1) The first day of the UFA feeding frenzy is over and what seems to be apparent is that there may be 'cost certainty' with a salary cap, but it seems with yesterday's signings the big revenue squads stepped up and scooped up the big names, while the lower revenue teams had to sit back and watch.
2) We were told repeatedly that Gomez wanted to go west, but when it came down to it, to borrow/paraphrase a popular God Father phrase, he just got an offer from the Rangers he couldn't refuse. The amount and length they gave Scott was way more than LA could or wanted to give, so they dropped out of the bidding and Sather got his man. Not to be out done, Glen then set his sights on another prize, Chris Drury. The man that helped sink the Rangers playoff hopes this past spring. By offering the former Sabre to a 5 year 7+ mil deal, they out bid almost all others, and Drury didn't mind staying in NYS either.
3) Add to those signings the Ryan Smyth to Colorado, the Philly acquisitions of Briere yesterday, Hartnell, and Timonen last week, Rafalski to the Redwings, Jason Blake to Toronto and the it appears the former big spenders were back at it! In fairness other teams were in the running for some of these players. The isles actually offered Smyth MORE money than the Avs, but in the end(as we predicted) he went back to his comfort zone, the Western Conference.
4) Its not over either. There are still a few big fish left. Noteably, Sheldon Souray, Hamrlik, Handzus, Guerin, Forsberg, Bertuzzi, etc. Now, other than Souray, those are the second string of UFA's, but they will get decent deals now that the others are gone and teams scramble to try to fill their rosters. We may also see our first offer sheet in the next few days. One asst GM said to us jokingly that a team should offer Ranger RFA goalie Henrik Lundqvist a huge offer sheet, just to stick it to Sather. We're sure the rangers would match it and somehow get him signed, but it would definitely hurt them. More possible would be an offer sheet for ray Emery or Zac Parise. The Isles have lost out on Smyth, and Blake, so they may try to force Lou to match a mega offer at this time. The same might be said of Vanek in Buffalo, but with their losses of both Drury and Briere it appears they have plenty of space to match any offer he might receive.
5) Additionally, with the first wave of UFA's under contract it is much more likely we will start to see the trades that were initiated last week in Columbus to come to fruition. Its an exciting time! We will do a post in the upcoming week or so and go through the biggest winners/losers of the UFA period. Still too early to make any firm determinations, but already some teams have helped themselves while others need to make significant moves to shore up their rosters