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Justin Williams tops the list of best signings this offseason

Harry How/Getty Images

NHL front offices have taken a dramatic leap forward in the popular valuation of free agents this summer. At least, that's the general feeling within the hockey analytics community, who approved of roughly four deals out of every five. Several signings, including the new contracts for the five offensive-minded young forwards featured below, received virtually universal approval.

To arrive at these results, I assembled a mega-team of 28 leading names from the hockey analytics community (the full list can be seen at the bottom of the column), across a broad spectrum of locations and perspectives. I sent each one a list of the 44 restricted and unrestricted free agents that agreed to a new deal with an annual cap hit of at least $2 million, on or after July 1. Using statistical criteria and standards of their own choosing, but setting aside more subjective factors like grit, leadership and clutch play, each statistical expert either approved, disapproved, or expressed neutrality on each contract.