It's that time of year! Hockey is back, and training camp for the 2011-2012 season has just begun.
Today also marks another milestone; the offseason signing period is now realistically over for players still left on the free agent market. However, while that's certainly unfortunate for them, 169 other players successfully signed a contract with a new team this past summer and are just starting to get back on the ice.
Looking back over an exciting and expensive three months, forwards seem to have been the typical headliners of this summer, and that's no surprise given the extreme variations in their contracts.
From the biggest bargains—which we'll cover soon enough—to the craziest rip-offs (like Ville Leino's outrageous $27 million deal) —this offseason was clearly highlighted by the money.
But, while some GM's went way over the top with their checkbooks, others played it conservatively. For a certain few, as well, their careful spending didn't just keep their salary chart in proportion but also still landed them some talented forwards.
We've picked out five grade-A scorers who received contracts with cap hits over $2.0 million that might be wishing they had asked for more in the salary department. These big-bargain forwards, as they might be called, tended to have an uncanny set of similarities.
For our top five bargains, which will be outlined in this article, all five were veterans over 30 years of age who can score and stand up for themselves.
So who are the top five major-contract free agent signing bargains, in the forwards department, of the 2011 offseason?
Let's have a look.