At this point and time, every team in the NHL is a contender for Lord Stanley's Cup. The dust has settled from free-agent frenzy, and overly optimistic fans get to mix and match dream scenarios for their newly acquired toys.
Well, for some fans, optimism is far from warranted. With all of the money that was shelled out in early July, it should come as no surprise that a good portion of that money was spent recklessly on players that will have much heavier wallets this winter.
In free agency, more is not always better. So, let's take a look at some of the biggest losers of the offseason thus far. And no, this isn't like the crappy television show where making this list is a good thing.
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Bryan McCabe has fallen flat on his face since being a sought after commodity heading into the 2011 NHL trading deadline.
The talented puck-moving defenseman was acquired by the New York Rangers, only to be a complete non-factor for the club during the homestretch of the season.
Now an unrestricted free agent, Bryan McCabe is struggling to find a potential suitor and may end up being forced into retirement.
Who would want to take on McCabe with the way he played at the end of the season?
The offseason moves of the Philadelphia Flyers have been beaten to death. I think everyone can agree upon that at least.
Whether you think the Flyers are better off now than they were before all of the hooplah, the one certainty of the situation is that Paul Holmgren is now firmly on the hot seat.
Holmgren has always been a ballsy GM, so I'm sure he's not afraid to stick his neck out there like he has, and the hot seat won't bother him. However, anytime a general manager puts his job on the line before the season even starts, that guy is in a pretty tough spot.
Paul Holmgren wouldn't have it any other way.
Goaltenders were flying off the board on the first day of free agency like no other position. Backups and starting-caliber goalies alike were being signed to contracts for solid money in most cases. One goaltender lost in the shuffle was Ray Emery.
Emery finished the season strong for the Anaheim Ducks after Jonas Hiller suffered a concussion. Despite that, the veteran netminder has is still currently unemployed, even though plenty of teams could stand to upgrade their goalie depth chart by signing him.
He will undoubtedly find a home, but Ray Emery has to be let down by the lack of interest in him this offseason.
It seems like just yesterday that Chris Drury was the big winner of free agency.
The veteran leader signed a five-year $35.25 million contract with the New York Rangers back in the summer of '07, only to be bought out prior to the start of free agency due to severe underperformance.
His release was a big story, but there was no happy ending for Drury, who still hasn't gotten the call from an NHL team with an offer he likes.
Nobody likes sitting around and playing the waiting game, especially Drury, who was scheduled to pocket over $7 million this season and is now unsigned.
Other than unveiling a flashy new uniform, there hasn't been much to write home about concerning the Nashville Predators' lackluster offseason.
They lost Joel Ward and Marcel Goc and still haven't come to terms with restricted free agent Shea Weber.
None of this is crippling, but for a team ready to take the next step and become a Stanley Cup contender, adding a top of the line talent for their offense would have been nice.
Of course, the Predators did not take a fatal step back this offseason and still figure to be right in the thick of things in the Western Conference.
Jaromir Jagr signed a one year contract worth over three million dollars to play for the Philadelphia Flyers next season. So, how could he possibly find himself on a list of losers?
Well, despite his hefty payday, Jagr has fallen out of favor with a decent chunk of his supporters in Pittsburgh for the way he handled the negotiations, and his ultimate decision to sign with the rival club on the other side of the state.
Of course, time will tell how much this affects his legacy, but if Jagr gets another ring out of the deal, I'm sure he'll deal with any ill effects.
After losing in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins, it seemed that things couldn't get a whole lot worse for the Vancouver Canucks. Then, free agency hit.
Vancouver ended up losing Christian Ehrhoff and Raffi Torres this offseason and didn't bring back a whole lot on the open market.
The Canucks are at a bit of a crossroads after the gut check they received in the Stanley Cup Finals. I'm really interested to see how this team responds in the fall.
The Colorado Avalanche have doen some major overhaul of their roster in the past five months or so, but I'm not entirely sure it's for the better.
The most glaring negative among the offseason moves for the Avs was the trade for Semyon Varlamov. With the goaltenders that were on the market, trading a first and second-round pick for the Russian goaltender.
That's a lot of stock to be putting in a kid who really hasn't done a whole lot in his time in the NHL.
Coming into the offseason, the Montreal Canadiens had tons of players hitting the open market, so it's no surprise they land on this lift.
Unfortunately, the Candiens had to let go of Roman Hamrlik and James Wisniewksi, only to vastly overpay for the aging Erik Cole. They also opted to re-sign Andrei Markov over the aforementioned defensemen, which seemed a bit curious.
Overall, this offseason was a step back for the Habs.
After an active, and somewhat successful offseason, many are ready to consider the Buffalo Sabres one of the Eastern Conference's elite teams and a threat to win the Northeast Division. Not so fast, folks.
Sure, on the surface brining in Robyn Reghr, Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino seems like a slam dunk for Buffalo, but when you consider the price the club paid to bring in Leino and Ehrhoff, one has to wonder just how much of a win it was for the team.
Roughly, the club is in a similar position that it was in a season ago just with a better defensive core. Though, I'm not sure this team is built for a Stanley Cup just yet.
Another overly active team this offseason was the Florida Panthers. Seemingly committed to a rebuilding project, the Panthers were slowly accumulating young talent through the draft to build the foundation for the future.
However, this offseason, the Panthers decide to break the bank on a number of lengthy contracts in order to reach the cap floor only to let Tomas Vokoun walk to the Washington Capitals in free agency.
The Panthers are a better team after free agency but still far from contending for the playoffs. I'm just not sure what the plan is in the Sunshine State.
The Dallas Stars managed to add a ton of depth this offseason, but the price tags on some of the free agents they acquired, specifically Michael Ryder, were a bit questionable.
Then, of course, there is the fact that Brad Richards left town for greener pastures in the big apple. Losing a franchise player like Richards is not something the team will recover from overnight.
Add to all of this the fact that the Stars still haven't found a new owner, and there hasn't been much good hockey news rolling through Dallas lately.
Tomas Vokoun must weep every time he sees the contract Ilya Bryzgalov signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, which was worth a hefty sum more than the $1.5 million deal Vokoun signed with the Washington Capitals.
Considering some thought of Vokoun as the best goaltender on the market, it appears he got shafted big time with the money he had to settle for.
Then again, Vokoun is concerned about winning, so if he brings home the Cup, nothing else is likely to matter to him.