I see how a lot of these UFA's want to go play for their "home team" when they get the chance, I personally would probably do the same thing. If I were playing for the Canucks or Ducks and I became a free agent, I would love to come back east and play for the Devils.
I think Lou should take this into consideration before that player leaves, and work out a trade to that team. Clarky is a perfect example, we were having a bad season last year and could have shipped him to the Leafs for their playoff run. We all seemed to know that he wanted to play for Toronto, I'm sure Lou knew too, and they couldve sat down and had a man to man talk about it.
We draft/sign these young players and build them up....only to see them bolt for nothing, and then we have to over pay for "replacements".
i'm 100% with you on this. Most will disagree though.
Just take the Sharks last season, very very similar situation than us and perfect example (we we're actually having a worst season than them). They were in the race for the playoffs and still traded Clowe cause they knew he wouldn't re-sign there. They still made the playoffs and wouldnt have done much better with Clowe either. They got 2 second round picks and a 3rd. I'm sure we could have got even more for Clarky.
And well that some admit it or not... turns out it would have been the best move to do for the franchise. We recovered pretty well with Clowe and Ryder and all i think we have a good team for the next few seasons but again... a few extra picks in that draft or prospects would have been pretty sweet.