The spending on NHL free agents started Tuesday morning and hadn't stopped well into the evening. And the surprising part was, marquee players such as Marian Hossa, Jaromir Jagr and Mats Sundin still hadn't decided what team would shower them with riches.
Sundin was reportedly offered a two-year contract from the Vancouver Canucks worth $20 million, a deal that would make the Toronto Maple Leafs captain the league's highest-paid player.
Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said Sundin was sleeping on the offer in Sweden, and he expected to resume dialogue with him Wednesday. The offer does not carry a deadline, he said.
"I'm optimistic that we've made the best offer he can receive," Gillis said. "We think we present an opportunity he would like.
"We put a major offer together to try and attract the player we felt was the best center iceman on the market and it's an indication we are prepared to do what it takes to attract the best players here."
The biggest moves were made by the Chicago Blackhawks, who landed top defenseman Brian Campbell with an eight-year, $57.12 million deal, and goalie Cristobal Huet with a four-year, $22.5 million contract.
"Shocked. I think that word says enough," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said of the free-flowing cash around the NHL.
Campbell proved to be just a rental player for the San Jose Sharks, who got him from Buffalo at the NHL trade deadline but couldn't get out of the second round.
He and Huet are joining a team that boasts rookie of the year Patrick Kane and fellow forward Jonathan Toews, who was a runner-up for the award.
With the salary cap rising to $56.7 million for next season and the minimum jumping to $40.7 million, teams had lots of money to spend. They didn't waste any time in dishing it out.
"I wish I was a player," Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon said. "On July 1, you always overpay.
"We had to make a statement. We have created a buzz here in this market. We're starting to sell more and more tickets, more and more sponsorships. We decided that we'd try and make an impact today to continue that momentum."
The Blackhawks haven't made the playoffs since 2002, but got close last season with 88 points (40-34-8), three behind Nashville and the final playoff spot in the Western Conference last season.
The other big defensemen to reach deals Tuesday were Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden, who both signed with the New York Rangers.
Rozsival returned to the Rangers, where he spent the past three seasons, for a four-year, $20 million deal. Redden left the Ottawa Senators by signing a six-year contract worth $6.5 million per season.
Defenseman Mike Commodore said goodbye to the Senators, too, and signed a five-year, $18.75 million deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Cory Stillman, who went with him to Ottawa from Carolina at the trade deadline also found a new home with the Florida Panthers. The veteran forward agreed to a three-year contract worth $10.6 million.
Another defenseman, Colorado's Jeff Finger, signed a four-year, $14 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
While the Rangers waited for Jagr and Sundin to make up their minds, they were active in other areas, too. New York agreed to terms with free agent forwards Aaron Voros, formerly of the Minnesota Wild, San Jose's Patrick Rissmiller, and Andreas Jamtin from the Swedish league.
The Rangers also re-signed backup goalie Steve Valiquette.
That was just a minor move on a day in which eight goalies changed teams.
Huet, who helped the Washington Capitals get into the playoffs after being acquired from Montreal at the deadline, packed up again and headed to Chicago. The void wasn't open for long as the Capitals replaced him with veteran Jose Theodore, giving the 2002 NHL MVP a two-year deal worth $9 million.
Washington's longtime netminder Olie Kolzig left the nation's capital after 16 seasons and signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning worth $1.5 million plus bonuses.
Curtis Joseph returned to the Toronto Maple Leafs with a one-year, $700,000 deal; Alex Auld agreed to terms with Ottawa for a two-year deal worth $2 million; Ty Conklin left the Pittsburgh Penguins and joined the Detroit Red Wings, the team that beat his former club for the Stanley Cup, for a one-year, $700,000 contract; and Andrew Raycroft signed an $800,000 deal for next season with Colorado.
Each is expected to serve as a backup for their new clubs.
Lamoriello did his share of spending, too. He started the day be re-signing forward Jay Pandolfo and defenseman Bryce Salvador, but declined the Devils' option on veteran Sergei Brylin _ a three-time Stanley Cup winner in New Jersey.
Then the Devils dipped into the free-agent pool and brought back centers Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik. Rolston agreed to a four-year, $20 million contract, and Holik signed on for one year at $2.5 million. Rolston was the 11th overall pick in the 1991 draft by the Devils, before being traded eight years later.
Holik went No. 10 in 1989 to New Jersey and won two Stanley Cup titles before joining the Rangers as a free agent in 2002.
In other moves Tuesday:
_ The Boston Bruins signed forward Michael Ryder, who scored 14 goals for the Montreal Canadiens last season, to a multiyear deal.
_ The Phoenix Coyotes signed defenseman Kurt Sauer to a four-year, $7-million deal, and landed rugged forward Todd Fedoruk with a three-year contract worth $3.13-million.
_ The New York Islanders made some noise by signing Montreal defenseman Mark Streit to a five-year, $20.5 million deal.
_ Noted agitator Darcy Tucker signed a two-year, $4.5-million contract with Colorado.
_ Philadelphia made several moves, luring forward Glen Metropolit from Boston with a two-year contract and signing defenseman Ossi Vaananen. The Flyers also traded defenseman Denis Gauthier and a second-round draft pick in 2010 to Los Angeles for minor league players Patrik Hersley and Ned Lukacevic.
_ Toronto agreed to terms on a four-year contract with former Dallas forward Niklas Hagman.
_ Forward Andrew Brunette left Colorado to return to the Minnesota Wild, for whom he played from 2001-04. He signed a three-year, $7 million deal.
_ Tampa Bay followed up on deals with forwards Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts, and Vaclav Prospal, by signing wingers Radim Vrbata and Adam Hall. Vrbata received a three-year, $9-million deal, and Hall signed for three years and $1.8 million.
_ Pittsburgh re-signed forward trade-deadline acquisition Pascal Dupuis to a three-year, $4.2-million contract; signed enforcer Eric Godard to a three-year contract, and agreed to terms with defenseman Mark Eaton on a two-year deal.