At long last, free agency is here.
A league's worth of general managers have opened up their owners' bank accounts and made moves that could very well change the fate of their franchises for decades. A plethora of hockey superstars have packed their bags, checked their airfare and headed off to cities they've previously visited only as an opponent.
This is July—better known around the hockey universe as the Free Agent Frenzy.
As the news pours in throughout the month, check back here for instant details and analysis of every single signing, trade and transaction as soon as it hits the airwaves.
The deal is especially telling because it is the exact same one Staal rejected in Pittsburgh before being traded a week ago. With a Stanley Cup ring already in hand, re-uniting with his brother Eric was clearly on the top of Staal's priority list—and he could bring Carolina into cup contention while he's at it.
Jordan is expected to center on the Hurricanes' top line alongside Eric and 2011-12 breakout Jiri Tlusty, but the two bros. could be joined by another high-profile free-agent signing in short matter.
As would be expected, Rutherford was quite pleased with the long-term extension:
“We are very pleased that Jordan has chosen to commit to the Hurricanes organization and to make North Carolina his home. At 23 years old, he is just starting to come into his prime, and he now represents a cornerstone of our franchise for the long term.”
Ten years is the longest contract to which the Hurricanes have signed a player since Rutherford became GM.
The Detroit Red Wings have added the goaltending depth they were looking for.
Former Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson, whose rights were traded to the Jets a week ago, has been inked by Detroit GM Ken Holland. It was the first out-of-town signing of NHL Free Agency 2012.
The Globe & Mail's James Mirtle has the report:
Detroit was one of the long rumoured destinations for Jonas Gustavsson and he does in fact land there. Two year deal for $3-million.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) July 1, 2012
For the Red Wings, Gustavsson—who has won just 39 of 107 career NHL appearances and posted a mere .900 save percentage during that time—seems like a subpar option compared to the likes of Martin Brodeur on the free-agent market.
However, if the Wings can morph the 6'3" netminder into the player he was once expected to be and the health concerns are a non-issue, the acquisition could turn out to be a much-overlooked steal in Hockeytown.
Hit-or-miss forward David Moss is headed to the desert.
Moss, who's missed 92 games over the last three seasons to injury, scored just nine points in 32 appearances last season. However, the 6'4", 30-year-old forward was also a 20-goal, 39-point producer in 2008-09.
Sportnet's John Shannon confirms:
David Moss moves from Calgary to Phoenix. 2 Years.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) July 1, 2012
Gritty fourth-liner John Mitchell has signed a two-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche. Per Sportsnet's Mark Spector via Twitter:
Two-year deal in Colorado for John Mitchell
— Mark Spector Sports (@SportsnetSpec) July 1, 2012
Mitchell's statistics are fairly underwhelming; the 6'1", 205-pound center scored five goals and 16 points in 63 regular-season games, with one assist in 18 playoff games for the Rangers last season.
However, he'll add a physical, fight-happy boost to a finesse-focused Avalanche offense. Mitchell should fit in well in Denver.
Joe Corvo is back in Raleigh.
Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer is reporting that the Hurricanes have signed the defenseman to a one-year, $2 million contract.
It is Corvo's third time coming to Carolina; the now-35-year-old defenseman was originally acquired from Ottawa in 2008, traded to Washington in March 2010, signed with the 'Canes in July 2010, was traded to Boston in June 2011, and now inked to another new contract.
Corvo blossomed as a power-play specialist and second-pairing blue-liner with Carolina, scoring as many as 14 goals (in the 2008-09 season). However, after a much-criticized campaign in Boston last season, Corvo apparently wanted to return to familiar territory again.
Luke DeCock of the News & Observer explains GM Jim Rutherford's reasoning:
Rutherford cites chemistry with Gleason, need for right-shot D as reasons for Corvo signing.— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) July 1, 2012
The Minnesota Wild just got a whole lot tougher.
The NHL's most penalized player in both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, Zenon Konopka, was signed by the Wild to a two-year contract. Per TSN's Darren Dreger:
Konopka agrees to 2 year contract with Minnesota Wild.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2012
Zonopka, 31, has a measly 27 points in 250 career games played, but that's not the point—for an extremely cheap price, Zonopka will bring a large presence (literally) for the Wild next season.
He'll carry a cap hit of just under $1 million annually.
Washed-up defenseman Mike Lundin has landed in Ottawa.
Lundin, who has struggled with injuries throughout his anticlimactic career, posted two assists and four PIM in 17 games with Minnesota last season. The 27-year-old blue-liner had, before his arrival in Minnesota, previously played 224 career games with Tampa Bay (scoring 33 points over that span).
Lundin could be an attempt to replace Matt Carkner, now an Islander, as the Sens' additional seventh defenseman.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo confirms the cap hit, which barely hits seven figures:
Confirmed Mike Lundin to Ottawa, 1-year, $1.15 million.— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) July 1, 2012
The Wild grab another under-the-radar fourth-line forward in Torrey Mitchell.
Mitchell, 27, scored nine goals in both '10-'11 and '11-'12—in addition to 14 and 10 assists, respectively—for the Sharks.
In Minnesota, he could be pushed into more ice time, an opportunity that could uncover more of Mitchell's potential. Mitchell has the upside to be a breakout star next year.
Darren Dreger tweets the details of the contract, which are fairly sizeable:
3 years x $1.9 mil per for Torrey Mitchell in Minnesota.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2012
After being bought out by the Maple Leafs on Saturday, Colby Armstrong has crossed enemy lines.
The 29-year-old reported personally that he has signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens:
Armstrong is, like Torrey Mitchell, a struggling fourth-liner who could blossom in a new setting.
Armstrong tallied only three points in 29 games last season, but is a former 22-goal, 40-point scorer with the now-defunct Atlanta Thrashers. With a new attitude and a new team, Armstrong could easily be worth more than his million-dollar salary.
Fact No. 1: The Dallas Stars have signed Ray Whitney, perhaps the most enticing 40-year-old free agent of all time.
Fact No. 2: The Stars are paying a jaw-dropping nine million dollars—over a two-year span—to do so.
Per TSN's Aaron Ward:
Ray Whitney agreed to terms w/ Dallas Stars at $9 million over 2 years. It is $4 million salary and $500000 in bonuses each year. #TSN
— Aaron Ward (@aaronward_nhl) July 1, 2012
It's a stunning paycheck for the veteran winger, despite the endurance he's proven over the last two years in Phoenix. The 10-time 20-goal scorer potted 24 last season, and his 77 points in 82 games were enough to be named a second-team All-Star at season's end.
Nonetheless, Whitney's contract is large enough to ruin the brilliance of this signing for Dallas.
The Islanders have signed another physical depth player in 31-year-old defenseman Matt Carkner.
The massive 6'4", 240-pound rearguard scored only one goal and three points in 29 games with Ottawa last season, but has compiled 349 PIM in 160 appearances over the last three seasons.
Carkner's signing gained attention Sunday afternoon, however, as his new contract with the Islanders came after the Avalanche's official Twitter account claimed that he had come to terms with Colorado.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari breaks it down:
Matt Carkner, who Colorado professed to have a deal with a few hours ago, signs 3-year contract with the New York Islanders. Probably.— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) July 1, 2012
Distractions aside, conversely, the Isles will be happy to have him. They'll be paying him $1.5 million for each of the next three years—twice as much as the Senators originally offered him.
Guillaume Latendresse, the most notable of the RFAs-to-be not given qualifying offers by Monday, has been quickly snatched up by the Ottawa Senators.
Latendresse played merely 27 games over the last two seasons due to prevalent injury problems, but is a former 25-goal scorer who has lots of potential left—the former second-round pick is still only 25.
He does have a pass a team physical first, though, as NBC Sports' Joe Yerdon reports:
New PHT -Ottawa to sign Guillaume Latendresse if he passes physical dlvr.it/1nm0ry— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdonPHT) July 1, 2012
If Latendresse can stay healthy, he's easily a steal for $1.25 million.
With Torrey Mitchell headed to Minnesota and Dominic Moore currently a UFA, the San Jose Sharks fortify their bottom-six group of forwards with former Star Adam Burish.
Via TheFourthPeriod's David Pagnotta:
Sharks sign center Adam Burish.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 1, 2012
TSN is reporting that Burish's contract is $7.2 million over four years, the longest length of any contract signed in free agency's first three hours.
Over the last two years, Burish scored 14 goals, 19 assists and racked up 167 PIM in 128 games for Dallas. He'll help fill out the Sharks' offensive depth, but he'll be getting paid a pretty penny to do so.
It's a hard fall back to earth for Brad Boyes.
Boyes' latest contract, a one-year, $1 million inking with the New York Islanders, equates to a 75 percent salary decrease for Boyes—formerly one of the league's most overpaid players.
The winger scored merely eight goals in 65 games for Buffalo last season despite carrying a cap hit of $4 million. Next year, though, he'll have to prove he's worth higher than fourth-liner wage.
On the other hand, the Isles may have found a colossal steal in Boyes—given his cheap price tag—if he can return to his 40-goal days of years past. Of course, that's an extremely questionable "if."
Newsday's Arthur Staple confirms the signing:
#isles sign Brad Boyes to 1-year, $1 million deal.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) July 1, 2012
The Anaheim Ducks have signed fourth-line journeyman Brad Staubitz to a two-year contract. The Ducks will become Staubitz's fourth NHL club of the last three calendar years.
The undrafted 6'1", 215-pound winger has just nine goals, 19 points and a minus-10 rating in 215 games—offensively, he's worthless. Nonetheless, Staubitz is likely to take on an enforcer's role in Anaheim as George Parros heads the other direction.
David Pagnotta agrees:
Ducks sign Brad Staubitz to 2-year deal... likely spells end of George Parros' tenure in Anaheim.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 1, 2012
The first big payday of July 1st has hit the airwaves. The Florida Panthers have given 35-year-old defenseman Filip Kuba an enormous two-year contract worth a grand total of $8 million. Per the team's Twitter update:
Kuba, looming large at 6'4", 226 pounds, is a former 15 goal-scoring offensive defenseman expected to replace now-UFA Jason Garrison.
Except he's older and more expensive.
Kuba's signing with Florida has all of the looks to be Tomas Kaberle, circa 2012; after wearing out his welcome in Canada, both aging D-men looked to the Southeast Division for interested suitors in free agency.
We know how Kaberle's tenure in Carolina went. Could Kuba follow the same path?
The Los Angeles Kigns have re-signed Dustin Penner, helping to preserve as much of the 2012 Stanley Cup-winning roster as possible for next year.
Penner's salary will take a slight hit after a horrendous seven-goal regular season, but the 29-year-old's solid postseason performance—three goals and 11 points—helped to ease some of the expected drop-off.
Lisa Dillman elaborates:
Update re Dustin Penner. The deal is 1 yr $3.25 million. Says a lot about commitment to LAK. Could have gotten longer term elsewhere— lisa dillman (@reallisa) July 1, 2012
If he can return to past form, Penner can be anticipated to be a consistent 40- to 50-point producer for L.A.
The Atlantic Division's most-traveled player has completed his journey.
Asham, who played his first NHL game all the way back in 1998, has averaged seven goals and 18 points over the last four seasons with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. He's better known, though, for a nasty punch and a testosterone level bordering on dangerous.
The Rangers' latest contract will pay him $1 million over each of the next two seasons. It's not a high price to pay for Asham, who will give the Rangers' fourth line an extra dose of intimidation with Brandon Prust now in Montreal.
Tanner Glass with Winnipeg in 2011-12.
Spurred on by the loss of Arron Asham to New York, the Pittsburgh Penguins have Tanner Glass to fortify their offensive bottom-six.
Via the team's press release:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed forward Tanner Glass to a two-year contract...The deal runs through the 2013-14 campaign, and has an average annual value of $1.1 million.
A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Glass has played five NHL seasons with Florida, Vancouver and Winnipeg, tallying 13 goals, 26 assists, 39 points and 306 penalty minutes in 262 regular-season games. Glass has also appeared in 24 career postseason contests.
Glass is coming off of, in a technical sense of the word, what could be tentatively labeled a "career season"—the 28-year-old scored five goals and 16 points in 78 games for Winnipeg. He has a good chance to build on that in Pittsburgh, and should serve as a quality secondary addition for the Penguins.
Per Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, the Blue Jackets have acquired winger Nick Foligno from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for defenseman Marc Methot.
Portzline with the details:
Foligno, 24, plays mostly left wing. He had a career-high 47 points last season, totalling 15 goals and 32 assists. The Blue Jackets are desperate for top-six skill, and Foligno will get a shot somewhere on their top two lines.
Methot, 27, was bounced from a top-four role with the Blue Jackets last season with the emergence of Nikita Nikitin.
Columbus should be happy with Foligno, who has excellent speed and high offensive upside, even at 24. He'll help to ease their lack of finesse-focused forwards, especially after Rick Nash is dealt sometime this summer.
After a string of somewhat questionable decisions, Columbus GM Scott Howson makes a smart move to kick off what should be an active offseason of Blue Jackets trading.
TSN reports that the Canadiens have signed veteran defenseman Francis Bouillon, formerly of the Nashville Predators, to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
Bouillon entered the NHL as a Hab in 1999 and played in a Montreal jersey as late as 2009 before joining the Preds. The 36-year-old blue-liner has played 676 career games to date and scored 11 points in 66 appearances last season.
He'll provide a strong, experienced presence and reliable defensive depth in Montreal. It's a signing that works all around.
Former feared Rangers enforcer Brandon Prust has agreed to a four-year contract by the Montreal Canadiens. Per @NHLConnected:
Prust is famous for his fighting expertise—he compiled 316 penalty minutes over the last two seasons in New York—but he can also score, tallying 13 goals and 29 points in 2010-11 as well as five goals and 17 points last season. The 28-year-old played all 82 games both of the past two years.
On the other hand, $2.5 million over a long-term deal seems like a gracious plenty for Prust, a pedestrian third-liner at best. He'll need to improve his puck-handling some to make that paycheck worthwhile for new general manager Marc Bergevin and new coach Michel Therrien.
In one of the more unusual signings of Sunday, the Red Wings have added coveted Swiss free agent Damien Brunner to their fold.
Per James Mirtle via Twitter:
Red Wings sign Damien Brunner to a one-year deal.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) July 1, 2012
Red Wings' GM Ken Holland has very high hopes for the 26-year-old, who scored 24 goals and 60 points in 45 games for Zug of the NLA last season.
Although he's never skated on NHL ice, Brunner could receive plenty of ice time from opening day on, as Holland told Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press:
"Brunner flat-out flies. He can skate and he can score and he's got high-end skill. He loves to score. He can play in our top six. We sure think there's an opportunity here for him, now he has to do it."
Brunner also compiled 11 goals and 17 points in 20 games for Switzerland's international team in 2011-12.
The Colorado Avalanche continue their run on free agency with defensive defenseman Greg Zanon, famous for his ever-bald haircut and utter inability to score.
Zanon has lit the lamp just 12 times in his 449-game NHL career, but is fairly serviceable as a conservative third-pairing rearguard. He'll be making just over $2 million a year in Colorado, reports TSN's Bob McKenzie:
COL's deal with Greg Zanon is two years, $4.5m total.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2012
Slightly overpaid or not, Zanon will add grit and consistency to an Avalanche roster that's still in the building phase.
The NHL's most recognizable mustache is headed to South Beach.
The Florida Panthers have signed 32-year-old enforcer George Parros to a two-year contract worth a cap hit of $925,000. Per the team's Twitter update:
In 413 career appearances—all but 55 of which have come with the Anaheim Ducks—Parros has compiled 17 goals, 33 points and a fully-deserved 950 penalty minutes. That's over two minutes a game—equal to nearly 16 hours of his lifetime spent in the "sin bin."
Parros will bring a large dose of personality, hip checks and haymaker punches to an under-the-radar Panthers squad.
After a disappointing 2011-12 campaign with Carolina and New Jersey, Alexei Ponikarovsky has received a $300,000 pay raise in his latest contract with Winnipeg.
Reports Bob McKenzie via Twitter:
Alexei Ponikarovsky to WPG, 1 year, $1.8M.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2012
It's a surprisingly significant amount of cash for Ponikarovsky, who's now two years and four teams removed from his 20-goal, 50-point campaigns of seasons past.
The 6'4", 220-pound winger managed only seven goals in 49 games with the 'Canes before being dealt to New Jersey, where he tallied another seven strikes in 33 regular-season appearances and one goal in 24 postseason appearances.
The Jets may have been willing to overpay a bit, though, to get in on today's activity, which had left them out in the cold previously. It will be interesting to see exactly where Poni fits in to the Jets' line combinations next season.
The 31-year-old rearguard took a while to get to the NHL and has scored a mere four goals in 277 career games played, but has established his reputation as a formidable fighter. He tallied a career-high 15 points in 80 appearances for Anaheim in 2011-12.
Brookbank could replace now-departed 2011 UFA signing Sean O'Donnell on the Blackhawks' bottom pairing.
The Colorado Avalanche continue to make a big splash on July 1st by adding unheralded first-line winger P.A. Parenteau to a hefty contract.
Sportsnet's Chris Nichols confirms the deal:
#Avs get Parenteau for $4M per over four years. $16M total. A little too much, but not bad. Remember he produced on and off Tavares line.
— Chris Nichols (@Nichols_NHLPool) July 1, 2012
Late-blooming Parenteau didn't complete his rookie season until age 28, but what a first-year campaign it was. Parenteau's 20 goals and 53 points in 2010-11 ranked third on the Islanders and skyrocketed the Quebec native from AHL journeyman to NHL stalwart in a six-month span.
Parenteau then topped those statistics last season by putting an impressive 67-point total beside his name. He'll have a chance to match or top those statistics in Colorado, where he'll join a youthful, well-rounded cast of top-nine forwards.
Money figures aside, the Avalanche have taken several big steps already into becoming the 2013 playoff team they hope to be.
In place of former backup goaltender Anders Lindback—who was dealt to the Lightning last month—the Predators have signed former Winnipeg fill-in netminder Chris Mason.
Kevin Allen and USA Today first reported the news:
Chris Mason will be Pekka rinne's backup in Nashville. One year deal for $1.25 million plus bonuses.
— Kevin Allen (@kausatoday) July 1, 2012
Mason, a former dual-starter in Nashville from 2006 to 2008, posted an 8-7-1 record and 2.59 GAA with the Jets last year, although half of his eight wins came against Carolina alone. It's a smart and fair deal for both the Predators and Mason.
Well-traveled 38-year-old defenseman Adrian Aucoin is the latest addition to the 2012-13 Columbus Blue Jackets, who are shaping up like a far different squad than the one that finished dead last in 2011-12.
According to TSN's Aaron Ward, it's a short-term deal for Aucoin, as would be expected:
Further to Adrian Aucoin going to Columbus. It's 2 million over 1 year..plus bonuses #TSN
— Aaron Ward (@aaronward_nhl) July 1, 2012
Aucoin has played over 1,000 career NHL games with Canucks, Lightning, Islanders, Blackhawks, Flames and Coyotes since being drafted by Vancouver in 1992. The 6'2" rearguard scored nine points in 64 games for Phoenix last season, but contributes more as a selfless shot-blocker and locker-room leader than anything else.
He'll help train and mentor several young Blue Jacket defensemen next season, speculates Aaron Portzline:
Aucoin mentored Seabrook and Keith when he was in Chicago. Did same with youngsters in Phoenix. Now he gets John Moore and Ryan Murray.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) July 1, 2012
The Atlantic Division free agent merry-go-round continues to rotate as former New Jersey Devil Eric Boulton bolts to the New York Islanders, per TSN.
Boulton's contract was bought out by the Devils after the enforcer failed to register a single point in 51 games last season. Boulton will be nothing more than a borderline NHL-AHL player for the Isles next year, although he is capable of bringing a bit of intimidation to any fourth line.
The Maple Leafs land one of the most underrated of Sunday's free-agent signings in penalty kill and faceoff specialist Jay McClement.
TOR signs Jay McClement to to 2 year deal worth $3M.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2012
McClement, 29, won 51.3 and 51.6 percent of his sizeable faceoff load each of the past two seasons, respectively.
He also led all Colorado skaters in shorthanded time-on-ice per game (3:06 average) and finished second among Avs forwards in blocked shots (54), in addition to knotting 10 goals and seven helpers in 80 games played
McClement should provide a tremendous boost to Toronto' 28th-ranked penalty kill and fill the third-line center hole that the Leafs have been longing to fix.
The Lightning have developed an obsession with adding new mediocre defensemen. New mediocre defensemen who enjoy creating turnovers far more than dealing out hits, at least.
GM Steve Yzerman's first out-of-town UFA signing of the day, Sami Salo, fits the description.
Salo, already 37, scored a respectable 25 points in 69 games from the Vancouver blue line last season, but racked up 35 giveaways with only 29 hits over the course of the year. By comparison, Canucks winger Aaron Volpatti—who appeared in only 23 games and played just 15 percent as much as Salo did over the course of the year—registered 61 hits.
Further, Yzerman also inked the aging rearguard to a very large contract, reports David Pagnotta:
Tampa Bay signs Sami Salo to a 2-year, $7.5M contract.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 1, 2012
It's a terrible decision all around for Tampa Bay, who have now signed or acquired four new D-men in the last four months. Not one of the foursome, which consists of Salo and trade-deadline acquisitions Mike Commodore, Keith Aulie and Brian Lee, exactly stands out as a future superstar.
The defensive market, quiet for much of the afternoon, lost one of its top items late in the day as the Anaheim Ducks snatched up Bryan Allen.
Allen's contract, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie, will carry a $3.5 million cap hit over each of the next three seasons.
It's a cash-laden but much-deserved deal for Allen, 31, who has developed a reputation as one of the league's hardest-working defensemen in recent years.
The massive 6'5", 226-pound rearguard scored merely one goal in a full 82 games for the Hurricanes in 2011-12, but has a work ethic and defensive-zone fearlessness unrivaled around the NHL. Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reiterates via Twitter:
Allen is stay-at-home guy (6-5, 226) who was 1-13-14 and a -1 for Carolina last season. Made $3.15M in '11-12. 111 hits, 188 blocked shots.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) July 1, 2012
The Ducks should be very pleased with Allen's arrival in Anaheim.
While waiting for a certain few top-tier free agents to make their decisions, the Detroit Red Wings have signed aging forward Mikael Samuelsson.
The 35-year-old winger scored 30 goals as recently as the 2009-10 season, yet has declined significantly in recent campaigns—Samuelsson scored only one goal in six games for Vancouver and 13 goals in 48 games for Florida last season.
However, Samuelsson served as a viable third-line playmaker for the Wings from 2005 to 2009, and will look to retake his old role as he returns to Hockeytown. At the very least, Samuelsson's new contract should please him, as Bob McKenzie notes it carries a $3.0 million cap hit in addition to a no-trade clause:
Mikael Samuelsson is getting $3M per year on his 2 year deal. Full no trade.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2012
Avid scrapper and hard-working fourth-line forward Jordin Tootoo might be the most popular Nashville-to-Detroit move of the summer, no matter where Ryan Suter decides to go.
TSN's Darren Dreger confirms that the Red Wings have signed the Manitoba native to a contract:
TooToo agrees to Detroit.3 years$1.9 per— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2012
It sounds like a hefty contract for a player who has averaged fewer than seven goals a year during his first six NHL seasons, but Tootoo more than makes up for it with frequent fights (six fighting majors last season), abundant hits (led Nashville forwards with 151 in 2011-12) and a scrappy, never-stop-trying attitude that rubs off easily on teammates.
Ironically, the Red Wings and Predators will each kick off their respective seasons with an Oct. 12th meeting in Joe Louis Arena. For Tootoo, it's the perfect way to jumpstart a career in Hockeytown—a high-stakes date with his former team.
The Dallas Stars make a quality bottom-pairing defensive addition, signing 28-year-old Aaron Rome away from Vancouver.
Rome has never played more than 56 games in any NHL season, but he is coming off of a promising 43-game 2011-12 campaign. Rome scored a career high four goals and 10 points as well as 64 hits and 62 blocked shots.
He'll have to earn his way into a consistent starting-lineup job, but Rome will enter Dallas with a solid opportunity in front of him.
With one rebound season highlighting an otherwise downward-trending portfolio, 35-year-old defenseman Sheldon Souray managed to squeeze a huge three-year deal out of the Anaheim Ducks.
The OC Register's Eric Stephens has the report:
Ducks sign D Sheldon Souray. Three years, $11 million.
— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) July 1, 2012
The Ducks gave up a large bounty for the 6'4", 240-pound blue-liner, who was a successful experiment for the Dallas Stars last season but had previously fallen all the way to the AHL after a once-distinguished career in Edmonton.
Souray's major payday continues a trend of defensemen getting questionably large contracts this free-agent frenzy; he'll join a list that already includes fellow D-men Sami Salo, Filip Kuba, Matt Carkner, Joe Corvo and Jason Garrison, among others.
The Vancouver Canucks have answered Jason Garrison's wish. In a big way.
Garrison, long rumored to want to return to his home province of British Columbia, has been inked to a whopping contract by the 'Nucks. Per TSN's Darren Dreger:
6 years, $4.6 aav for Garrison in Van.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2012
Garrison is coming off of a breakout 2011-12 season, as his 16 goals from the blue line trailed only Erik Karlsson and Shea Weber among all league defensemen. But it's an elephant-sized contract to say the least.
The fact that Vancouver had seemingly very little competition for the 27-year-old, who had wanted to come to the Canucks all along, makes the clearly-inflated deal even more puzzling. Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports agrees:
SIX YEARS for Jason Garrison? I think we may have a clubhouse leader for the Leino Trophy. #canucks— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) July 2, 2012
The NHL's biggest FA is headed to Buffalo.
The Sabres announced Sunday night that they have signed colossal 6'8", 270-pound defenseman John Scott to a one-year, $0.6 million contract.
Scott's statistical resume isn't anything near noteworthy—the 29-year-old has scored only one goal and four assists in 146 career games—but his sheer size is obviously a key selling point on this minimum-wage depth addition.
Buffalo GM Darcy Regier, who stayed quiet throughout much of Sunday's activity, was pleased, per the team's press release: "John's size and toughness make him a difficult player to battle against. His physical play will be a valuable addition to our team."
The Capitals made their first—although minor—move of 2012 free agency by nabbing former Maple Leaf winger Joey Crabb with a short-term deal.
Crabb had become a fan favorite in Toronto for his physical play, and saw his offensive production increase dramatically in 2011-12 as well. The 29-year-old set NHL career highs with 11 goals, 15 assists, 33 PIM and 67 games played last season.
TSN's Darren Dreger broke the news first:
$950,000 for 1 year contract for Joey Crabb in Washington.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 2, 2012
After a brief flirtation with free agency, Martin Brodeur has re-upped with the focal team of his career.
Per RDS's Renaud Lavoie, the Devils have re-signed Brodeur to a new two-year deal:
Martin Brodeur is staying with the Devils. 2 years / 9 millions. Great news for the Devils fans and that franchise.— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) July 2, 2012
It's an expensive contract from the Devils' perspective—$4.5 million per year for a goaltender in the 55-60 starts range—but also a needed one, as New Jersey needed to keep Brodeur, if not current UFA Zach Parise, to avoid a rebuilding year next season.
It's still yet to be seen, though, if Brodeur's age (he turned 40 in May) will eventually have an effect on the performance.
The Calgary Flames continue their run on 2012 free agents by landing Jiri Hudler, ranked by many as the top UFA center on the market.
It's a solid but not overwhelming contract for Hudler, who will have a chance to seize the spotlight on a balanced Flames' offense . Darren Dreger of TSN has the details:
Jiri Hudler agrees to 4 year, $16 million contract with Calgary Flames.4yrs x $4 mil.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 2, 2012
Hudler's 25 goals this past season set a career high for the 28-year-old, and his 50 overall points trailed only his 2009-10 total of 57 as the second-highest total of Hudler's career.
In Calgary, he could take on the deserved first-line role that he wasn't able to have in Detroit. The 28-year-old, hence, was quite excited about the move:
"I'm looking forward to this new opportunity ... I'm really happy right now," Jiri Hudler on signing with the #Flames— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) July 2, 2012
Injury-prone defenseman Jeff Woywitka is headed back to St. Louis.
The team's press release confirms the one-year deal for the 28-year-old, who played 152 games in a Blues' jersey from 2005 to 2009. Woywitka played in only 27 games last season for the New York Rangers, tallying six points, 18 hits and 22 blocked shots.
If he stays healthy, Woywitka will be a welcome addition to the lower ranks of St. Louis's defense.
Longtime Canadiens' goaltending staple Carey Price has been re-upped to a new, long-term contract.
Nick Kypreos reports the financial terms of the deal via Twitter:
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) July 2, 2012
Per Montreal's team press release:
Since 2007-08, Price displays a 124-104-35 record in 271 regular season games. He ranks tied for 11th in team’s history with 16 shutouts. He shows a 2.56 goals against average and a .916 save percentage.
The first blockbuster trade of free agency 2012 has hit the airwaves.
Two centers long rumored to be on the market—Buffalo's Derek Roy and Dallas's Steve Ott—have switched places in a major deal between the Stars and Sabres. Reports Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning Register:
Stars get Derek Roy from Buffalo in trade for Steve Ott and Adam Pardy. There is your top-six center to take Ribeiro’s place.
— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) July 2, 2012
Roy's career has taken a tumble in recent years, but the longtime Sabres staple can be an excellent top-six forward when playing at full potential.
Ott, meanwhile, is not quite as offensively gifted but led the Stars with 278 hits and a 55.5 faceoff percentage last season.
Pardy scored three assists in 27 appearances last season and shouldn't be anything more than an average sixth defenseman for Buffalo.
For more on the Stars' perspective on Monday's trade, read our breakdown.
The Winnipeg Jets continue to target veteran forwards this July.
Aging center Olli Jokinen has landed a contract with the Jets, per TSN's Darren Dreger:
2 year deal, $9mil for Jokinen in Wpg. $4.5 aav— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 3, 2012
Jokinen, 33, is on the downslope of his career, but still packs a reliable 15- to 20-goal punch year-to-year. The three-time 30-goal scorer hasn't hit that mark since 2008, but his 17-goal, 54-point and 23-goal, 61-point performances each of the past two seasons, respectively, sum up his current worth accurately.
Jokinen will join Sunday signing Alexei Ponikarovsky on a Winnipeg offense that's added a significant amount of experienced leadership this summer.
The Washington Capitals added to their defensive depth with former Preds' blueliner Jack Hillen, who was signed early Tuesday morning.
Hillen, 26, is underrated as a bottom-pairing defenseman. The Minnesota native has scored 21, 22 and six points each of the last three seasons, respectively, with the Islanders and Predators. He'll fit in well with the Caps' aggressive strategies.
Caps365's Mike Vogel has the details:
The Jack Hillen deal is a one-way pact for $650,000. He made the same amount on a two-way deal ($105K, AHL) with the Preds last season.— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) July 3, 2012
An impressive postseason has earned veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador a new contract in New Jersey, albeit 48 hours after free agency opened.
Salvador led all Devils defensemen in the playoffs with four goals and 14 points in 24 appearances. The 36-year-old will be entering his fifth consecutive season with New Jersey next fall.
Per TSN's Darren Dreger:
Bryce Salvador agrees to 3 year, $9.5 contract with New Jersey Devils. $3.16 aav.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 3, 2012
In an absolutely shocking decision, highly sought-after veteran scorer Jaromir Jagr has signed with the Dallas Stars. Yahoo!'s article, written by Greg Wyshynski, sums up the overall reaction perfectly:
"Jaromir Jagr Agrees to 1-Year, $4.5 Million Deal with Dallas Stars in Texas-Sized Stunner"
It's cash-laden contract for the 40-year-old, who scored 19 goals and 54 points in 73 games with the Philadelphia Flyers following his return from the KHL a year ago.
It's the third major headline-grabbing signing for the Stars in as many days, as Jagr will join fellow vets Ray Whitney and Derek Roy on a Dallas squad that wants to win now. Dallas's top six cast of forwards—Whitney, Jagr, Roy, Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson and Michael Ryder—is quickly becoming one of the best in the league.
The New York Rangers have added a solid addition to their bottom-six forwards group by inking ex-Coyote Taylor Pyatt to a two-year deal.
Pyatt, who scored 19 points in the regular season and six in the playoffs last year, will carry a cap hit just above $1.5 million during his upcoming contract. Per Darren Dreger:
2 years...annual average salary of $1.55 for Pyatt with NYR.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 3, 2012
The 30-year-old forward averaged 13 goals and 24 points over the last three seasons with Phoenix. He also tallied four goals in 16 playoff games for the 'Yotes this spring.
Pyatt should be a solid, if not jaw-dropping, addition for the Blueshirts.
The Minnesota Wild fortified their fourth line Tuesday with the signing of Jake Dowell.
Dowell, who scored seven points and 53 PIM in 52 games with Dallas last season, failed to improve on a career campaign in 2010-11. The 6'0", 202 lb. two-way center put up NHL career highs with six goals and 21 points in 79 games played for Chicago in that season.
Per Capgeek, Dowell will make $800,000 in his new one-year contract with Minnesota. He's a cheap and reliable depth addition.
As reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune via Twitter, Parise and Suter have both officially agreed to terms with Minnesota:
Parise will earn $98 million over 13 years, equal to a cap hit of just over $7.5 million. Per ESPN's Pierre LeBrun:
Deal is $98 million over 13 years for Parise— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 4, 2012
LeBrun also confirms that Suter has received an identical contract from the Wild:
Ryan Suter also got same $98 million over 13 years with Wild— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 4, 2012
It's a pair of shocking decisions that immediately skyrocket the Minnesota Wild into Stanley Cup contention. Parise's addition will instantly fortify a once-mediocre offense and Suter's entrance could skyrocket Minnesota's defense into the league's elite.
Following an offseason of offensive losses, the Coyotes will attempt to replace now-departed Taylor Pyatt with veteran third-liner Steve Sullivan.
Sullivan, 37, has been signed to a one-year contract, per Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari:
LW Steve Sullivan, who earned $1.5 million by Penguins in 2011-12, will be paid $1.85 million in Phoenix.
— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) July 4, 2012
The veteran scored 17 goals and 48 points in 79 games for Pittsburgh last season.
After five consecutive seasons in Nashville, Phoenix will serve as Sullivan's third team in a two-year span. He'll help to replenish a group of bottom-nine forwards in the desert.
After losing former backup Chris Mason to Nashville and acquired netminder Jonas Gustavsson to Detroit, the Winnipeg Jets finally fill their elusive second-string goaltender position with Islanders cast-off Al Montoya.
G Al Montoya has signed a 1 year, $600,000 contract with the Winnipeg Jets.NHLExpertpicks.com— NHL Expert Picks (@NHLexpertpicks) July 4, 2012
Following a promising NHL debut in spring 2011, Montoya fell flat in limited action last season, posting a disappointing 9-11-5 record and miserable .893 save percentage. Compared to Mason, Montoya is a downgrade at the backup position.
The Philadelphia Flyers continued their 2012 free agency woes as another key UFA—sought-after defenseman Matt Carle—bolted to Tampa Bay.
The 27-year-old defenseman, often criticized for his turnovers, registered 39 and 34 assists each of the last two seasons, respectively. Rob Parent reports his cap hit will stand at $5.5 million:
Matt Carle back in Tampa for six years, $33 million. No comment out of Holmgren after crummy two days.— Rob Parent (@ReluctantSE) July 5, 2012
He'll join a Lightning team in desperate need of defensive strength after allowing the league's most goals in 2011-12. Hopefully, Carle will live up to his price tag and help the Bolts' regain respectability in their own end.
Ruslan Fedotenko battles to keep posession.
The Flyers have added to both their offensive and defensive depth with the signings of 'D'-man Bruno Gervais and forward Ruslan Fedotenko.
Per ESPN's Pierre LeBrun via Twitter:
The #Flyers have signed D Bruno Gervais (2 years, $825,000 avg per season) and F Ruslan Fedotenko (1 year, $1.75 M)— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 5, 2012
Gervais, 27, scored six goals and 13 points in just 50 games for the Lightning last season. He's an under-the-radar offensive defenseman who could gain more attention and reputation in Philadelphia.
33-year-old Fedotenko, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, scored nine goals and 11 assists in 73 appearances for the Rangers last year. He's a career third-liner who should bring significant experience and consistency to the Flyers.
The Vancouver Canucks have signed depth forward/defenseman Derek Joslin to a one-year, $0.7 million contract.
The 25-year-old appeared in 44 games each of the last two seasons with San Jose and Carolina, scoring a combined four goals and 13 points. After finding himself a nightly healthy scratch in the Hurricanes' defensive lineup last season, Joslin was switched to a fourth-line forward role and played 3-5 minutes per game.
Chip Alexander confirms Joslin's move to Vancouver:
Derek Joslin has signed a one-year, two-way contract with Canucks.— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) July 5, 2012
In the midst of an oddly dead-quiet offseason, the Buffalo Sabres have added injury-plagued, 26-year-old forward Kevin Porter. Per the Avs' Twitter report:
The Buffalo Sabres have officially signed unrestricted free agent forward Kevin Porter.— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) July 6, 2012
Porter, who arrived in Colorado as a part of the Avs-Coyotes Wojtek Wolski trade of 2010, registered a breakout campaign in 2010-11; he tallied career highs in goals (14), assists (11) and games played (74).
Porter struggled to stay healthy last season, conversely, and managed only four goals and three assists in 35 appearances.
He'll have an opportunity to arrive in Buffalo with a clean slate and a chance to move up the depth chart and show off his talents.
The New York Rangers added to their ailing bottom-six depth with Jeff Halpern.
Just confirming CSN-Washington report - Jeff Halpern did sign w/ the #Rangers today. Great faceoff guy last year. Nice depth forward.— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) July 10, 2012
Halpern, 36, declined to just four goals and 16 points in 2011-12 after an 11-goal, 26-point explosion the prior year.
The longtime Capital—who has also had stints with Dallas, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and Montreal over his career—will bring a solid locker room presence and wholehearted work ethic to the Rangers' offense.
The Carolina Hurricanes added to their increasingly-crowded defensive depth with young Marc-Andre Gragnani.
Hurricanes signs Marc-André Gragnani 1 year / $800 000(2 way)— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) July 11, 2012
Gragnani, 25, impressed in his NHL debut in spring 2011 and hence earned 58 appearances for the Sabres and Canucks last season. Although his deal with Carolina is two-way, Gragnani—a prolific scorer at the AHL level—should still compete for a bottom-pairing slot for the 'Canes.
For more on this signing, read our full recap and analysis article here.
Just three years removed from a 23-goal scorer, Wojtek Wolski has now slipped into the lowly realm of a two-way contract.
It's a dirt-cheap contract for Wolski that could become a tremendous bargain for the Caps; if Wolski can forget his pathetic four-goal, 12-point performance in 2011-12 and return to the second-line production levels of years past, Washington could benefit greatly from Wolski's inexpensive addition.
Given the contract value, it's a smart move all around.
Former Wild slugger Nick Johnson, coming off of a surprisingly productive rookie season, has signed a one-year deal with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Johnson's contract will pay him only $775,000 next season, but the 26-year-old can equal that worth in fisticuffs alone. However, Johnson also registered respectable third-line totals in the scoring department, as well, racking up eight goals and 18 assists in his first full NHL campaign.
For a player that could've earned a salary far closer to seven-figures, Johnson is an absolute steal for the reeling 'Yotes.
In another Wojtek Wolski-esque story, former Av Peter Mueller has now slipped from 22-goal scorer to a bottom-six option in just five years.
Panthers signs Peter Mueller 1 year/ $1 725 000— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) July 12, 2012
Mueller impressed with 54 points in 82 games during his 2007-08 rookie year, but then slipped to just 36 and 37 points, respectively, over the next two seasons.
Following a trade from Phoenix to Colorado during 2009-10, Mueller has appeared in a mere 32 games over the last two years as he continued to suffer from a string of concussions.
In Mueller's newest deal, he'll receive a whopping large paycheck given his utterly unproven portfolio and persistent injury dilemma. The Panthers could restore the former star in Mueller, but they could also be drastically overpaying an IR-bound forward from Day One on.
Unheralded bottom-six forward Daniel Winnik has returned to his former team in Phoenix. Per Kevin Allen of the USA Today:
Daniel Winnik's deal in Anaheim is two years at $1.8 million per season.— Kevin Allen (@kausatoday) July 20, 2012
Winnik, 27, scored eight goals and 23 points in 2011-12 for Colorado and San Jose, dropping from his 2010-11 career highs only slightly. The gritty scrapper played for Phoenix as recently as 2009-10, posting a combined 18 goals and 52 points in three season for the 'Yotes.
His new $1.8 million salary is double what he made each of the past two season, but it's a fairly deserved raise.
Longtime AHL star Tim Wallace, after establishing an NHL reputation in 2010-11, has signed with the Carolina Hurricanes. Per the 'Canes AHL affiliate:
The Hurricanes have signed veteran forward Tim Wallace, a two-time 20-goal scorer in the AHL, to a two-way deal: bit.ly/NW5l1I— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) July 19, 2012
Wallace, 27, scored just one assist in 31 games with the Islanders before being traded, but managed a respectable three goals and eight points in 18 games with the Lightning. Wallace scored his first career NHL goal—ironically, against the 'Canes themselves—in March.
He'll add additional depth, for the cheap price tag of $700,000, to an already-crowded Hurricanes' bottom six.
The doozy of a deal that Columbus and the NHL have long been awaiting has finally become official.
Rick Nash is a New York Ranger.
TSN's Darren Dreger first had the story:
Nash, cond.3rd (goes back to CBJ if NYR make Cup final), mnr leaguer Steve Delisle to NYR for Anisimov, Dubinsky, Erixon and 1st rnd pick.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 23, 2012
Nash, 28, arrives in the Big Apple as with expectations higher than the Empire State Building.
The seven-time 30-goal scorer has scored 57 or more points for six consecutive years, despite playing for one of the league's worst franchises year-in and year-out.
Nash's 30 goals and 29 assists in 2011-12 were actually his lowest total since 2007—he's recorded numbers as high as 40 goals and 79 points earlier in his career.
Just how productive is Nash? In last 5 yrs, Nash would've ranked 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st & 1st on NYR in goals. And that was with bad CBJ teams.— John Giannone (@jaygeemsg) July 23, 2012
Alongside stars Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik, Nash has the opportunity to contend for the league's scoring title in 2013—and will do so without adding any net salary to the Rangers' roster.
It's a win all around.
For more on the trade and the impact of Nash's arrival, read our breakdown here.
After testing the UFA waters for close to two weeks, a plethora of former free-agents have recently broken down and re-signed with their old clubs.
Teemu Selanne (Ducks): One year, $4.5 million
Kyle Wellwood (Jets): One year, $1.6 million
Jamie Langenbrunner (Blues): One year, $1.25 million
Kyle Quincey (Red Wings): Two years, $3.775 million
T.J. Oshie (Blues): Five years, $4.175 million
Sergei Kostitsyn (Predators): Two years, $3.0 million
Kris Versteeg (Panthers): Four years, $4.4 million