That was a strange title to write. The double possessive.
While the free agent period isn't over (thanks, Kovalchuk), there have been plenty of signings to talk about, analyze, and weep over(sorry about the Boogeyman, Matteau). Here are my picks:
Anton Volchenkov to the Devils
Sure, there were flashier blueliners out there that signed for similar money (Gonchar, Hamhuis, Martin), but Lou made Anton a deal he couldn't refuse. Out of all the big free agents on the blueline, I expect Volchenkov to have the most pronounced effect on his new team. While the departure of Paul Martin in Swampland is notable, the guy only played 22 games last year. So basically, this was a team carried by Johnny freakin' Oduya until the trade deadline. Now they add a tough as nails, shot blocking, hard-hitting, vodka-guzzling maniac. The Sister Banger is very happy about this signing. Very happy indeed.
Sergei Gonchar to the Senators
Maybe I'm being a bit biased here. I'll come clean. I'm not a Sergei Gonchar fan by any stretch of the imagination. And while his playoff performance this past summer was pathetic by anybody's standards, that's not why I'm choosing this to be the worst deal made so far. My biggest problem with this deal is that the Senators are now stuck with a 3-year, $5.5 million dollar per year deal with a rapidly aging defenseman when there were better options out there. Gonchar was given a no-trade clause, and since he was over 35 when he signed the contract, the cap hit remains throughout the life of the contract even if he retires or is waived. Younger, more well-rounded players like Paul Martin or Dan Hamhuis would have been better options.
Nikolai Zherdev to the Flyers
Yeah, he's an ultra-talented Russian. Yes, there have been concerns about his work ethic, consistency, and attitude. Yes, he fled the NHL to spend a year in the KHL. Still, the $2 million dollar deal allows the flyers to add a creative and immensely-talented scorer in their top 9 with little risk because it's only a 1 year deal. $2 million is a low figure for a young guy who put up 61 and 58 points in his last 2 years in the NHL.