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Parity comes to the NHL
Parity is one of many buzzwords used liberally during the NHL's recent negotiations with the players union. In past years, the big free agent signings were almost always limited to teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers. So far this year, the shoe seems to be on the other foot. The big market teams with large payrolls, who did not buy out their big contracts are feeling hamstrung while the previously low payroll teams are finding that they can get some real bargins as player salaries come down.
The Columbus Blue Jackets signed Adam Foote to a multi-year deal, Edmonton traded for Chris Pronger and signed him to an extension while also getting Mike Peca from the Islanders. Meanwhile Montreal decided to keep Alexi Kovalev, Boston signed future hall of famer Brian Leetch to a one year deal, Calgary inked Iginla, McCarty and Amonte. Philadelphia Flyers made a huge splash getting Derian Hatcher, Chris Therian, Mike Rathje and Peter Forsberg, the Atlanta Thrashers got a relative bargain on Bobby Holik, Marcus Naslud stayed put with the Canucks and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks grabbed Scott Neidermayer.
It will be interesting to see how some of these deals pan out as the NHL salary is set at $39 for this season but could easily decrease. The higher value of the Canadian dollar vs the American currency that players get paid in is also likely to have played a role in the player decisions made by Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.