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It is a reality in the new NHL. There are still a few significant UFA's up for grabs going into training camp. And they may be retiring early. The Boston Globe asked Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli if he was eyeing any of these UFA's.

"There's a lot more of them this year," said Chiarelli, noting a truth of the new CBA -- that huge contracts to select players have shriveled the cash available for veteran help. "I've been talking to three guys about invitations, but I want to see how rookie camp goes first, and we'll see from there." Chiarelli would not hint at names, other than to discount the likes of former Bruins Jason Allison, Brian Leetch, and Anson Carter. He could be considering veteran forward Tom Fitzgerald, who was among the many free agents the Bruins decided not to extend contracts to once the 2005-06 season came to a halt.
Tom Fitzgerald fits into the checking role category, and is very effective at it. The Bruins have absolutely no need for a player who will play on the top 2 lines.

Alexei Zhamnov,
the $12 million-plus experiment that blew up in the Bruins' face last season, will report to training camp this week, ostensibly to fail his medical examination. According to general manager Peter Chiarelli, the 35-year-old pivot faces no option but to retire, because of the ankle he broke last season. "Sometimes he can barely walk," said Chiarelli. Zhamnov, who had 1 goal and 10 points in 24 games before shattering the ankle, will be categorized a "long-term injury exception," as provided by the CBA, and his remaining salary (two years/$8.2 million) will be excluded from the cap. The Bruins must pay Zhamnov his remaining salary, as scheduled over the two seasons, and then seek reimbursement via insurance.
(via The Boston Globe. Hat tip to Spector's Trade Rumors.)
I hope nobody was crazy enough to take Zhamnov in their fantasy pools!

Anyone feel bad for Anson Carter yet? I know I don't. I feel a touch of sympathy for Allison though, who still gets a point per game, and is ultra cheap, but doesn't have the wheels to play in the new NHL.