32 Teams In 32 Days: Columbus Blue Jackets
Looking at top free agent signings and when they actually work as planned.
In Today’s 32 Team look around the league we dig into the Columbus Blue Jackets and their big free agency signing of Johnny Gaudreau.
Be sure to check out yesterday’s look at the Detroit Red Wings and how things are starting to come together for them.
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In most cases NHL free agency is a fool’s paradise.
The true top-tier players rarely reach the open market because the teams that have them tend to do everything in their power to keep them for as long as possible.
That leaves the actual free agent market as nothing but a pool full of second-and third-tier players that are at the tail end of their prime years. The league’s 32 general managers then get into bidding wars for players that have almost certainly already played their best hockey for somebody else and are already on a clear downward trajectory in their career. A couple of years ago over at NBC I looked at NHL free agency and how most of the long-term contracts that get signed tend to end in a buyout, a trade, waivers, or even retirement before the deal is actually completed.
Some teams are okay with this. If you are in a “win-now” mode and see a player that you think can be the difference between a championship and disappointment you might be willing to eat a couple of bad years at the end of a contract. It rarely works out that way, however, and most teams end up with a contract that clogs up their salary cap that they are looking to dump after just a couple of years.
There are always exceptions, of course, and the Columbus Blue Jackets may have landed one of those exceptions with their stunning signing of Johnny Gaudreau this offseason.
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