Bern, Milan pick up 14 free agents

Some people collect baseball cards. Some collect Beanie Babies. EURO general managers skates21 and jkellyAT apparently collect humans.

More than half of the 27 players who signed free agent contracts today did so with either Bern or Milan. Bern signed 8 players including goalie Nicklas Backstrom, defensemen Anton Volchenkov and Ron Hainsey, and forwards Martin Havlat, Mike Cammalleri and Joel Ward. Milan changed the complexion of their team by picking up D-men Zbynek Michalek and Jaroslav Spacek, as well as forwards Nicholas Antropov, Brad Boyes, Dustin Penner and Brian Rolston.

The down side with getting so many players is the possibility of going over the cap and having to waive good players during the season. Milan had more than $11 million to play with before today and signed about $12 million worth of players. Expect some guys who had been penciled in on the fourth line to be sent to the farm team.

Bern might be in cap trouble. If coach Mike Babcock could play his best 20 players, the salaries would be around $70 million, well over the $61.5 million cap.  Skate21 will have to figure out a way around that problem.

The free agent who scored the biggest payday today was Daymond Langkow. The 35-year-old center will be paid $4 million in each of the next two seasons to play in Gothenberg.  

Defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Michal Rozsival also did well. Gonchar signed a $3.75 million deal with Madrid, while Rozsival went  to Athens for $3.5 million.

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