Thursday marks the end of the first week of NHL free agency. It’s a nerve-racking time for players still looking for a home, since conventional wisdom says that if you don’t have a deal in place by the end of Week One, you’re pretty much out of luck. You could end up having to wait all summer, like Cody Franson did last year. You may not get a contract anywhere at all.
But the good news is that that’s not quite true, at least not all the time. A look back through the history books shows us that there have been a handful of major signings in the second week of free agency. It’s a small handful, to be sure, but you take your hope where you can get it.
Here are the five biggest names who found new homes in Week Two of unrestricted free agency during the salary cap era.
2006: Brendan Shanahan, Rangers
The signing: After nine years and three Stanley Cups in Detroit, Shanahan headed for New York with a one-year, $4 million deal on July 10, 2006.
How big was it? Fairly big. Shanahan’s departure came on the heels of Steve Yzerman’s retirement, putting an exclamation point on the fact that an era was ending in Detroit. And he was coming off of a 41-goal, 81-point season, so even at 37 years old he looked like a guy with some hockey left in him.
Did it work out? Pretty much. Shanahan put up 29 goals and 62 points, and provided the sort of leadership that quickly won over the Rangers faithful. He re-signed for another year in New York, scored 23 more goals, and then finished his career with a return to the Devils. All-in-all you’d have to call this signing a success, which it goes without saying was a flagrant violation of established Rangers team policy.