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Roundup: Panarin, Bobrovsky, Duchene sign lucrative deals to leave Columbus

Artemi Panarin is heading to the Big Apple, Matt Duchene to Music City and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to South Beach as the expected breakup of the Columbus Blue Jackets' star core of players became a reality Monday.

Canucks ink Tyler Myers for 5 years; Leafs sign Spezza; Habs, Oilers, Flames add goalies

Artemi Panarin, left, and Sergei Bobrovsky, right left the Columbus Blue Jackets to join the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, respectively on July 1, when the NHL's free agent period officially opened. (Getty Images)

Artemi Panarin is heading to the Big Apple, Matt Duchene to Music City and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to South Beach as the expected breakup of the Columbus Blue Jackets' star core of players became a reality Monday.

A reported last-ditch effort by the Columbus Blue Jackets wasn't enough to sway Panarin, who has decided to leave Ohio for the New York Rangers.

The Rangers signed the 27-year-old left-winger to a seven-year contract worth $81.5 million for an average annual value (AAV) of $11.642 million.

The Blue Jackets were said to have made a last attempt on Sunday evening to sign Panarin, with The Athletic reporting an eight-year offer worth $96 million.

This past season, Panarin led all Blue Jackets in assists (59), points (87), game-winning goals (eight) and power-play points (18).

Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen went all-in at the NHL trade deadline, adding Duchene and Ryan Dzingel from Ottawa and opting to keep Panarin and Bobrovsky, who signed a seven-year contract worth $70 million with Florida.

Duchene heads to Music City

A big country music fan, veteran NHL forward Matt Duchene is packing his guitar for Nashville.

Duchene, 28, received a seven-year contract worth $56 million and he will be expected to spark the Predators' scoring attack after a 2018-19 season in which they had the NHL's worst power play and made a first-round playoff exit.

Matt Duchene, who is set to sign a free-agent contract with Nashville, is coming off an impressive playoff showing with the Blue Jackets after scoring a career-best 31 goals during the regular season, split with Ottawa and Columbus. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

"Our objective this off-season was to bolster our offence, and signing Matt Duchene gives us another dynamic goal-scoring, playmaking centre," general manager David Poile said. "We are excited to add his skill and experience to our top-six forwards and look forward to the next seven years of Matt and his family in Smashville. Matt's love of country music and passion for the city of Nashville make this partnership a perfect fit."

The signing comes just over a week after the Predators traded six-time all-star defenceman P.K. Subban to New Jersey for defencemen Steven Santi and Jeremy Davies as well as two draft picks. Subban was set to make $9 million each of the next three seasons.

Poile said after that trade that the move was necessary to create salary-cap space to strengthen the team at the forward spot.

Duchene certainly should help in that regard.

He had a combined 31 goals and 39 assists this season with the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets, who obtained him at the trade deadline. He also had five goals and five assists in 10 playoff games for Columbus as the Blue Jackets produced a stunning first-round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning before losing to Boston in the second round.

Bobrovsky to Panthers for 7 years, $70 million

The Florida Panthers have signed goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year contract worth $70 million for a salary-cap hit of $10 million per season. 

Bobrovsky was Florida's top free-agent target this summer, especially after last week's retirement of longtime goalie Roberto Luongo. Bobrovsky has a 2.46 goals-against average over nine NHL seasons, the last seven of those with Columbus.

The two-time Vezina Trophy winner was second in the NHL with 37 victories last season and led the league with nine shutouts.

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon says Bobrovsky "is an elite starting goaltender who has consistently proven to be one of the best in the NHL."

Blue Jackets ink Nyquist for 4 years

After losing top forwards Artemi Panari and Matt Duchene to free agency, the Columbus Blue Jackets have added one in free agent in Gustav Nyquist.

The 29-year-old Nyquist, who has posted 40 or more points in all six of his full NHL seasons and scored 20 or more goals four times, was signed to a four-year contract by the Blue Jackets.

The Swede had 22 goals and 60 points last season with the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks. He had a goal and 10 assists in helping San Jose advance to the Western Conference finals.

Florida adds experienced D-man Stralman

Florida also signed defenceman Anton Stralman on a three-year deal.

The 32-year-old had two goals and 17 points in 47 games for Tampa Bay last season. He has also played for Columbus, Toronto and the New York Rangers over a 10-year NHL career.

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon says Stralman "brings a wealth of experience and leadership to our lineup."

Defenceman Anton Stralman is staying in Florida but switching teams, joining the Panthers on a three-year deal. He has also played for Columbus, Toronto and New York Rangers over 10 NHL seasons. (Chris O'Meara/Associated Press)

Canadiens covet RFA Sebastian Aho

The Montreal Canadiens have tendered an offer sheet to Carolina Hurricanes restricted free-agent forward Sebastian Aho.

The offer sheet is worth $42.27 million over five years, an annual salary cap hit of $8.54 million. If Carolina does not match it, the Canadiens must send a first-, second- and third-round pick to the Hurricanes.

It's the first offer sheet in the NHL since 2013 when the Calgary Flames tried to acquire then-Avalanche centre Ryan O'Reilly, only to have Colorado match the contract.

Canucks add D-man Tyler Myers

The Vancouver Canucks have made their first move in free agency, confirming the long-rumoured signing of defenceman Tyler Myers.

The 29-year-old has agreed to a five-year contract worth an annual average of $6 million US, the team announced on Monday.

Defenceman Tyler Myers, who spent parts of the last five seasons in Winnipeg, signed a five-year, $30 million US contract with the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. (Jason Halstead/Getty Images)

Myers spent last season with the Winnipeg Jets, tallying 31 points in 80 games.

The six-foot-eight, 229-pound native of Houston, Texas, was originally drafted 12th overall by the Sabres in 2008 and played five full seasons in Buffalo before he was dealt to the Jets in February 2015.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning has been saying for months that Vancouver needs to improve on the blue-line and that signing a top defenceman would be a priority in the off-season.

Last month, the club locked veteran defenceman Alex Edler into a two-year extension worth an average $6 million annually. The Canucks also have some up and coming back-end talent, including 19-year-old defenceman Quinn Hughes who played five NHL games last season after finishing his NCAA career at the University of Michigan.

Before free agency opened on Monday, Vancouver opted not to extend a qualifying offer to defenceman Ben Hutton, making the 26-year-old an unrestricted free agent.

Pavelski bolts Sharks for Stars

The San Jose Sharks have lost captain Joe Pavelski to Dallas, which signed the 34-year-old forward for three years and $21 million US.

Pavelski led Western Conference finals qualifier San Jose with 38 goals in 75 regular-season games while adding 26 assists for 64 points. The 34-year-old also led the Sharks with 12 power play goals.

Pavelski is second in San Jose franchise history with 355 goals while ranking third in points (761) and assists (406). He played his first 13 NHL seasons with the Sharks.

At 34, Joe Pavelski is leaving the only NHL home he’s ever known, joining Dallas after 13 seasons in San Jose. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Anders Lee to remain on Long Island

Anders Lee isn't going anywhere.

A year after the New York Islanders lost captain John Tavares to Toronto in free agency, his successor chose to stay.

A person with knowledge of the move says the team agreed to terms with Lee on a seven-year deal worth $49 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the contract.

Lee joins fellow forwards Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle in re-signing with the Islanders this off-season.

Coveted forward Anders Lee decided not to test free agency and will remain with the Islanders after signing a seven-year deal worth $49 million US. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Senators sign ex-Leaf Hainsey

The Ottawa Senators added a veteran voice to their young blue-line in free agency Monday, signing defenceman Ron Hainsey to a one-year contract worth $3.5 million.

Hainsey, 38, had five goals and 23 points in 81 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2018-19.

In parts of 16 NHL seasons with seven different teams, Hainsey has registered 58 goals and 299 points in 1,068 games.

The native of Boulton, Conn., has added 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 39 playoff contests, winning the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017.

Ottawa hired former D.J. Smith, who was an assistant in Toronto the last four seasons, as its new head coach in May.

Meier to remain with Sharks

The San Jose Sharks have agreed to a deal with restricted free agent forward Timo Meier. A person with direct knowledge of discussions said the sides came to agreement Monday just after the start of the free agency period. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn't been announced.

San Jose's Timo Meier signed a four-year extension with the Sharks on Monday. (Josie Lepe/The Associated Press)

Locking up Meier was one of the top priorities in free agency after re-signing defenseman Erik Karlsson to an eight-year, $92 million US contract last month.

Meier is coming off a breakthrough season when he became a fixture as a top six forward in San Jose. He had 30 goals and 36 assists in 78 games, making a major jump from his first full season when he had 36 points in 81 games.

Simmonds returns to Eastern Conference with Devils

The New Jersey Devils added Wayne Simmonds in free agency on Monday, agreeing to a one-year, $5-million contract with the physical winger.

Simmonds, 30, played for Philadelphia and Nashville last season, finishing with 17 goals and 30 points in 79 games. He also made two playoff appearances with the Predators.

The move reunites Simmonds with P.K. Subban, who was acquired by New Jersey in a trade with Nashville last month.

Oilers, Flames pick up new goalies

In Canada, a former Oilers goaltender is going to Calgary and a former Flames goaltender is going to Edmonton. Another person with knowledge of the move says Calgary has agreed to sign Cam Talbot to a one-year, $2.75-million deal while Edmonton agreed to sign Mike Smith to a one-year contract worth $2 million, plus incentives.

Talbot spent three-plus seasons with Oilers until being traded to the Flyers at the deadline. Philadelphia opted to re-sign Brian Elliott instead of Talbot.

Smith spent the past two seasons with the Flames.

Wild sign Zuccarello

The Minnesota Wild have signed free agent right wing Mats Zuccarello to a five-year, $30 million contract, seeking more consistent production from their top two lines after their streak of six straight trips to the playoffs was snapped this spring.

Zuccarello has 355 points in 511 NHL regular season games, including a combined 12 goals and 28 assists in 48 games for the New York Rangers and the Dallas Stars while averaging a career-high 19:51 of ice time per game in 2018-19. The 31-year-old also has 42 points in 73 career playoff games.

Zuccarello, a five-foot-eight, 184-pound Finn, played the first eight-plus seasons of his career with the Rangers. He signed with them as a 23-year-old free agent in 2010 and tallied 113 goals and 239 assists in 509 games, until he was traded in February two days before the deadline as the Stars stocked up for the post-season.

The Wild scored just 210 goals in 2018-19, the fifth-fewest in the league.

Jason Spezza to Leafs

Jason Spezza is coming home.

The veteran centre signed a one-year contract worth $700,000 with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.

Spezza, 36, has recorded 332 goals and 915 points in 1,065 career regular-season games with the Ottawa Senators and Dallas Stars. He's also added 70 points (25 goals, 45 assists) in 80 playoff games.

Jason Spezza is coming home to play for the Maple Leafs and fill a leadership role following the recent trade of veteran forward Patrick Marleau. (Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)
A two-time all-star, Spezza registered eight goals and 27 points in 76 games with Dallas in 2018-19. He made $7.5 million each of the last four years with the Stars.

Spezza, who should help replace the veteran leadership of the since-departed Patrick Marleau, led all NHL players who took at least 200 faceoffs with a percentage of 58.2 last season. He added three goals and two assists in 11 playoff games.

The Toronto native was originally drafted second overall by Ottawa in 2001.

Stars sign Perry in depth move

The Dallas Stars have moved quickly to restore their forward depth.

A person with knowledge of the decision says the Stars have agreed to a deal with veteran winger Corey Perry. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the contract has not yet been signed.

The 34-year-old Perry was bought out by the Anaheim Ducks after a knee injury limited him to 10 points in 31 games.

Dallas will likely lose trade-deadline acquisition Mats Zuccarello, and the team let veteran centre Jason Spezza walk in free agency. A person with knowledge of the move tells The AP that Spezza agreed to a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Stars may also be looking to sign centre Joe Pavelski, the longtime San Jose Sharks captain.

Habs grab Kinkaid

The Montreal Canadiens have signed Keith Kinkaid as a backup goaltender to Carey Price.

The deal, finalized on Canada Day, is for one year and $1.75 million.

Kinkaid, who turns 30 on Thursday, has played 151 career NHL games, all with the New Jersey Devils.

Last season, the native of Farmingville, N.Y., was 15-18-6 with a 3.36 goals-against average and an .891 save percentage in 41 games.

Antti Niemi, the backup to Price last year, signed with Finnish club Jokerit last month.

Isles sign Varlamov, Lehner goes to Hawks

The New York Islanders let Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner walk and will replace him with veteran goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

The Islanders announced they had agreed to terms with Varlamov on a four-year contract. He spent the past eight seasons with the Colorado Avalanche.

Varlamov becomes part of a tandem with Thomas Greiss for the Islanders, who let Lehner depart after a stirring run to the playoffs.

The 27-year-old Lehner agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract with Chicago, giving the Blackhawks one of the best goaltender tandems in the league. He posted a career-high 25 wins last season with the Islanders. He also had a 2.13 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and six shutouts.

In North Carolina, the Hurricanes re-signed goalie Petr Mrazek to a $6.25 million, two-year deal.

 

With files from CBC Sports and Canadian Press

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