Labor climate reshapes free-agent market

Instead of spending what they can during free agency, NHL teams will be spending what they can afford.

Updated: June 30, 2003, 5:05 PM ET
By Mike Heika | Special to ESPN.com

Rick Dudley was patiently trying to make the interviewer understand.

So why was it that the Florida Panthers GM wasn't interested in acquiring some of the top-level talent in the league in exchange for the first overall pick in last week's NHL entry draft?

"We really valued Nathan Horton, and it was going to take an awful lot for us to move out of the top three picks," Dudley said. "I told people right off the bat that I was going to set a high price, and that's what I did."

But ...

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