- NHL free agency opens Wednesday at noon ET.
- Forward Johnny Gaudreau is the best player available.
- The free agent class is deep on forwards and thin on defense and goaltenders.
The NHL’s free agency signing period officially began Wednesday at noon ET.
This year’s free agent class is rich in forwards, but a little thin on defense and goalkeeping.
Key players available at the opening buzzer were forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, Claude Giroux, Andrew Copp, Ondrej Palat, Ryan Strome and David Perron, defenders John Klingberg and Nick Leddy, and goaltenders Darcy Kuemper, Jack Campbell and Ilya Samsonov.
Kadri and Kuemper, along with Andre Burakovsky and a handful of other unrestricted free agents, played for the Stanley Cup-champion Colorado Avalanche.
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FREE AGENCY:Back to the Top 25 players testing the market
The Stanley Cup-winning goaltender is signed to a five-year, $26.25 million contract. The Capitals were unhappy with their goaltender last season and traded Vitek Vanecek and did not qualify Ilya Samsonov. Kuemper posted a career-best 37 wins last season and his .921 save percentage ranked fifth among league starters.
The striker signed a four-year, $19 million contract, agent Dan Milstein tweeted. He scored 21 goals in 53 games last season with the Maple Leafs last season.
The Lightning, which reached the Stanley Cup Final for the third straight year, are keeping the core. After giving defenseman Mikhail Sergachev an eight-year extension, Tampa Bay did the same with forward Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Erik Cernak. Sergachev is worth an average of $8.5 million, Cirelli $6.25 million and Cernak $5.2 million. Cirelli is the team’s center stopper and the role of Sergachev and Cernak will expand after the Ryan McDonagh trade.
The defender, acquired at the trade deadline, will receive $16 million over four years. He was a good fit after arriving from Detroit. His 130 games of playoff experience make him valuable.
The 24-year-old defender had one more year with a cap of $4.8 million (base salary $7.2 million) and is now awarded a long-term eight-year contract at $8.5 million per season. Sergachev has improved his point production (to 38) and ice time (to 22 minutes, 28 seconds) in each of the five seasons of his career. Its role will only expand. –Jimmy Hascup
The agreement is for three years, $3.65 million per year, according to Elliotte Friedman of HNIC. Vatrano, a shrewd pick-up by Rangers at the trade deadline, showed his goalscoring potential in a secondary role in the blink of an eye. He will help a group of young forwards in Anaheim. –Jimmy Hascup
New York was looking for a replacement goaltender after trading Alexandar Georgiev, who was a restricted free agent, to Colorado. Halak receives $1.55 million for one year. Rangers are tight on the salary cap and have yet to re-sign RFA Kaapo Kakko. –Jimmy Hascup
The Hurricanes needed a right-handed defenseman after trading Tony DeAngelo to the Flyers. The Sharks needed to clear cap space, and Burns hit a cap of $8 million. Burns had more points than DeAngelo last season, 54-51.
The versatile forward hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s a big addition for a team that is still rebuilding. TSN reports that the five-year deal has a cap of $5.625 million.
The two-way center will fill the No. 2 center role that UFA Ryan Strome filled last season.
He will make $65 million over eight years, a nice increase from the $2.8 million he will earn this season. He had a career-high 77 points and a 17-game point streak last season.
Toronto says Samsonov gets a one-year, $1.8 million contract. Samsonov obtains a contract which proves that he was not qualified by the Capitals. The Leafs tandem next season is Matt Murray and Samsonov.
Giroux’s off-season home is in the Ottawa area. He is still looking for his first championship. Can the Senators accomplish that in three years? Maybe not. But they are significantly better with Giroux and business acquisitions Alex DeBrincat and Cam Talbot.
The goaltender will receive $25 million over five years, according to TSN. The Oilers needed an upgrade in net and Campbell was an All-Star last season. The move means Darcy Kuemper will likely go to the Capitals.
It’s noon. The free agency signing period is officially underway.
He will receive $18 million over four years, according to Athleticism. Manson was a big pick at the trade deadline, a solid defenseman who scored several key goals in the run-up to the Stanley Cup. He joins Valeri Nichushkin and Andrew Cogliano in the re-signing. The reports say that Darren Helm could also be back.
Moving, reported by TSN, increases the speculation of Johnny Gaudreau to New Jersey. Zacha is a left winger, like Gaudreau. He’s also a restricted free agent, and the Devils won’t need to re-sign him if they land Gaudreau. The move helps the Bruins, who have several forwards who will miss the start of the season with injuries. The reported return is forward Erik Haula.
Evgeni Malkin and Evander Kane sign extensions
The The Penguins and the Russian star agreed to a four-year deal late Tuesday night worth $6.1 million a year that will keep Malkin in Pittsburgh after all. After also signing defenseman Kris Letang July 7 to a six-year, $36.6 million deal, the Penguins have about $4 million in cap space.
Kane followed by announcing “I’m back”, in a post on his verified Twitter account in which he revealed he agreed to a four-year, $20.5 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers, where he scored 22 goals in 39 games after the team let him down given a chance when the San Jose Sharks terminated the remainder of Kane’s contract for violating COVID-19 protocols while in the American Hockey League. –Jimmy Hascup
Flames general manager Brad Treliving, who had been trying to re-sign Gaudreau, said Tuesday night that the star forward would make his way onto the open market. “I strongly believe this was a family decision and I fully respect it,” he added. he said. “John has every right and we have nothing but respect for John the player and John the person.”
Why aren’t so many Avalanche players signed?
So far, Valeri Nichushkin and Andrew Cogliano are the only Avs players who have been re-signed. That leaves less than $15 million in cap space for next season, and Artturi Lehkonen (two series-clinching goals) is a restricted free agent with officiating rights. Additionally, the Avalanche need to think about 2023-24 and beyond as star Nathan MacKinnon can sign a contract extension. His cap reached next season is $6.3 million and that will increase significantly from the following season.
The Washington Capitals have no NHL goaltenders under contract after trading Vitek Vanecek and unqualified Ilya Samsonov. The goalie was a weakness for the Edmonton Oilers in their run to the Western Conference Finals, plus replacement Mikko Koskinen signed with the Swiss league. Ottawa Senators, who traded Matt Murray to the Toronto Maple Leafs, improved his goalie in a trade on Tuesday, adding Cam Talbot from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Filip Gustavsson.
NHL Draft Summary
The NHL Draft took place July 7-8. Round one saw No. 1 overall Shane Wright fall to No. 4 and the Seattle Kraken. Here is an overview scouting reports from all first-round picks, plus an overview of draft winners and losers. Wright said he will have a “chip on (his) shoulder” after his fall, and he reiterated that his “look down” was not directed at the Montreal Canadiens, who picked first and selected Juraj Slafkovsky.
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