Canada

Zach Hyman signs with Oilers as Canadian teams begin busy free agency

The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to sign forward Zach Hyman to a seven-year, $38.5 million US contract.

The long-anticipated move comes after the Connor McDavid-led Oilers lacked secondary scoring as they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Winnipeg Jets. Hyman has topped 20 goals in two of his six NHL seasons. He has 15 goals and 33 points in 43 games last season.

Edmonton also re-signed defenceman Tyson Barrie before he was eligible to become a free agent, and Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Alec Martinez is also staying put for $15.75 million over three years. 

Barrie’s deal sees the 10th-year player signed to a three-year, $13.5-million contract.

The Oilers also dealt defenceman Ethan Bear to the Carolina Hurricanes for left-winger Warren Foegele.

The 24-year-old Bear struggled with a concussion last season, tallying eight points in 43 regular-season contests. Foegele, 25, had 20 points for the ‘Canes in the regular season and added another goal and an assist in 10 playoff appearances.

WATCH | Rob Pizzo breaks down a busy week entering free agency:

Rob Pizzo catches you up on a week that saw two drafts, a flurry of trades, and controversy in Montreal. 4:30

Canadian teams enter the fray

  • Back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Blake Coleman was among the other top free agents to sign in the opening minutes of free agency, inking a six-year, $29.4-million deal with Calgary. The Flames also made a deal, picking up defenceman Nikita Zadorov from Chicago for a third-round pick in the 2022 entry draft. The six-foot-six, 235-pound Russian blue-liner had one goal and seven assists in 55 games last season.
  • The Ottawa Senators sent right-winger Evgenii Dadonov to the Golden Knights in exchange for defenceman Nick Holden and a third-round pick in the 2022 draft. Dadonov, 32, had 20 points for Ottawa last season, including 13 goals, while the 34-year-old Holden spent much of the campaign on Vegas’ taxi squad, registering just two assists in 17 regular season appearances.
  • The Ottawa Senators have signed head coach D.J. Smith to a two-year extension. It will keep the 44-year-old Smith behind the bench through the 2023-24 season. Smith, a former assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs, was hired by the Senators in May 2019. He has a 48-62-17 record over his first two seasons at the helm. 
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired the rights to defenceman Brennan Mennell from the Minnesota Wild for a conditional seventh-round pick. Minnesota with get the selection if Mennell, who spent last year in the KHL, plays 30 games for the Leafs next season.
  • The Montreal Canadiens have landed a Stanley Cup-winning defenceman, signing free agent David Savard. The Habs said Savard’s four-year contract carries an average annual value of $3.5 million. The six-foot-two, 233-pound blue-liner had six points (one goal, five assists) in 54 regular-season appearances and added another five helpers in 20 playoff appearances.
  • The Habs have also added forward Mike Hoffman on a three-year contract that carries a cap hit of
    US$4.5 million per season. The 31-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., had 36 points (17 goals, 19
    assists) with the St. Louis Blues last season. 
  • The Canucks signed defenceman Tucker Poolman to a four-year deal with an average annual value of $2.5 million. The 28-year-old from Dubuque, Iowa, had one assist in 39 regular-season appearances for the Winnipeg Jets last year, and added another two points (one goal, one assist) in eight playoff contests. Vancouver also inked a one-year deal with 36-year-old goalie Jaroslav Halak, who posted a 9-6-5 record with the Boston Bruins last season.

Dougie Hamilton joins Devils on $63 million, 7-year deal

Dougie Hamilton is joining the New Jersey Devils after getting the biggest contract handed out on the first day of NHL free agency.

Hamilton and the Devils agreed to terms Wednesday on a $63 million, seven-year deal that gives the rebuilding organization one of hockey’s most prolific defensemen to add pieces around on the blue line. Hamilton, 28, will count $9 million against the salary cap through 2027-28. Only three players at his position have higher cap numbers next season.

Production and analytic numbers got Hamilton this deal. He had 10 goals and 32 assists in 55 games last season and has 341 points in the regular season during his NHL career with Boston, Calgary and Carolina.

Advanced statistics also show Hamilton is an elite offensive defenseman, even if he struggles in his own end and has a penchant for taking bad penalties. What he does to drive play and help put the puck in the net more than outweighs the bad in his game.

Kraken make a splash

The expansion Seattle Kraken signed goalie Philipp Grubauer Wednesday. 

Grubauer was among the top players on the market, and was signed to a six-year, $35.4 million contract.

The netminder leaves Colorado after three seasons, and following a year in which he finished second in the NHL with 30 wins and was third in the Vezina Trophy vote as the league’s top goalie. In Seattle, he begins shoring up a Kraken roster that remains a work in progress in the two weeks since the expansion draft.

Stars secure Suter, Holtby

Ryan Suter will be joining the Dallas Stars on a four-year deal worth $14.6 million after signing with the organization Wednesday.

Suter will count $3.65 million against the salary cap. Dallas also signed 2016 Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Braden Holtby for $2 million for next season after he was bought out by Vancouver.

Suter, a 36-year-old U.S.-born defenceman, was recently bought out by the Minnesota Wild.

“Ryan is a true professional and will be a great fit in our top-four,” general manager Jim Nill said. “He has a huge influence on the game with his ability to diffuse plays which injects a sense of calmness into his teammates. He is able to play in every situation and as a veteran of 16 NHL seasons, his wealth of experience will be a great addition to our dressing room.”

Dallas also signed forward Luke Glendening to a two-year $3 million contract after he had played all eight of his previous NHL seasons with Detroit. A pair of defencemen, Alexander Petrovic and Andreas Borgman, signed one-year, two-way contracts. 

Elsewhere around the league, goalie Jonathan Bernier, who was dealt by Detroit to Carolina for Alex Nedeljkovic, was allowed to become a free agent and signed a two-year, $8.25 million contract with New Jersey. 

General manager Tom Fitzgerald announced the signing Wednesday, noting the 32-year-old will make $3.6 million this coming season and $4.65 million in 2022-23.

Bernier spent the past three seasons with Detroit, playing in 105 contests. He posted a 9-11-1 record in 24 games with a 2.99 goals-against average and .914 save percentage. He faced an average 34.8 shots last season, which led the NHL.

Bernier also has played for Colorado, Anaheim, Toronto and the Los Angeles Kings, winning a Stanley Cup in 2012.

The Minnesota Wild wasted no time on the first day of free agency, agreeing to terms with defenceman Alex Goligoski and forward Frederick Gaudreau.

Goligoski agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal, with Gaudreau coming on board with a two-year, $2.4 million contract, general manager Bill Guerin announced.

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed forward Brock McGinn to a four-year contract worth $11 million.

McGinn spent the first six seasons of his NHL career with the Carolina Hurricanes. The winger was limited to just 37 games in 2020-21 because of an upper-body injury, finishing with 13 points (eight goals, five assists).

General manager Ron Hextall said McGinn will be a key addition.

“He plays a real inside game. He’s got really good energy. Physical player,” Hextall said. “Plays the same way every night. We just really valued the player. We also valued some of the things he’s going to bring to our room.”

Lightning re-sign Point, reunite with Bogosian

Tampa Bay shored up its long-term future by extending No. 1 centre Brayden Point eight years through 2030 for $76 million. The Lightning made a handful of other moves, including bringing back 2020 Cup-winning defenceman Zach Bogosian on a three-year deal and adding Brian Elliott as a new backup goalie.

“I always knew in the back of my mind that I probably always wanted to play for Tampa again,” Bogosian said. “I didn’t know when that would be, but to have the opportunity come up, it was nice to jump on it.”

Kings acquire Danault

Phillip Danault signed a six-year, $33 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.

Slotting in Danault, a 28-year-old forward who had five goals and 19 assists for the Montreal Canadiens this past season, with captain Anze Kopitar gives the Kings one of the strongest pairs of two-way centres in the NHL.

The LA Kings signed Phillip Danault to a six-year, $33 million deal Wednesday. Danault had one goal and three assists in 22 games during Montreal’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Danault established himself as a defensive stalwart, especially on the penalty kill, and a standout in the faceoff circle in six seasons with Montreal, traits that were on display as he helped the Canadiens reach the Stanley Cup Final this year. He had one goal and three assists in 22 postseason games.

Predators pounce on Granlund

Forward Mikael Granlund signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the Nashville Predators on Wednesday.

“Signing Mikael to a contract that will keep him here in Nashville was a priority for us as we entered the free agency period. He has been one of our most consistent players since he joined the Predators,” general manager David Poile said Wednesday.

Granlund shared the team lead with 13 goals and was fourth in points with 27 last season.

The Predators also announced first-round pick Zachary L’Heureux signed a three-year, entry-level contract on Wednesday. L’Heureux was the 27th overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

Avalanche land Landeskog 

General managers can scratch Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog off their list of available players after the Avalanche captain signed an eight-year, $56-million US contract late Tuesday night.

The 28-year-old Landeskog was re-signed shortly before midnight ET, when both sides faced an NHL deadline allowing players to sign eight-year contracts. Any deals struck afterward are capped at seven years.

Landeskog represents a key piece to a team coming off a President’s Trophy-winning season, before being eliminated in six games by Vegas in the West Division final. He finished second on the team with 20 goals — his eighth 20-goal season in nine years — and his 218 career goals rank sixth on the team list, and third since the Avalanche relocated to Colorado in 1995.

“We are thrilled to have our captain signed to a long-term deal,” said Avalanche GM Joe Sakic. “Gabe is the heart and soul of this team and an integral part of our organization both on the ice and in the community.”

The New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and expansion Seattle Kraken are among the teams that could be active with more than $20 million in salary cap space. And Vegas could go big-name shopping after clearing space by trading Marc-Andre Fleury to Chicago.

The Golden Knights dealt Vezina-winner Marc-Andre Fleury to the Devils on Tuesday to clear up salary cap space ahead of the NHL free-agent season, which opened Wednesday. ( Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“We’ll use our resources to work to make the team as strong and competitive as possible,” Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon said. “There’s never any guarantees you’re going to be able to do the things you might like to do. There’s a lot of factors at play, obviously, when you get to free agency.”

Ryan Getzlaf returns to Ducks on one-year contract

After 16 seasons in the NHL, there wasn’t much Ryan Getzlaf had not experienced.

Getzlaf finally got his first taste of free agency before agreeing to terms on a one-year contract to remain with the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

“This was a unique opportunity and a unique experience for me, and something I hadn’t been through my whole career, so it was a fun day,” Getzlaf said on a video conference. “I learned a lot of things today and ultimately ended up exactly where I wanted to be.”

The deal should allow the 36-year-old Getzlaf to become the franchise’s career leader in points this season. He has 982 points in 1,101 games and needs seven to pass Teemu Selanne’s 988.

Getzlaf described the upcoming milestone as a “little reward,” one that is especially meaningful given the respect he has for Selanne after playing together for nine seasons.

However, it was family considerations that led Getzlaf to stay — his own and the one he’s built with Ducks teammates, coaches and staff.

“When I talked about possibly moving somewhere, possibly uprooting my family, leaving my Ducks family behind, it was a scary thought,” Getzlaf said. “There was a lot that went into it and a lot of discussions over the last few days me and my wife had. Even my kids, we talked a little bit. And then there’s the Ducks family with everyone around the rink, the staff, and first and foremost the fans that we’re excited to have back this year.

“Ultimately, we worked through it and just so grateful for the opportunity to be back again.”

Getzlaf has been a constant for the Ducks since he was drafted 19th overall in 2003. He made his NHL debut in 2005 and emerged the following season in helping Anaheim win the Stanley Cup, leading the team with 17 points in the postseason.

Getzlaf holds the franchise record in games played and assists (703), and he set career-highs with 31 goals in 2013-14 and 91 points in 2008-09.

“It was always our intention to sign Ryan, and we are thrilled he chose to stay,” Ducks general manager Bob Murray said in a statement. “His loyalty to this franchise is unique in pro sports, and it is our hope he remains a Duck for his entire career.”

Getzlaf had five goals and 12 assists in 48 games this past season, but his role was reduced as the Ducks worked to integrate younger players into the lineup. Getzlaf was used on the wing and as a fourth-line centre late in the season to give Trevor Zegras, a first-round pick in 2019, the chance to play as Anaheim’s top centre.

Parise among top names available 

  • Veteran defenceman Keith Yandle was free to talk to other teams as soon as he was bought out by Florida and has an agreement in place with Philadelphia on a $900,000 contract for next season.
  • Other players who were bought out, including forward Zach Parise whose stint in Minnesota is over, could find homes very quickly. 

Players whose contracts expire Wednesday will be part of a talking and signing frenzy, since the league and NHLPA eliminated the negotiation period for free agents.

“You might have a bit of a feel of where you stood with respect to a certain player,” McCrimmon said. “Now it opens with a starter’s pistol on Wednesday, so it’s a little harder to predict.”

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