BY: Pierre LeBrun

I take you back to a conversation I had with an NHL GM this past weekend in Montreal. He was saying that, for the first time in a while, July 1 might be a little quieter than normal and the signings might be spread out over the course of the summer.

Ah, no.

The July 1 fireworks were as explosive as ever. Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik, Martin Havlat, Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, Mike Komisarek, Mattias Ohlund and Nikolai Khabibulin all changed teams for big bucks.

Recession? Ha!

But let's see how the second-wave free agents get treated. That's where we might see a tightening of the collective belt. The high-end guys above -- not to mention the Sedin twins' re-signing in Vancouver and Jay Bouwmeester's saying yes to Calgary -- all got their high-end money. But will the craziness filter down to the middle group of free agents? I'm not so sure. I think you might see a group of players sitting there in August wondering how the heck they lost out on the game of musical chairs.

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