NHL

NHL Free Agency Recap

On Saturday, the 2017 NHL Free Agency period opened up at noon. There was a flurry of activity leading up to the deadline, as players were able to meet with teams from June 25th-30th. Players were allowed to meet with teams and discuss contracts but they could not officially sign with a team until 12 p.m. on Saturday. Here are some of the more notable free agency signings. This list will be updated when other notable free agents sign.

Forwards

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1). Joe Thornton, Center, San Jose Sharks

Jumbo Joe returns to San Jose as he resigns with the Sharks. Kevin Kurz was the first to report that on the eve of his 38th birthday, Joe Thornton would return to San Jose on a one year deal. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the deal with be worth around $6.5 million. Thornton has spent the past 11 and a half seasons with the Sharks, where he compiled 214 goals and a franchise record 722 assists. Since he was traded from Boston to the Sharks on December 1, 2005, he is third behind Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby in points. Thornton, a tough guy, played in the 2017 playoffs with a torn MCL and ACL in his knee.

2016 Stats:

79 GP, 7 G, 43 A, 50 P, +7

Career Stats:

19 yrs, 384 G, 1,007 A, 1,391 P, +206

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2). Patrick Marleau, Center/Winger, Toronto Maple Leafs

Thornton best friend and former teammate will join the young studs up in Toronto on a 3 year deal worth $6.25 million average annual value, the Maple Leafs announced. The 37 year old forward will be moving on to a new franchise for the first time in his decorated 19 year career. Toronto adds a veteran piece, who despite his age, has been very durable throughout his time in the NHL, only missing 31 games in 19 seasons. While his point total was down last season, he didn’t lose that much of a step as he was still able to post 27 goals. This move made a lot of sense as it allows Marleau to hook up with his former Olympic Coach Mike Babcock, the head coach for Toronto. The Maple Leafs add a veteran presence to a rather young team led by phenom Auston Matthews, who surprised everyone last season and put up a tough fight against the Caps in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A lot of people think that Toronto is only a few pieces away from potentially knocking down the Stanley Cup Finals door. This signing adds a leadership role model and could help this team hoist a Cup within the duration of his contract. Toronto, an Original 6 team, hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967.

2016 Stats:

82 GP, 27 G, 19 A, 46 P, +4

Career Stats:

19 yrs, 508 G, 574 A, 1,082 P, -8

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3). Alexander Radulov, Winger, Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars have beaten the Montreal Canadiens in the Radulov sweepstakes. After two long days, Radulov has agreed to a 5 year $31.25 million deal on the third day of free agency, reports Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. Radulov, who largely has played since 2008 in Russia’s KHL league, where he was one of the top scorers, returned to the NHL last season on a trial one year deal with the Canadiens. He scored 18 goals and had 36 assists for Montreal last season. Radulov was one of the top free agent forwards on the market this year in a somewhat weak class. If he can match some of his offensive production from his time in the KHL, the Dallas Stars will be one of the favorites in the Western Conference, especially after they signed veteran goalie Ben Bishop prior to Free Agency. Radulov factors into the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. They can easily be one of the best top lines in the West.

2016 Stats:

76 GP, 18 G, 36 A, 54 P, +10

Career Stats:

4 yrs, 65 G, 91 A, 156 P, +39

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4). Justin Williams, Winger,  Carolina Hurricanes

Mr. Game 7 returns to Carolina, where he spent almost 4 years and hoisted a Stanley Cup. Williams will be a veteran presence on a young and upcoming team. He signed a 2 year $9 million contract with the Hurricanes, according to team sources. The 35 year old winger can still post quality production, but his biggest job on the ‘Canes may just be helping develop the young talent so they can take the next step forward to being a playoff contender.

2016 Stats:

80 GP, 24 G, 24 A, 48 P, +14

Career Stats:

16 yrs, 273 G, 409 A, 682 P, +121

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5). Nick Bonino, Center,  Nashville Predators

The old saying goes “If you can’t beat them, join them.” In the NBA, Kevin Durant certainly followed this old adage. However, in the NHL, after winning back to back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nick Bonino joins the team he helped beat just a couple of months ago for the championship. Bonino signed a 4 year $16.4 million deal with the defending Western Conference Champions. Bonino was part of the famous HBK line, named after Pens fan and former WWE champ Shawn “The Heart Break Kid” Michaels, with Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel. That line was a driving force behind the Pens 2016 NHL Championship run. Bonino slots in the Preds lineup as a third line center and penalty killer.

2016 Stats:

80 GP, 18 G, 19 A, 37 P, -5

Career Stats:

8 yrs, 75 G, 112 A, 187 P, +24

Other Forward Signings:

-Patrick Sharp, Winger, returns to Blackhawks after spending 2 years in Dallas, on a 1 year $1 million deal (TSN).

-Brett Connolly, Winger, resigns with the Capitals for $3 million over 2 years (Team).

-Brian Boyle, Center,  leaves Toronto for New Jersey and signs a 2 year deal for $5.1 million.

-Chris Kunitz, Winger, signs a 1 year $2 million deal with Tampa Bay (Joe Smith).

-Evgeny Dadonov, Winger, returns to Florida after a few years in the KHL on a 3 year $12 million deal (Harvey Fialkov).

-Scott Hartnell, Winger,  joins the Predators on a 1 year $1 million deal (Pierre LeBrun).

-Martin Hanzal, Center, signs with Dallas for $4.75 million over 3 years (Bob McKenzie)

-Sam Gagner, Center, Vancouver, 3 years $3.15 million (Pierre LeBrun).

-Evgeny Kuznetsov, Center, (RFA) resigns with the Capitals on a 8 year $62.4 million contract. He becomes the second highest paid Capital behind Ovechkin. The team made cap room for Kuznetsov by trading away Marcus Johansson to the New Jersey Devils for a 2nd and 3rd round pick in next years draft.

Defensmen

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1). Kevin Shattenkirk, New York Rangers

The hometown kid returns home. Shattenkirk left three years on the table and several million dollars to fulfill a childhood dream and return home to play for his favorite team, the New York Rangers. He signed a 4 year $26.6 million deal with the Blue shirts according to Frank Seravalli. Shattenkirk will, in all likelihood, pair up with captain Ryan McDonagh on the first line defense. He will also be tasked with quarterbacking the powerplay for the Rangers. Shattenkirk, was traded from the St. Louis Blues to the Washington Capitals at the trade deadline with the hopes he would help put them over the top. He somewhat underperformed in the playoffs for the Caps as they made an early exit, but that did not seem to hurt his value as a free agent this offseason as he was one of the most highly touted players in the class. He will be a big part of the New York Rangers as they look to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals.

2016 Stats:

80 GP, 13 G, 43 A, -7, 88 Hits, 95 blocks

Career Stats:

7 yrs, 59 G, 199 A, +24, 408 hits, 563 blocks

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2). Karl Alzner, Montreal Canadiens

Alzner signing with Montreal was one of the first deals that was officially announced after the period opened up. The blueliner signed a 5 year deal worth $23 million with the Canadiens as reported by TSN. The former Washington Capital was an Ironman. He had not missed a game in 6 years before an upper body injury sidelined him in the playoffs this past April, breaking his streak of consecutive games played at 599 (including the playoffs). He has yet to miss a regular season game since the 2009-2010 season. The veteran D-man will help sure up Montreal’s blue line as a tough, shot blocking traditional defenseman. Alzner, a model of consistency, looks to slot into a top 4 role. He joins a really good defense that features elite D-man Shea Weber. This team can have one of the top defenses in the NHL, especially if they resign Andrei Markov.

2016 Stats:

82 GP, 3 G, 10 A, +23, 105 Hits, 162 blocks

Career Stats:

9 yrs, 19 G, 98 A, +61, 688 Hits, 1,121 blocks

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3). Trevor Daley, Detroit Red Wings

The Stanley Cup champion moves to Hockeytown, where he will help man the blue line for the Red Wings. Daley signed a 3 year deal worth $9.5 million, according to Helene St. James. Daley will get a tremendous opportunity, playing as a top 4 defenseman for the Red Wings. That was a big reason he chose the Red Wings he said in a media conference call. “That definitely factored into the equation for sure.” He will also alleviate some of the pressure on Mike Green as he is another puck moving offensive defenseman added to the roster.

2016 Stats:

56 GP, 5 G, 14 A, +7, 29 Hits, 83 blocks

Career Stats:

13 yrs, 78 G, 200 A, +22, 344 Hits, 979 blocks

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4). Dan Girardi, Tampa Bay Lightning

After spending the first 11 years of his career in New York with the Rangers, Girardi now joins former teammate Ryan Callahan in Florida. He signed a 2 year $6 million contract, according to Bob McKenzie. Girardi was the second longest tenured Ranger behind Henrik Lundqvist before he was bought out of his contract earlier this offseason. Girardi figures to be on the second line with Braydon Coburn.

2016 Stats:

63 GP, 4 G, 11 A, +8, 107 Hits, 166 blocks

Career Stats:

11 yrs, 46 G, 184 A, +54, 1,762 Hits, 1,650 blocks

Other Defenseman Signings:

-Matt Hunwick, Pittsburgh Penguins, 3 years $6.75 million (Aaron Ward).

-Ron Hainsey, Toronto Maple Leafs, 2 years $6 million (Team).

Goalies

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1). Brian Elliott, Philadelphia Flyers

Elliott quite possibly makes the Flyers playoff contenders after signing a 2 year $5.5 million contract (Pierre LeBrun). He brings something to Philadelphia that the Flyers haven’t had a lot of in the crease in recent years: consistency. Steve Mason was a solid goaltender for the Flyers, but he had a lot of ups and downs with Philadelphia. Elliott brings a more consistent presence to the crease.  He will work as part of a tandem with Michal Neuvirth, something he is very familiar with and something that he has been successful at over his career. He split time in St. Louis and as recently as last season in Calgary with Chad Johnson. He had a very good regular season, but faded in the playoffs. His last game with the Flames ended in disappointment as he was pulled early in Game 4 of the first round of the playoffs against the Ducks, who eventually swept the Flames. With that being said he has had some really good seasons and is a quality veteran stopgap until some of the young Flyers goal tenders are ready to come up.

2016 Stats:

45 GS, 26-18-3 record, 2.55 GAA, .910 SV%

Career Stats:

10 yrs, 338 GS, 191-117-35 record, 2.42 GAA, .913 SV%

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2). Ryan Miller, Anaheim Ducks

Speaking of the Ducks, they just picked up a former Vezina Trophy winner, given to the top goaltender, in Ryan Miller. Miller signed a 2 year $4 million contract, Eric Stephens reports. While it has been seven years since Miller won the trophy, he has still been a consistent goalie and will be tasked with being a quality backup to John Gibson. He is from Southern California, and is excited to return home. He is also one of only three American born goalies to win at least 300 games in their career.

2016 Stats:

54 GS, 18-29-6 record, 2.80 GAA, .914 SV%

Career Stats:

14 yrs, 572 GS, 358-262-74 record, 2.61 GAA, .915 SV%

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3). Steve Mason, Winnipeg Jets

Mason, not liking the platoon role with Neuvirth in Philadelphia, packs his bags for Canada, as he signs a 2 year $8.2 million contract with Winnipeg, TSN reports. Despite what he said about platoons, expect Mason to split time with the young Connor Hellebuyck. Mason has had a very up and down career. He has been stellar in some games, and in some he has been downright ugly. Remember when he gave up a goal from beyond the center line on a line change dump in during the  playoffs a few years ago?

If not here it is:

That might be the one defining goal Mason gave up. Even though that was bad, he hasn’t played behind the greatest defenses in the league in Philadelphia. All in all he is a solid goalie who has some ups and downs. He can definitely be a good stopgap until Hellebuyck develops into a full time starter.

2016 Stats:

54 GS, 26-21-8 record, 2.66 GAA, .908 SV%

Career Stats:

9 yrs, 445 GS, 200-177-63 record, 2.68 GAA, .911 SV%

Notable Free Agents still available:

Forwards-

-Jaromir Jagr, Winger, Florida

-Mike Fisher, Center, Nashville

-Thomas Vanek, Winger, Florida

-Jarome Iginla, Winger, Los Angeles

Defensemen-

-Andrei Markov, Montreal- Signed with Ak Bars Kazan (KHL) on July 28th

-Brian Campbell, Chicago- Retired

-Johnny Oduya, Chicago- Signed with the Ottawa Senators on July 24th

Goalie-

-Jhonas Enroth, Anaheim- Signed with Dinamo Minsk on July 14th

-Philipp Grubauer, Washington (RFA)- Re-signed with the Washington Capitals on July 6th

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