Free agency is a wonderful time of the offseason. Teams shell out massive amounts of money to land available players that could be the difference between missing and making the playoffs or making the playoffs and making a deep run in the postseason, offering fans hope of a better future.
There's no shortage of players who will have money thrown at them on July 1. Some of the big names include Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, Marian Gaborik, Paul Stastny and Matt Niskanen. Some players will re-sign with their current teams while others will move on to greener pastures, but they will all be paid handsomely for their services.
But there will also be those under-the-radar signings that can change the fortunes of a team.
That will be the focus of this slideshow—the best bargains available in unrestricted free agency. What constitutes a bargain is subjective and guessing how much money a player will earn is an inexact science (Will a free agent stay with his current team at a discount or break the bank elsewhere?), but there are some potential gems to be mined.
Feel free to bookmark this and throw it back in my face a year from now when all of these players are either huge busts or turn out to be vastly overpaid this summer.
(All statistics via NHL.com or ExtraSkater.com)