NHL Free Agency Day 1 Winners and Losers

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With Day 1 of the NHL’s free agency in the rearview mirror, theScore distributes the winners and losers of all the action on Friday.

Winners

Oilers d’Edmonton

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The Oilers went on a bargain hunt on Friday and found a pair of great finds. GM Ken Holland brought back Tyler Ennis, from Edmonton, Alta., On a one-year, million-dollar contract, and landed rebound contender Kyle Turris on a two-year contract for a modest AAV of $ 1.65 million.

Edmonton needed to score deep and Ennis scored 16 goals in 70 games last year. He can lead possession while lowering roster, but he’s also got the sparkle and intelligence to not appear out of place on a line with Connor McDavid. It’s big at just $ 1 million.

The Oilers were also in desperate need of a third-row center. In a free agent market with very few quality pivots, Holland managed to land one with an advantage in Turris. The 31-year-old has just had two bad seasons, but the change of scenery could serve him well.

Holland was allegedly involved in the Jacob Markstrom draw. After seeing the goalie sign a six-year, $ 36 million contract with the Calgary Flames, the veteran GM made a smart move by stepping back.

The Oilers could still use some help on the blue line and in goal, but so far everything has been going well for Holland.

St. Louis Blues

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The addition of Justin Faulk last year was a head scratch from the start and was always going to be a problem for the Blues. The seven-year, $ 45.5 million extension CEO Doug Armstrong gave him likely spelled the end of Alex Pietrangelo in St. Louis. With Colton Parayko, it didn’t make sense to pay a heavy price for three right-handed defenders. But Armstrong helped rectify his own problem on Friday.

Instead of waiting to see if Pietrangelo would reverse a deal that slightly threatened the team, Armstrong came out and got the next best rearguard in the free market, signing Torey Krug to a seven-year contract with a cap of $ 6.5 million. If Armstrong waited for Pietrangelo, he might still have lost his captain and seen Krug go elsewhere. It was smart to make a deal while he could.

Now we are by no means saying that Krug is better than Pietrangelo – as he certainly isn’t – but the latter probably would have cost a few million more per season. And the fact that Krug is left-handed equalizes potential pairs:

LD RD
Torey krug Justin Faulk
Vince Dunn Colton Parayko
Marco Scandella Robert Bortuzzo
Carl Gunnarsson

It’s still a terribly strong blue line, even without Pietrangelo. Don’t be surprised if Faulk has a year of rebounding now that he doesn’t have to go offside. He and Krug have also performed together on the international stage.

Maple Leafs de Toronto

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Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas probably had two jobs to do to get into free agency: get someone to play with Morgan Rielly and add sandpaper up front. Dubas accomplished both by signing TJ Brodie to a 4-year, $ 20 million contract and signing Wayne Simmonds on a $ 1.5 million one-year pact.

The Brodie contract is by no means a good deal, but it is a good deal. The Leafs have been looking for a legitimate, defensive sound blue line for too long. Brodie fills that need and will immediately be the best partner Rielly has ever had in Toronto. The Leafs’ blue line is no longer a weakness:

LD RD
Morgan Rielly TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin Justin Holl
Mikko Lehtonen Travis Dermott
Rasmus Sandin

Simmonds is not a sexy addition, but it was necessary. Toronto needed a little toughness to replace Kyle Clifford’s courage, and Simmonds can still deliver value on the third or fourth row at a reasonable price. His leadership presence cannot be overlooked either.

Losers

Bruins de Boston

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It wasn’t about what the Bruins won on Friday, but rather what they lost. Boston let Krug walk and the star defenseman signed with the Blues – the club that beat the Bruins in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup.

Krug made Boston even worse after signing with St. Louis, saying the Bruins hadn’t made him an offer for a year and his contract had been “taken”.

Boston might have something else in the works, and the team might finally prove to be savvy in the next few days, but free agency opening day certainly wasn’t a good day for the defending winners. of the Presidents’ Trophy.

Ottawa Senators

Joe Sargent / National Hockey League / Getty

The Senators are trying to hit the rock bottom and have a ways to go, but that’s no excuse for their contract with Matt Murray. Two days after Ottawa acquired the goalie in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Senators awarded him a four-year, $ 25 million deal.

It is not so much the term that is problematic. Murray is relatively young at 26 and has two championships on his resume. However, it does not deserve a cap of $ 6.25 million. That’s more than what Markstrom got from the Calgary Flames ($ 6 million) and more than Robin Lehner got from the Vegas Golden Knights ($ 5 million). Markstrom was a UFA and Lehner signed as a pending UFA ahead of the frenzy, but Murray was just an RFA, and this latest puck-blocker was nowhere near the caliber of those counterparts in 2019-20.

Murray lost his starting job with the Penguins last season when he posted a low .899 save percentage in 38 games (the third worst in the NHL among goaltenders who have played at least as many contests) and a minus-11.57 goals saved above average. fourth worst among the same group.

His contract won’t hurt the Senators in the short term, but it could cause headaches for the team down the road, especially if Ottawa plans to extend it with plenty of other essentials to secure by then as well. The deal will undoubtedly affect the entire goaltending market going forward, which will affect any future goaltending movement initiated by the Senators.

The fans

No one lost more than the fans on Friday. Despite the unprecedented circumstances and the lack of the usual negotiation period before the UFA frenzy that encourages more movement, the large number of brand names available in the free agent and commerce markets has raised expectations. in the hockey world to a multitude of successful transactions.

However, the potential frenzy wasn’t supposed to be on Day 1. There were far fewer signings in the first six hours this year than on opening day in 2019:

It took more than eight hours for one of the top three UFAs to sign, and Krug was the only one of the trio to make a splash. Pietrangelo and Taylor Hall are presumably thinking about their options, and they have every right to do so, but the fact that they – and many other big names – are still on the board leaves something to be desired.

Additionally, Oliver-Ekman Larsson ultimately opted to stay with the Arizona Coyotes after the Bruins and Vancouver Canucks allegedly tried to get him into what would have been an important trade.

In terms of free will, the financial impact of the pandemic no doubt played a role in the reduced day as well, but it was still disappointing for those who expected more fireworks.

(Analytical Courtesy: Natural Stat Trick)



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