It's not really a valid comparison to compare UFAs and RFAs. Crosby never touched unrestricted free agency (and likely never will), and nor did Ovechkin. Had either one of them been UFAs, they likely would have been offered contracts for the league maximum from multiple teams. Also, they both signed a couple of years ago and contracts have been on the rise.
One could make the argument that Kovalchuk is the best player to reach unrestricted free agency in the modern era, and certainly post-lockout. When was the last time a player of Kovalchuk's talents, having just turned 27 years old, hit the open market, available to the highest bidder? I can't remember such an occasion.
Well he wanna get paid, cash in, it's his job, you can't choose the biggest contract and also best chance for cup, you get your dreamcontract and aim to have a decent chance of winning, NJ is a decent team but most likely won't win any time soon.. he couldn't sign with vancouver, detroit, chicago, pittsburgh, boston, washington and the powerhouse teams because they have no cap room for the money he wanted
Either you take:
1. Best chance for cup & s***ty salary 2. Bad/Decent chance for cup & maximum salary
I think all pro players pick #2 unless they are in latter stages of their career, already cashed in and is desperate for cup
LULZ WERE TEH BEST N DETROIT SUCKZ WHAT'S A CELERY CAP HEY WHERE'D EVERYBODY GO
Not saying they are trying to be like Detroit, though the Bowman's obviously brought their fondness for Swedes over to Chicago.
I disagree with you on the cup thing. The Hawks are stacked with prospects and the core is set. While this upcoming season very well could be rough. In 2-3 years when these guys all come up it will be fun. There's a lot of top 4 defense and top 6 forward prsospects in the pipeline, and all of them will only need to fill bottom pair or 3rd or 4th line roles. The Hawks will be ridiculous in a few years IMO.