June 30, 2011 2:13 pm

Are big deals the best deals?

We’re one day away from the start of the signing period for unrestricted free agents, a day during which NHL general managers will lavish millions of dollars on players. On the eve of the free-agency period, it’s interesting to note that two of the players who signed the biggest long-term contracts in 2007 — Chris Drury and Sheldon Souray — have now had those deals bought out by their respective teams. Remember the exciting days of 2007, when teams were falling over themselves to lavish money on Drury, Danny Briere and Scott Gomez? I thought it might be interesting to look back to 2007 and 2008, to see how some of those major contracts have turned out thus far, for the teams that inked the deals. In hindsight, how many of these deals would you do now?

2007
Danny Briere, Flyers, 8 years, $52 million — 218 points in 260 games, one Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
Chris Drury, Rangers, 5 years, $25.25 million — 151 points in 264 games, one playoff series win, bought out in 2011.
Scott Gomez, Rangers, 7 years, $51.5 million — 128 points in 158 games, one playoff series win, traded to Canadiens in 2009.
Michal Handzus, Kings, 4 years, $16 million — 135 points in 327 games, zero playoff series wins.
Brian Rafalski, Red Wings, 5 years, $30 million — 204 points in 292 games, one Stanley Cup championship, retired in 2011.
Ryan Smyth, Avalanche, 5 years, $31.25 million — 96 points in 132 games, one playoff series win, traded to Kings in 2009.
Sheldon Souray, Oilers, 5 years, $27 million — 76 points in 144 games, zero playoff appearances, bought out in 2011.

2008
Sean Avery, Stars, 4 years, $15.5 million — 10 points in 23 games, zero playoff appearances, claimed off waivers by Rangers in 2009.
Brian Campbell, 8 years, $56 million — 117 points in 215 games, one Stanley Cup championship, traded to Panthers in 2011.
Pavol Demitra, Canucks, 2 years, $8 million — 69 points in 97 games, one playoff series win.
Marian Hossa, Red Wings, 1 year, $7.45 million — 71 points in 74 games, one Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
Wade Redden, 6 years, $39 million — 40 points in 156 games, zero playoff series wins, in AHL in 2010-11.

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