by PuckStopsHere on 07/08/13 at 12:20 AM ET
We have seen a lot of activity over the last few days. NHL free agents could be signed beginning last Friday. Free agents who became free agents because of contract buyouts had been signing before that. It all means very little in the relative rankings of teams. Last summer I posted a top 50 players list and not one of them changed teams over the weekend. Those are the difference makers in the NHL. The supporting staff moved around. That doesn't mean that nothing changed at all. I think the biggest result is Boston has dropped a bit. They lost a considerable amount of depth.
The widely reported story in the media that is false is that the NHL had to be shutdown for the first half of this season to "save" itself financially and the GMs are back with their reckless spending that broke it in the first place. The lockout occurred because fans have allowed it to. As long as the fans come back after any lockouts there is no reason not to have more. The financial changes will not save the financially troubled teams like the Phoenix Coyotes and Florida Panthers. It will make more money for the big teams like Toronto and the New York Rangers. Since the total salary paid by the NHL is linked to revenues, it doesn't matter how much players are paid on the first day of free agency or any other day. It doesn't change the bottomline for the league.
The media story of how horrible the new contracts are will help pave the way for the next lockout. The reality is the last weekend of signings probably changed little.
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