The head of the 2012 NHL free agency class for forwards was Zach Parise, the New Jersey Devils and 2010 Team USA captain. His teammate on the Olympic silver medal squad, Ryan Suter, is one of the world's top-10 players on the blue line.
After both signed with the Minnesota Wild, it was an Independence Day for teams like the San Jose Sharks who have been waiting for the market to change to make their moves. It will help set the market for other trades and free agents.
Of course, San Jose appears disinterested in the free agent market. However, there are reasons no team is being mentioned in trades as much as the Sharks. Not only have they been pursuing Rick Nash since before the trade deadline, but they made five trades in the eight months before that.
Eventually, Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson will either see his dream of desperate teams willing to overpay for his star come true, or he will have to come down from his exorbitant asking price.
It is most likely that he comes down, and then so will the more reasonable asking price for Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks—a younger player who might be as good. Meanwhile, top remaining free agents will know they are not getting Parise/Suter money and will have to settle for something around or under $6 million.
Of course, there is always the possibility that a team like the Detroit Red Wings (having lost Nicklas Lidstrom and Jiri Hudler from a team already on the decline) may drive the prices up. Thus, the Sharks would be wise not to wait too long for whatever they decide to do.