Biggest Contract: Ladies and gentlemen, the Brian Campbell contract! An eight-year, $56.8-million immovable mega-deal! Then again, this would probably be more manageable if it wasn't for Christobal Huet's own spacious deal.
Biggest Surprise: Not many people thought that Scott Clemmensen would do much more this year than be "that guy" behind Martin Brodeur and Kevin Weekes, but Clemmensen surprised us all. After Brodeur got hurt, Clemmensen came in and took over the starter's job, winning 25 games for the Devils with a .917 save percentage and a 2.39 goals-against average. In many ways, Clemmensen was a pioneer: Many people attribute Antti Niemi, Tuukka Rask, and Michael Leighton for the "cheap goalies can win games too" perception, but Clemmensen did it first. And got paid by Florida a year later.
Best for the Money: While lots of people find it fun to pick on the Islanders, it was especially classy after they signed Mark Streit. While Streit had just come off a 60-point season with Montreal, few saw him repeating that, especially with the Islanders. In his first season with New York, Streit rammed 16 goals in from the point and added 40 assists, and came a point shy of two-straight fifty point seasons with the Islanders this year.
Most Economical: Say what you will about signings by the Toronto Maple Leafs, but Niklas Hagman worked. In one year with Toronto he had 22 goals in an injury-shortened year. The following year he split with the Leafs and Calgary, and collected another 25 goals. For $3-million a season, that's pretty good production.
Biggest Bust: This will be fun, how about a multiple choice question?
A) Wade Redden, six-years/$39-million: 40 points over two full seasons with the Rangers. FOUR MORE YEARS!!!
B) Radim Vrbata: This one is really not his fault, just a series of unfortunate events. Vrbata's head wasn't level when he signed for $9-million over three years with Tampa Bay because of complications with his wife's pregnancy. The Lightning let him go back to Europe for the season and then return. The Lightning had filled Vrbata's spot when he announced his intentions to return to the NHL, so they shipped him to Phoenix. He played 18 games for Tampa.
C) Sean Avery: Way to go Dallas. Way to go.