I would say Horton was the best guy on the market this year. I guess if you're not taking age into account when establishing value and are just going by what they'll likely do next year, then fine, but I don't know why that would be your standard.
I'd say Lecavalier was the best free agent available this year. I understand he has been kind of forgotten down in Tampa Bay but he is going to look like a steal at 4.5 these first few years. He's also 4 years young than Elias. Suter was a better player than Parise as well.
I think with the talent both Higher tier and mid tier that will be FA in 2014, 60% will be signed before the trade deadline.
That said, the deadline should be pretty intriguing because by then, we should have a fair idea where the cap will be going to for 14-15. Moves will be made not only for playoff rentals, but for positioning to acquire and resign guys for the next season, before they hit the true FA market (and the likely bidding war that makes for overpaid contracts).
The list of potential RFAs is pretty impressive too.
"There's a point, far out there when the structures fail you, and the rules aren't weapons anymore, they're... shackles letting the bad guy get ahead. One day... you may face such a moment of crisis." - Jim Gordon