Last year's National Hockey League lockout was supposed to put an end to the free agent insanity. So was the lower salary cap, down from $70.2 million last year to $64.3 million next season.

But NHL general managers just can't help themselves. When there's talent out there and money to be spent, they will inevitably spend beyond their means and all common sense.

Since the first compliance buyouts were announced just over a week ago, we’ve seen unprecedented player movement as big-name stars switched teams or hit it big in this year’s free agent lottery.

Frenzy? No – stupidity. Among the stupidest signings we’ve seen:

Calgary Flames sign Karri Ramo to be their starter

With Miikka Kiprusoff opting for early retirement, the Flames handed a two-year, $5.5 million deal to Ramo, who famously flamed out with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009 and has spent the last four years exiled in the KHL. In 48 career NHL games, the 27-year-old Ramo has a 3.35 GAA and a sub-.900 save percentage. So yeah, with little NHL-calibre talent in front of him, it’ll be a long year in Calgary.

Columbus signs Nathan Horton to a seven-year deal

Tough to say who was stupider in this one – the Blue Jackets, who will pay the fragile centre $37.1 million over the next seven years, or Horton, who goes from one of the best teams in the league to one of the worst. Horton says he wanted to go to Columbus because it’s “quieter.” Well, he’s right on that one … it does get pretty sombre in Columbus in February when your team is out of the playoff race. Oh, and did we mention that Horton is injured again and might not play until December? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

New Jersey signs Ryane Clowe for $24.25 million

Over five seasons, that’s an annual cap hit of $4.85 million. Clowe had a grand total of three goals last year between San Jose and the New York Rangers. Three. Look, I’m not a smart man, but any time the millions outnumber the goals, it’s a stupid deal.

Detroit signs Daniel Alfredsson

Ottawa Senators fans are still mourning the fact that their popular captain spurned the team for his career swan song, signing a one-year deal for $3.5 million and $2 million in potential bonuses with the spoked wheel. Really? Was it all those Stanley Cups that Alfie delivered over his past 17 seasons with the Sens? Or did they really want to spend $5 million for just 15 goals and countless bad hair days? Trust me, the Sens are much better off spending that that money on Bobby Ryan, who’s young, super-talented, and not to mention, well-coiffed.

Islanders sign Travis Hamonic for seven years

You would think that Islanders GM Garth Snow would have learned something about signing long-term deals after buying out the remainder of Rick DiPietro’s 15-year contract just a few days ago. So why would Snow sign the 22-year-old Hamonic to a seven-year, $27 million deal despite the fact Hamonic only had 10 points in 48 games last year? Because clearly, Snow hasn’t learned anything about signing long-term deals. Duh.

Flyers sign Vincent Lecavalier to five-year deal

Lecavalier could end up being the first player to get bought out twice in a career. Tampa Bay will be paying him $32 million over the next 14 years for their buyout, and the Flyers have now committed to paying him $22.5 million over the next five seasons to actually play for them. Tampa gave up on the 33-year-old centre because he’s a shell of his former self … do the Flyers actually think he’ll be better three of four years from now? Hand it the Flyers GM Paul Holmgren – when it comes to making stupid signings, he’s miles ahead of anyone else. Just ask Ilya Bryzgalov.

Flyers think Ray Emery is the answer to their goaltending woes

Philadelphia hasn’t had a good goalie since Ron Hextall, and now they’re depending on the second coming of Ray Emery to turn things around. Emery was handed the starter’s role with Philly back in 2009, before being diagnosed with a degenerative hip disease, and he’s bounced around commendably as a backup since then. Signing Emery to a one-year, $1.65 million deal puts the Flyers over the annual salary cap limit, in part because they’re still paying Chris Pronger $5 million a season even though he hasn’t played in two years. I call that the checkmate of stupidity.

Lightning sign Valtteri Filppula for $25 million

Let’s see here, Tampa GM Steve Yzerman is paying Lecavalier $32 million to not be his team’s second-line centre, and will now pay Filppula $25 million over the next five years to take the role. That works out to $57 million for a second-line centre. Then again, Filppula did have those nine goals and 17 points last year, so there’s that. Sheesh. Pretty stupid, Steve.

On the flip side, Nashville did well in signing Viktor Stalberg and Matt Hendricks, the Oilers added some much-needed grit with Boyd Gordon and Andrew Ference, and Phoenix smartly landed under-appreciated centre Mike Ribeiro.

And, with all the hysterics finally out of the way, maybe we’ll start seeing much more sensible contracts through the rest of the summer. Maybe.

1 Comments | Add a Comment
You think the Lecavalier signing is bad how about TOR sign of two good 3rd liners for big money, give me a break. Fucking Maple leafs, what a joke.
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