NHL·FREE-AGENT FRENZY

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

The Edmonton Oilers reportedly have agreed to sign forward Zach Hyman to a seven-year, $38.5-million US contract as the free-agent season opened Wednesday. Provincial rivals Calgary signed forward Blake Coleman and traded for defenceman Nikita Zadorov.

Stars sign Holtby, Suter while newly-formed Kraken scoop up Grubauer

The Oilers have signed winger Zach Hyman to a seven-year, $38.5-million contract, according to reports. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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:

Recapping a crazy week in the NHL ahead of free agency

2 months ago
4:30
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 picked 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 $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. 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.

Hamilton dedicated to Devils with 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 seven-year, $63 million deal that gives the rebuilding organization one of hockey's most prolific defencemen to add pieces around on the blue line. Hamilton, 28, will count $9 million against the salary cap through 2027-28. 

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.

Blue Jackets sign Zach Werenski to 6-year extension 

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed defenceman Zach Werenski to a six-year, $57.5 million contract extension Thursday through the 2027-28 season,

The 24-year-old Werenski, from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and the University of Michigan, has 65 goals and 124 assists in 335 career NHL games, all with the Blue Jackets. He has four goals and nine assists in 29 playoff games.

"The city of Columbus has been so good to me, it's close to home and my family and as I thought about it, it was really a no-brainer," Werenski said in a statement. "I'm a Blue Jacket. I want to continue to be a Blue Jacket and do everything I can to bring a Stanley Cup here."

Werenski had seven goals and 20 assists in 35 games last season.

"Zach Werenski has been one of the top defensemen in the National Hockey League over the past five years and we are thrilled that he will continue to be a Blue Jacket and the leader of our blueline for at least the next seven years," general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statementy. "As talented as Zach is and as much as he has achieved so early in his career, he is an even better person and will be a foundational player for our club as we move forward."

Kraken make a splash

The expansion Seattle Kraken signed goalie Philipp Grubauer Wednesday. 

Grubauer was among some of the top players available 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.

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. 

On Thursday, the Stars signed defenceman Jani Hakanpaa and forward Michael Raffl. Hakanpaa, 29, signed a three-year, $4.5 million deal through the 2023-24 season. Raffl, 32, inked a one-year, $1.1 million contract for the 2021-22 campaign.

Hakanpaa split the 2020-21 season with the Anaheim Ducks and Carolina Hurricanes and registered two goals and two assists in 57 games. He was third in the league with 215 hits.

Raffl split the 2020-21 campaign with the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals and contributed 11 points (four goals, seven assists), including three game-winning goals.

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 either, 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).

"He plays a real inside game. He's got really good energy. Physical player," general manager Ron 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."

The Penguins also signed forward Michael Chaput to a one-year, two-way contract Thursday. The deal for the 29-year-old veteran is worth $750,000 at the NHL level.

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."

The St. Louis Blues signed Brandon Saad to a five-year contract while the Tampa Bay Lightning agreed to terms with Corey Perry for two years Thursday as the two recent Stanley Cup champions brought in more winning experience on the second day of free agency.

The 28-year-old Saad spent last season with Colorado, putting up 24 points during the regular season and scoring seven goals in 10 playoff games. The winger counts $4.5 million against the salary cap on his new $22.5 million deal signed Thursday. Saad won the Cup with Chicago in 2013 and 2015 and is heading to his fifth NHL organization.

Perry agreed to terms with Tampa Bay on a two-year, $2 million deal, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced.

The 36-year-old Perry, who won the Cup with Anaheim in 2007, is joining the Lightning after losing to them in the final each of the past two seasons. Perry was with Dallas in 2020 and Montreal this past season.

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 league.

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. 

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.

Ducks grab Getzlaf 

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. 

The Anaheim Ducks re-signed captain Ryan Getzlaf to a one-year extension. Getzlaf is seven points shy of passing Teemu Selanne's franchise points record. (Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

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.

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 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."

Parise among top names still 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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