On Monday, the Florida Panthers acquired the negotiating rights of soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Tomas Kopecky from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a conditional draft pick. By Wednesday, the Panthers had signed Kopecky to a four-year, $12 million deal paying the left-winger $3 million annually after his career year of 15 goals and 42 points (with a -13!) in 2010-11 with Chicago. Don’t laugh just yet—it gets better.
Late Wednesday night, the rights of Steve Montador, another upcoming UFA, were traded to Chicago from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 2012 seventh round draft pick. What kind of a bizarro world have we entered where Montador is actually a hot commodity prior to free agency frenzy that comes on July 1?