Let me preface this with this qualifier...we are looking at a phenomenon that concerns itself with one year -- the year after a major free agency signing.
OK, there. Last year the top ten 2006 free agency signings (in terms of annual salary) earned approximately $48 million. Nine clubs were represented among the ten players (Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard being united in Boston). And here is the result . . .
-- of the nine clubs, four made the playoffs
-- of the nine clubs, six had a better record than the year before
-- of those six clubs with a better record, three still didn't make the playoffs
Free agency -- on the basis of this limited set of data and for the most lavishly compensated -- isn't a panacea, except for the players and their agents.