Winners and losers of the frenzied start of the NHL free agency – .

Winners and losers of the frenzied start of the NHL free agency – .

Day one of the NHL free agent frenzy is on the books, and what a day it was. According to CapFriendly, more than $ 783 million was spent on more than 160 signatures on Wednesday.
Below, we dive into the winners and losers of Wednesday’s festivities. The measures taken in the days leading up to free agency were also taken into account for this exercise.


Diables du New Jersey

Gregg Forwerck / Ligue nationale de hockey / Getty

The Devils caused a sensation of the day by signing valued free agent defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year contract with an average annual value of $ 9 million.

Hamilton, a true No.1 blue-liner, was the best free agent available. He’s 6-foot-6, shoots well, skates well and has 82 points in his last 102 regular season games. He also constantly publishes excellent underlying numbers and plans to age well during his transaction.

The fact that the Devils locked him up for $ 500,000 less a season than the Chicago Blackhawks recently paid Seth Jones is a huge win.

The New Jersey blue line looks pretty solid. The team already had enough decent rearguards but really needed an anchor like Hamilton to uplift those around them and push others down the roster. Here is the chart of the Devils’ projected depths:

Ryan Graves Dougie Hamilton
Jonas Siegenthaler Damon Severson
Ty Smith PK Subban

The club still have over $ 20 million in ceiling space, and Subban’s contract is hitting the books after next season. In addition to Smith, 21, who has just completed a stellar rookie campaign, the Devils also have Kevin Bahl and 2021 fourth overall pick Luke Hughes going through the system.

When the Devils are ready to fight in a year or two, Hamilton should still be among the elite.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Sportswire Icon / Sportswire Icon / Getty

It was inevitable that the Lightning would get worse this offseason, but general manager Julien BriseBois is doing everything in his power to give his club their best chance of tripling.

The Lightning are now cap-compliant after losing Yanni Gourde in the expansion draft and trading Tyler Johnson, as well as a second-round pick, to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Brent Seabrook’s LTIR contract (a deal that Actually help the Bolts win $ 1.8 million in cap space).

The cost of a second-round pick to get rid of Johnson’s deal isn’t that bad.

BriseBois’s best job has been to put superstar center Brayden Point on an eight-year extension with a cap of $ 9.5 million starting for the 2022-2023 campaign. Point’s hat trick is identical to that of other team stalwarts Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

The Lightning also reinforced the edges of their alignment with three solid chords. Strong defenseman Zach Bogosian has joined an ultra-friendly three-year contract that capped just above the league low of $ 850,000. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, a superb shorthanded fourth-row center, signed a two-year contract with a cap of $ 1 million. Finally, veteran backup goalie Brian Elliott signed a one-year pact of $ 900,000.

Tampa Bay could make more in-depth signings, but can also count on bigger roles from youngsters like Ross Colton, Mathieu Joseph and Boris Katchouk. Based on the Lightning player’s excellent development history, the three could be impact players in the squad’s last six forwards group next season.

Avalanche du Colorado

Michael Martin / National Hockey League / Getty

Lock up Cale Makar – check it out.

Re-sign Gabriel Landeskog – verify.

The Avalanche have already accomplished the two biggest items on their offseason to-do list. The third – re-signing Philipp Grubauer – did not materialize, but it can be a blessing in disguise.

Grubauer signed a six-year contract with the Seattle Kraken, which pays him $ 5.9 million per season. That’s a steep price for a 29-year-old who has been powerfully supported by the excellent team ahead of him. Grubauer was a finalist for Vezina but is only ranked 13th in the league for goals recorded above expectations.

Avs replaced Grubauer with Darcy Kuemper. Yes, they had to give up a first-round pick and Conor Timmins to acquire it, but he’s arguably better than Grubauer and will only count for $ 3.5 million against the cap next season. Colorado has a clear Stanley Cup window for the next two years before Nathan MacKinnon’s windfall contract expires.

Kuemper has just had a bad year, but has been fantastic in 2019-20, posting a .928 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average while finishing second in the league for goals over the top. expectations. If he can return to that form in front of Colorado’s elite team defense, watch out.


Oilers d’Edmonton

Andy Devlin / Ligue nationale de hockey / Getty

Ken Holland helped build the Detroit Red Wings dynasty in the late 90s and early 2000s, but the reputation of the Oilers general manager has deteriorated over the past two weeks.

The Oilers made a handful of questionable moves on Wednesday, leaving them with one of the league’s most suspicious blue lines.

Edmonton brought Tyson Barrie back on a three-year contract with a $ 4.5 million hit, signed Cody This to a four-year pact that carries a $ 3.25 million hit and traded the defenseman Ethan Bear vs. forward Warren Foegele.

The Bear-for-Foegele trade isn’t all bad in itself, but the fact that the Oilers shipped a promising, local blue liner to make room for Barrie and This is bad optics. Here is Edmonton’s projected blue line:

Darnell Nurse Tyson Barrie
Duncan Keith Cody Ceci
Kris Russell Evan Bouchard

Outside of Nurse, this back end is littered with question marks. Barrie is gifted offensively but is a defensive handicap. Keith is in serious decline. This is a # 6 D-man at best. Russell is 34 years old. Bouchard has a lot of potential but has yet to prove himself.

Whichever duo head coach Dave Tippett decides to deploy as his stopping torque will be exploited by the opposing front lines.

Holland did well to improve depth ahead of Edmonton, bringing in Foegele, Derek Ryan and Zach Hyman, but the latter’s seven-year contract worth $ 5.5 million per season is a huge one. too much paid. The 29-year-old has had two knee surgeries and workhorses tend not to age well.

The Oilers also failed to address their issues between the pipes, missing out on all the best free agent options and failing to pull the trigger on a deal for Kuemper. The possibility of another season with a Mike Smith-Mikko Koskinen tandem inspires little confidence.

Vegas Golden Knights

Ethan Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Golden Knights are having the worst offseason in team history. They traded the franchise icon and reigning Vézina Trophy winner Marc-André Fleury for next to nothing on Tuesday.

While many believed the new $ 7million cap would be used to cause a stir – as the club are known to do during their brief existence – nothing of that nature has come to fruition.

Instead, Vegas brought in Laurent Brossoit to back Robin Lehner, re-signed deadline acquisition Mattias Janmark, and traded for Evgenii Dadonov. The latter move is particularly puzzling given that the 32-year-old appears to be in decline after a terrible 20-point campaign and has two years left on his contract with a $ 5 million cap.

Dadonov is Vegas’ sixth-best winger at best, which means he’s destined for the third line. The Golden Knights’ greatest need was in the center, but they failed to meet it.


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