NHL free agency not what it once was

Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane (left) and Jonathan Toews likely will be locked up by their team...

Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane (left) and Jonathan Toews likely will be locked up by their team before other clubs ever get a chance to sign them through free agency. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency/Files)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:37 AM ET

Back in 2006, the Boston Bruins inked arguably the most impactful unrestricted free agent of the past decade in towering 6-foot-9 defenceman Zdeno Chara.

Remember back to those days when superstar players like Chara actually became available on the free-agent market?

These days, you almost never see that happen anymore. For example, the most coveted points producer of the UFA Class of 2014 was Paul Stastny, who received $7 million US per season from the St. Louis Blues despite not having cracked the 70-point barrier in four years.

Indeed, the crop of free agents seems to be drying up each and every summer, thanks in part to more and more teams locking up their elite players to lengthy extensions like the Anaheim Ducks did with franchise cornerstones Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, who are both signed through 2021 at cap hits of more than $8 million a year.


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