summer when he signed on with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The signing was a homecoming for the Toronto native, who had spent his entire career with the New Jersey Devils. Clarkson's tenure with Toronto got off to a rough start in preseason when he was slapped with a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to join a fight. Leafs fans will have to wait until October 25 for their prize signing to make his regular-season debut.
Andrew Ference, Edmonton Oilers: Four years, $13 million
After playing seven seasons and winning the 2011 Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins, Edmonton native Andrew Ference also elected to return to his hometown, signing a four-year deal with the Oilers. Ference has been regarded as a journeyman defenseman, but Edmonton has put a premium on his veteran leadership qualities, awarding him with the team's captaincy. He should play an important role in the development of a young, talented Oilers squad.
Jarome Iginla, Boston Bruins: One year, $6 million
The Boston Bruins came thisclose to acquiring Jarome Iginla just before last year's trade deadline. In the end, the former Calgary captain signed on with Pittsburgh, but Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli got a do-over this summer when he inked Iginla to a one-year free-agent deal. Iginla should play a prominent role on the right wing in the Boston offense.
Tim Thomas, Florida Panthers: One year, $3.75 million
Tim Thomas won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011 but has made nearly as many headlines for his unique life off the ice as he has for his goaltending. Before the start of the 2012-13 lockout, Thomas announced that he was taking a one-year sabbatical away from the game to spend more time with his family. Thomas returned to the NHL in September, signing a professional tryout contract with the Florida Panthers. His preseason play was strong enough for the team to ink him to a $3.75 million deal for the year.