G Ed Belfour, Maple Leafs, two years, $13.5 million
Toronto management was pilloried for allowing goalie Curtis Joseph to sign with the Red Wings, but the 37-year-old Belfour (2.07 goals-against average, .928 save percentage) made everyone forget CuJo.
C Andrew Cassels, Blue Jackets, one year, $2.5 million
Superb playmaker (27 assists) brought the offense to life—revitalizing Geoff Sanderson (22 goals) in particular—at a thrift-store price.
D Philippe Boucher, Stars, four years, $9.3 million
Capable, smooth blueliner had 18 points, was +23 (second in league) and playing more than 20 minutes a game. He's good insurance if defensemen Derian Hatcher and Richard Matvichuk become free agents this summer and Dallas doesn't re-sign them.
C Bobby Holik, Rangers, five years, $45 million; D Darius Kasparaitis, Rangers, six years, $25.5 million Holik missed 18 games with hip and pelvic ligament tears, and supplied neither offensive punch (seven goals) nor defensive grit. Hit-happy Kasparaitis was clueless and-14, third-worst among defensemen.
RW Tony Amonte, Coyotes, four years, $24 million
Money's tight in Phoenix, and making him the club's highest-paid player was risky. His II goals haven't justified the outlay.
C Adam Oates, Mighty Ducks, one year, $3.5 million
Signed to rev up a moribund power play, he missed 15 games with a broken left hand and had a disappointing one goal and 12 assists with the man advantage.