Busts likely in weak free agent class 

June, 30, 2011
06/30/11
1:52
PM ET

It's the day before the start of free agency, the equivalent of Christmas Eve for deep-pocketed general managers across the NHL.

The anticipation is palpable. Star players will soon be signing on the dotted line for tens of millions of dollars, before smiling for photographers as they hold up the jersey of their lucky new team.

We're talking, of course, about Brad Richards and, well ... that's basically it. As it turns out, NHL free agency ain't what it used to be.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.

SPONSORED HEADLINES