NHL 2013 Free Agent Frenzy: The Biggest Losers List

Photo courtesy of Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

Photo courtesy of Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

Although some big fish are still circling in the National Hockey League unrestricted free agent pond, Jaromír Jágr and Dustin Penner come to mind, the bulk of the 2013 UFA feeding frenzy has run it’s course. Compliance buyouts, new in the recently signed NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining agreement, added some spice to the pot this year as super stars like Vincent Lecavalier hit the open market. As anyone who dabbles in sports betting in Canada knows, these moves will have a huge impact on the NHL 2013-14 season. Let’s take a look at some of the teams that were losers over the past ten days of NHL free agent frenzy action.

NHL Eastern Conference Free Agent Frenzy Losers

Despite mounting salary cap issues, the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t do anything to help their cause. Toronto got a bad deal with F Mikhail Grabovski (5-year/$27.5M) off their books and then added a richer one when they signed 29-year old forward David Clarkson ($36.75M) to a seven-year deal. Clarkson’s skills, which are decent but far from spectacular, will decline during the life of this deal. His price will add to the Leaf’s salary cap woes down the road.

Whether Tyler Bozak is worth $21 million over five years is highly debatable. However, prior to the start of the 2014-15 season, the Leafs will have to open their wallets to at least seven of their core players. The list includes talent like Carl Gunnarsson and Cody Franson this year, along with James Reimer, Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf next season. Adding Jonathan Bernier may help or hinder Reimer’s progression. Poor cap management makes the Buds our top 2013 NHL UFA frenzy loser.

NHL UFA Losers List: East Side Dishonorable Mention

-Florida Panthers
-Washington Capitals
-Tampa Bay Lightning

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UFA Period 2013 Losers: NHL Western Conference Clubs

How Mike Gillis keeps his job as general manger of the Vancouver Canucks is beyond comprehension.

The Luongo/Schneider goaltender fiasco should have been the last straw and “what could have been” will haunt Vancouver fans for years to come. Vancouver had Roberto Luongo signed to a lifetime contract and an opportunity to move netminder Cory Schneider during the 2012 NHL offseason. Instead, Gillis & Co. decided to give Schneider a 3-year contract extension worth $12 million.

With the core of the Canucks team showing some wear, including the Sedin twins getting up there in age, and moving Luongo being next to impossible, the Schnieder trade settled any goaltender controversy in Vancouver. Schneider left town for a 2013 first round pick and is now the heir-apparent to Martin Brodeur in New Jersey.

West Side Dishonorable Mention: NHL UFA Losers List

-St. Louis Blues
-Edmonton Oilers
-Nashville Predators

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