Teams that let UFA's walk are cashing in
As the season draws near the quarter pole, the teams who most suggested as the “big losers” in the off season, are all looking down from the top.When the Bruins let unrestricted free agents Byron Dafoe and Bill Guerin walk, many ruled them out as playoff contenders. It didn’t help when top defenceman Kyle Mclaren demanded a trade either. But now the Bruins have the last laugh as they are once again sitting a top the Eastern Conference, and saving a bundle in the process.
The same goes for the Vancouver Canucks, the notoriously frugul Burke waved goodbye to Scott Lachance and Andrew Cassels who both signed with Columbus. The Nucks are currently riding an 8 game win streak that has carried them all the way to second place in the overly-competitive Western Conference.
The New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues and the Pittsburgh Penguins are all enjoying similar success as they chose not to fold into the contracts desired by key members of their teams.
Meanwhile teams on the other side of the free agent fence are crying all the way to the bank, Phoenix, Anaheim, New York, San Jose, Washington, Toronto, Detroit are all below .500 or off their mark from last year.
The only winner in the UFA market this year was the Dallas Stars, who spent ridiculous sums to push their team to the top. But even then I think the Stars are just as good a club without Guerin and Young, and could have saved big by just signing Boucher who has been the best UFA signee this year.
So what have we learned from all this? hopefully owners will realize that shelling millions to lure UFA’s to their clubs is a mistake, unless youre going to go all out like Dallas, your better off promoting from within. Glen Murray and John Grahame have played well in replacement of Guerin and Dafoe, Eric Boguneicki stands in for Young in St. Louis, Aleksy Morozov for Lang in Pittsburgh, and in Vancouver’s case, the whole team.