It wasn’t all that long ago that free agency looked dramatically different. Before teams were allowed a window that spanned days to calmly assess the market and form rational opinions, it was a frenzy.
Agents tell stories about free agency kicking off on July 1, having the Rangers on one phone line, the Penguins on the second line and the Blackhawks on the cell phone, all competing for attention. Decisions were made in minutes, with teams submitting best offers and then being asked to sweeten them by a year or a million dollars as agents toggled from one line to the next.
It didn’t always make for great decision-making by general managers, but it was great for the players.