While only time will tell which teams significantly helped or hurt their clubs on Day 1 of the 2011 free-agent frenzy, there's more than enough evidence to suggest some teams have already taken big strides forward, or alternatively, signed pacts that they could soon come to regret.
With a thin free-agent class and a significant salary-cap bump, teams could easily be spending a 20 percent premium over true market value on players signed this offseason. With that in mind, the Carolina Hurricanes should be congratulated on re-signing D Joni Pitkanen and LW Chad LaRose at reasonable prices while signing LW Jussi Jokinen at what works out to be a hometown discount at three years, $9 million.
In addition to being the league's career leader in shootout goals, the 28-year-old Jokinen contributes well on the power play, plays a surprisingly good possession game and scores at a legit top-six rate at even strength. He's certainly much more valuable than RW Tomas Kopecky, who was signed by Florida for the same cap hit.