With the free-agent frenzy slowly starting to assume room temperature after a robust week, there is no clear-cut answer to the obvious question of which NHL team improved itself most markedly in what is akin to a zero-sum game in a league that has capped salaries since the owners lockout of 2005.
There is a sense that the past week has been Shakespearian in scope, full of sound and fury and not signifying a whole lot.
The best guess about the big winner might be the Toronto Maple Leafs, which landed Swedish goalie
Or you might be inclined to say the Chicago Blackhawks, who essentially subbed in
If an arbitrator liberates
You could argue that the Los Angeles Kings, who signed defenseman
Calgary signed defenseman
If Gaborik is healthy, the New York Rangers might have "won" free agency because the lowest scoring team in the Eastern Conference (with the Islanders) added a potential 40-goal scorer. The Rangers also foisted
But there is no debate about which team had the oddest week: the Montreal Canadiens.
This isn't Canada's Team. This is Lilliput's Team.
Gainey did not re-sign a single one of his 10 unrestricted free agents, including
In shunning his own free agents -- only Kovalev and Komisarek received contract offers -- Gainey tacitly admitted that the team he had assembled simply didn't work on many levels. In truth, the Canadiens have not had a truly cohesive team (or dressing room) for more than 15 years.
This was a chance to start as fresh, which Gainey did by adding the three forwards and signing defensemen
This was the first week of the NHL's summer merry-go-round. Considering the heights of their presumptive first-liners, the merry-go-round might be the only ride at the carnival the Canadiens will be allowed on.