The first days of NHL free agency were extremely busy, with Johnny Gaudreau, Claude Giroux, Andrew Copp, Darcy Kuemper, Ondrej Palat and others changing teams.
The rest of the offseason will also be busy with Stanley Cup winner Nazem Kadri, Evan Rodrigues, Phil Kessel and other unrestricted free agents still to sign, restricted free agents to get under contract, salary arbitration cases to be settled and teams needing to make moves to get under the salary cap before the end of training camp.
The Flames and Panthers pulled off a stunning trade, the Sharks filled the last remaining coaching vacancy and Bruins center Patrice Bergeron made a decision on his future.
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Follow along for news and analysis from NHL offseason moves:
Defenseman Caleb Jones ($1.35 million) and forward Philipp Kurashev ($750,000) got one-year deals.
The Golden Knights’ bid to get back to the playoffs got a little harder with the announcement that the No. 1 goaltender could miss the whole season because he needs hip surgery. That leaves duties to Logan Thompson, who played well last season but has only 17 career starts, and Lauren Brossoit, who’s coming off an undisclosed surgery in the offseason. Vegas last month signed Michael Hutchinson to a two-way deal. Lehner played 44 games last season but missed time with a concussion and had season-ending shoulder surgery. The cap-strapped Golden Knights can put him and his $5 million average salary on the long-term injured reserve to get some cap relief.
The Red Wings avoided arbitration in the final case of the summer and re-signed defenseman Jake Walman for one year, $1.05 million, but where he ultimately fits in is a work in progress. Walman, 26, was part of the trade-deadline deal, along with Oskar Sundqvist and a 2023 second-round pick, that sent Nick Leddy to the St. Louis Blues. Walman had no goals and four assists in 19 games with Detroit and will miss the start of the season after offseason shoulder surgery. The Wings haven’t given a timeline for his return, but if everyone else is healthy, Walman will find himself in a crowded job market. The Wings are deep on left-side defense, with general manager Steve Yzerman adding Ben Chiarot, Olli Määttä and Robert Hägg in free agency. Chiarot and Määttä project to be in the top four paired with Moritz Seider and Filip Hronek.
– Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
Also: The Sabres signed forward Riley Sheahan to a one-year, $950,000 deal that would pay him less if he’s sent to the American Hockey League. Sheahan had 13 points in 53 games with Buffalo in 2020-21 and played last season with the Kraken.
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The Hurricanes got forward Martin Necas under contract with a two-year, $6 million deal. He had a second consecutive 40-point season and set a career record with six game-winning goals and 24 even-strength assists. Later in the day, the Hurricanes announced that forward Max Pacioretty, who was acquired from the Golden Knights in an offseason trade, would have surgery on his Achilles tendon and be out about six months.
Also: The Rangers named defenseman Jacob Trouba captain. The Rangers had been without a captain since Ryan McDonagh was traded to the Lightning in 2018.
RANGERS: How Jacob Trouba evolved to become the team’s captain
The Bruins faced a tough season if captain Patrice Bergeron decided to retire rather than return for a 19th season. Not only is he back, but Boston is even deeper at center after David Krejci returned to the team and spending one season in the Czech Republic. Bergeron, 37, is getting a one-year deal that will pay him $2.5 million and has another $2.5 million in attainable performance bonuses. Krejci’s deal is for $1 million, with $2 million in bonuses. “Super excited we could make it work,” Bergeron said. Bergeron, who had offseason elbow surgery, won a record fifth Selke Trophy last season as top defensive forward and put up 65 points in 73 games. Krejci, 36, who will appear in his 16th season with Boston, had 44 points in 51 games in the shortened 2021 season before leaving for his native country and playing in the Olympics. His absence last season left the Bruins searching for answers at No. 2 center and eventually led to them splitting up their top line. Now, new coach Jim Montgomery has the option to put David Pastrnak, Bergeron and Brad Marchand (when he returns from offseason hip surgery) back together while Krejci can team up again with Taylor Hall. Bergeron and Krejci were members of the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup championship team.
Also: The Bruins later announced that offseason acquisition Pavel Zacha signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract. That puts Boston $2.2 million over the salary cap, meaning a player will need to be moved. … The Coyotes and forward Lawson Crouse agreed to a five-year contract – worth $4.3 million a year, according to Sportsnet, avoiding arbitration. He had a career-best 20 goals and 34 points last season. … The Golden Knights signed forward Nicolas Roy to a five-year, $15 million contract ext after he recorded career highs in goals (15), assists (24) and points (39).
He got a three-year, $6.5 million contract and avoids arbitration. The Jets reacquired Appleton from the Kraken in March after losing him in the expansion draft. With Andrew Copp traded last season, Appleton should have a bigger role.
The forward, who went to arbitration, received a two-year, $3.4 million award after he scored a career-best 17 goals and 24 points. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the deal.
The big question in the Matthew Tkachuk trade was whether the Flames would be facing the same issue next summer when Jonathan Huberdeau became a free agent. That was settled when the newcomer agreed to an eight-year contract extension averaging $10.5 million, or $1 million a year more than Tkachuk got in Florida. Huberdeau, acquired along with MacKenzie Weegar, a prospect and a conditional 2025 first-round pick, scored 115 points last season, the same as Johnny Gaudreau, who left in free agency. The Flames had offered Gaudreau the same money that Huberdeau got, according to The Athletic, though Gaudreau signed with the Blue Jackets. The Huberdeau agreement occurred three days after Flames general manager Brad Treliving had flown to Montreal to have dinner with the two-time All-Star.
1. $7M SB, $3.5M Salary
2. $7M SB, $3.5M Salary
3. $7M SB, $3.5M Salary
4. $9.5M SB, $1M Salary
5. $9.5M SB, $1M Salary
6. $7M SB, $3.5M Salary
7. $9.5M SB, $1M Salary
8. $5M SB, $5.5M Salary
Full NMC. Years 7 & 8 have partial NTC…can be dealt to 12 teams
Also: The Devils and forward Miles Wood agreed to a one-year, $3.2 million contract, avoiding Saturday’s arbitration hearing. …. Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro signed a four-year, $13 million contract. The third-year player averaged 23 minutes a game, good for third on the team. He scored 14 points, but his role will grow with the trade of Brent Burns to the Hurricanes.
Bratt, the Devils’ leading scorer, agreed to a $5.45 million contract before his Wednesday arbitration hearing. He set career highs last season in goals (26), assists (47), shots (197), power play points (18), time on ice (17:26) and points (73). Bratt will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, giving the Devils more time to reach a long-term deal. The Devils still have Miles Wood to re-sign, and they are taking him to arbitration, with a hearing scheduled on Saturday. According to CapFriendly, the team has $3.2 million in cap space.
Arbitration filings for Miles Wood (NJ): player is at $3.85M…team at $2.975M
Also: The Oilers and forward Kailer Yamamoto agreed to a two-year, $6.2 million contract, avoiding arbitration. Edmonton is about $6 million over the cap, according to CapFriendly, though it can make up for that if injured Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom go on long-term injured reserve.
Flames forward Andrew Mangiapane (three years, $17.4 million), Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington (two years, $5 million), Flyers forward Zack MacEwen (one year, $925,000) and Devils forward Tyce Thompson (two years, $1.525 million) settled before this week’s scheduled arbitration hearings. According to reports, however, the arbitration hearing with Predators forward Yakov Trenin took place, with the team offering two years at $1.35 million a year and his side seeking $2.4 million for one year. Trenin had a career-best 17 goals last season. The arbitrator will pick one year or two and can choose either figure or something between.
#preds and Yakov Trenin completed their arbitration hearing today. Two sides can no longer negotiate and the arbitrator’s decision will be binding.
Club ask was 2 x $1.35 mil.
Trenin ask was 1 x $2.4 mil. https://t.co/ICGooYdcKN
He gets one year at $7 million, according to The Athletic. That’s a $1 million raise from the salary he made at the end of his team-friendly, seven-year contract he had signed with the Stars. Klingberg turns 30 next month and will be in position to land a longer deal with a strong season or general manager Pat Verbeek could move him for assets at the deadline. Klingberg’s 47 points were more than any Ducks defenseman had last season. He adds a veteran presence to the blue line after Verbeek traded Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson last season. He also has playoff experience, including 21 points in 26 games when the Stars reached the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.
Also: Owen Tippett, whom the Flyers acquired from the Panthers in the Claude Giroux trade, signed a two-year, $3 million contract with Philadelphia.
The Rangers announced a two-year bridge deal with restricted free agent Kaapo Kakko worth an average annual value of $2.1 million, a person familiar with the situation told lohud.com. The deal leaves them with roughly $900,000 in available cap space if we project a 22-man roster. It’s hard to see how the Rangers can carry the maximum 23 unless they shave salary. If they enter the 2022-23 season with that $900,000 figure in cap space and maintain it, they should be able to accrue $4 million or so in salaries by the time the trade deadline rolls around. Kakko posted 18 points in 43 games last season, but his underlying numbers suggest a solid possession player who’s improved defensively.
-Vincent Z. Mercogliano, lohud.com
Also: Two more players agreed to terms, avoiding arbitration hearings: Senators forward Mathieu Joseph (four years, $11.8 million) and Hurricanes defenseman Ethan Bear (one year, $2.2 million). … The Sharks announced that they’ll retire Patrick Marleau’s No. 12 on Feb. 25.
Donato, who scored the first goal in franchise history, got a one-year, $1.2 million contract. He had a career-best 31 points, but wasn’t given a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent, because he would have been eligible for salary arbitration. He made $750,000 last season.
Also: Penguins winger Danton Heinen re-signed for one year at $1 million. He averaged $2.8 million on his last contract but didn’t get a qualifying offer after scoring a career-best 18 goals last season.
He went 96-87-25 in three seasons with the Rangers and never officially made the playoffs (New York went 0-3 in the qualifying round during the 2020 bubble). The Sharks like his record at developing younger players at Boston University and with the Rangers. Of the 11 coaching hires this season, eight had previous NHL head coaching experience.
Also: Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal, avoiding arbitration. He gets another chance to prove himself after he had a strong start, then struggled to produce points down the stretch. … The Devils signed defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler to a five-year, $17 million extension. … The Kings announced they’ll retire the No. 23 of two-time Stanley Cup captain Dustin Brown on Feb. 11 and unveil a statue of him.
Carolina signed the forward to a one-year, $750,000 contract, but it’s a two-way deal that would pay him less if he’s sent to the American Hockey League. Dzingel, who had two 20-goal seasons earlier in his career with the Senators, has bounced around a lot recently, playing for the Blue Jackets, Hurricanes, Senators again, Coyotes and Sharks. That doesn’t include going to the Maple Leafs as part of a trade from the Coyotes last season, being waived immediately and then claimed by San Jose.
Also: The Ducks reached a two-year, $3.6 million contract with center Isac Lundestrom, avoiding an arbitration hearing.
Another arbitration hearing is avoided as forward Morgan Geekie gets a one-year, $1.4 million contract after a career-best 22 points. Seattle also signed defenseman Michael Kempny to a one-year, $750,000 contract. He had played the last four seasons with the Capitals and was part of the 2018 Stanley Cup team, but has dealt with injuries recently.
It had become clear in recent days that Matthew Tkachuk’s time in Calgary was nearing its end. That became official Friday night as the talented young winger was traded to the Florida Panthers along with a conditional 2025 pick for forward Jonathan Huberdeau, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt and a first-round pick in 2025.
It’s a fairly stunning trade all the way around.
Tkachuk, 24, and Huberdeau, 29, both recorded over 100 points this past season. Huberdeau, in fact, trailed only Connor McDavid for most points in the NHL, tied with former Calgary star Johnny Gaudreau at 115. Weegar, 28, has been a dependable – and underrated – player for the Panthers for years.
Huberdeau and Weegar both have one year left on their deals. Tkachuk has agreed to a new eight-year deal with the Panthers, reportedly for $76 million (a $9.5 million AAV).
For the Flames, getting players as talented as Huberdeau and Weegar should help salvage what has been a brutal offseason after Gaudreau walked and Tkachuk made clear he wanted out. The Panthers lose two key pieces from the NHL’s best regular-season team last year but gain a young star in his prime and perhaps alleviated even more future salary cap headaches.
— Jace Evans
He’ll average $8.7 million in the four-year deal. Laine, 24, scored 56 points in 56 games last season, and getting him re-signed was a priority, especially after they added star Johnny Gaudreau ($9.7 million cap hit) in free agency. Laine and Gaudreau could end up as linemates. The Blue Jackets traded forward Oliver Bjorkstrand ($5.4 million average salary), their leading goal scorer last season, to the Kraken to help their cap situation.
Also: The Jets re-signed forward Pierre-Luc Dubois for one year at $6 million, nearly doubling his salary. He’ll be a restricted free agent again next summer.
The former Hurricane gets a two-year, $8 million contract. It’s a smart move by the Predators, who had re-signed Filip Forsberg and traded for Ryan McDonagh. Niederreiter scored 24 goals in a third line role and has five other 20-goal seasons. He scored 39 of his 44 points at even strength. The Predators ranked 16th in even strength goals.
Also: The Penguins and forward Kasperi Kaspanen reached a two-year, $6.4 million contract, avoiding arbitration. His cap hit is the same as last season, when he struggled and scored only 11 goals.
The Athletic reported that Tkachuk told the Flames that he wouldn’t sign a long-term deal and the team is likely to trade him soon rather than lose him for nothing next summer as they did with Johnny Gaudreau. The website also said that Tkachuk provided a list of teams where he would be willing to sign a long-term contract. Among them: the St. Louis Blues, where his father, Keith, used to play.
He’ll average $3.4 million and avoids arbitration. Vanecek was acquired from the Capitals at the draft and will get a raise from $750,000 and will make more than Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood ($2.8 million), who can become a restricted free agent next season.
The move prevents a team from making an offer sheet to the rugged winger, who topped 40 goals and 100 points for the first time in his career. Ideally, the Flames would like to get Tkachuk signed long-term before his Aug. 11 hearing because a ruling would be for one year and he’s eligible to become a UFA next summer. They lost Gaudreau for nothing and don’t want the same to happen with Tkachuk. The Flames could end up trading him. Calgary players Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington filed for arbitration.
Also: Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen agreed to a two-year deal, avoiding arbitration.
The following 24 players filed for salary arbitration: Isac Lundestrom (Anaheim), Lawson Crouse (Arizona), Pavel Zacha (Boston), Andrew Mangiapane, Oliver Kylington, Matthew Phillips (Calgary), Ethan Bear, Maxime Lajoie (Carolina), Jake Walman (Detroit), Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto (Edmonton), Yakov Trenin (Nashville), Jesper Bratt, Vitek Vanecek, Tyce Thompson (New Jersey), Mathieu Joseph (Ottawa), Zack MacEwen (Philadelphia), Kasperi Kapanen (Pittsburgh), Niko Mikkola (St. Louis), Kaapo Kahkonen, Steven Lorentz (San Jose), Morgan Geekie (Seattle), Keegan Kolesar (Vegas) and Mason Appleton (Winnipeg).
The biggest names are Mangiapane (35 goals) and Bratt (73 points in 76 games). Puljujarvi’s case is interesting because the Oilers have tried him in the top six but he hasn’t put up big numbers. Most players filing for arbitration settle before their hearings, which are scheduled for July 27 to Aug. 11. Mikkola signed after filing.
The Penguins added defensemen Jeff Petry and Ty Smith in separate trades, sending Mike Matheson to the Canadiens and John Marino to the Devils. Petry had a strong 2021 season but struggled like the rest of the Canadiens last season. The trade of Matheson was a little surprising because he’s six years younger than Petry and signed for four years, compared to Petry’s three.