The 2011 NHL offseason featured a record-breaking level of free agent spending as traditionally small-market clubs tried desperately to increase their payroll to meet the new salary cap floor.
For a relatively weak free agent class, the contracts awarded were simply staggering—unproven and injury-prone players signed long term deals; notoriously unreliable players were paid more than established all-stars.
There is no question many NHL teams overpaid for talent during the 2011 free agent frenzy. However, some clubs were savvy enough to negotiate excellent deals with talented players capable of living up to the contract they were signing. As a minor aside, only unrestricted free agents (UFAs) will be considered—RFAs are NOT included in this list.
Which teams made the best deals? Which players will live up to the contracts they signed? Read on to find out.
As always, comments are welcome and appreciated.