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Hockey News

NHL Free Agents: Winners and Losers

While we wait to find out where Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko, the two biggest names still without a contract, will end up, why not look at the winners and losers since the opening of the free agent market in the NHL two days ago?

WINNERS

Barry Trotz and his Predators

Saturday’s market opening coincided with the inauguration of new Preds general manager Barry Trotz. He has not been idle.

After saying goodbye to forwards Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene, Trotz signed former Conn-Smythe and Selke Trophy winner Ryan O’Reilly, in addition to defender Luke Schenn and forward Gustav Nyquist. .

Added to these signings is the contract extension offered to center Cody Glass.

“I want to change the culture a bit,” said Trotz, who led the Predators as head coach for 15 years from 1998 to 2014. “I was looking for winners. I wanted to allow our young people to develop and to be surrounded by this type of people. ”

The Carolina Hurricanes

The Canes have acquired the best defenseman on the market, Dmitry Orlov, who signed a two-year deal worth a total of $15.5 million. The Russian thus joins an excellent defensive brigade which already relies on Jaccob Slavin, Brent Burns, Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei.

On offense, Carolina has added tough Michael Bunting to its roster by luring him to a three-year, $13.5 million contract. General manager Don Waddell also convinced Jesper Fast not to look elsewhere by offering him a two-year, $4.8 million contract extension.

Goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta emulated Fast, each signing reasonably priced deals.

Add to that the signing of captain Jordan Staal before the market opened and you have a team that will still be taken seriously after a presence in the Eastern final.

Ryan Graves and Alex Killorn

Since the market opened, no player other than Ryan Graves has gotten more money than the defenseman, who signed a six-year, $27 million deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He will earn an average annual salary of $4.5 million.

“He brings a big size to our squad, but more importantly, he was very effective playing against very, very tough competition in New Jersey and Colorado,” said new Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas. . “We think it will help us. ”

After 11 seasons, 805 games and two Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Montrealer Alex Killorn is packing his bags for another sunny destination: Anaheim. The Ducks signed him to a four-year, $25 million contract that will earn him an average annual salary of $6.25 million. Only Orlov ($7.75m) has gotten more since the market opened.

 

LOSERS

Toronto Maple Leafs

After winning a playoff series for the first time since 2004, Torontonians face an incredibly uncertain future. They have already lost the services of O’Reilly, Schenn, Bunting, Noel Acciari and Erik Gustafsson.

They added muscle by signing Ryan Reaves to a three-year contract for just over $4 million. Defender John Klingberg is also coming, as are forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi.

But important work remains to be done: we must decide on the future of the “Core Four”, that is to say the core of four players on which the Leafs rely. Auston Matthews and William Nylander could become free agents next summer, a year ahead of Mitch Marner and captain John Tavares. In short, will the Leafs be better next season? That remains to be seen…

Boston Bruins

Caught by the throat of the salary cap, the Bruins could not retain the services of several free agents, including Orlov, Bertuzzi, Nick Foligno and Garnet Hathaway. The club also had to resolve to exchange striker Taylor Hall.

To replace them in the lineup, the Bruins have turned to Milan Lucic, James van Riemsdyk, Morgan Geekie, Kevin Shattenkirk and Patrick Brown. The team that signed a record 65 victories last year and won the Presidents’ Trophy will therefore be very different in 2023-2024.

Especially if Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci opted for retirement rather than a return.

Big pay cuts

With the salary cap offering very little wiggle room to many teams, some players had to sacrifice big boobs to find a new employer.

This is particularly the case of defender John Klingberg, who goes from an average annual salary of $7 million to $4.15 million with the Maple Leafs. Several other NHL veterans such as Marc Staal, Blake Wheeler, Lucic, Shattenkirk, van Riemsdyk, Cam Talbot and Jonathan Quick will have to be “satisfied” with salaries of around $1 million.

 

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