NHL free agency got underway on Wednesday as teams began signing players in an effort to boost their chances of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup next season. The Tampa Bay Lightning are coming off of their second consecutive Stanley Cup, as they defeated the Montreal Canadiens earlier this month.
One of the biggest unrestricted free agents was slated to be star winger Gabriel Landeskog. However, Landeskog signed an eight-year contract extension ($7 million AAV) to remain with the Colorado Avalanche. While we’re on the subject of players staying put, three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner Alexander Ovechkin signed a five-year, $47.5 million deal to stay with the Washington Capitals.
CBS Sports will keep you updated on all the big names that will be signing in the days and weeks to come.
Perry signs with Lightning
The 36-year old has played for the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars in each of the past two seasons. Both of those teams lost to the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final. In his lone season with the Canadiens, Perry scored nine goals while dishing out 12 assists in 49 regular season contests. In addition, the veteran winger’s production increased in the playoffs as he scored four goals and recorded six assists in Montreal’s 22 postseason games.
Dougie Hamilton lands with Devils
The New Jersey Devils certainly didn’t shy away from spending some big-time money. On Wednesday, the Devils signed former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year contract ($9 million AAV).
Hamilton is now the fourth-highest paid defenseman, along with new teammate P.K. Subban and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche. The Devils’ new acquisition brings an offensive-minded approach to the team’s blue line. After all, Hamilton has scored more goals (59) than any other NHL defenseman over the past four seasons. Hamilton is coming off a campaign in which he registered 42 points (10 goals & 32 assists). His 10 goals tied for fifth among all NHL defensemen during the 2021 season.
The right-handed shooting defenseman had spent the past three seasons with the Hurricanes. Hamilton was originally selected by the Boston Bruins with the No. 9 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. He also spent three seasons with the Calgary Flames.
Hyman leaves Maple Leafs for Oilers
Winger Zach Hyman will be calling a new Canadian city home next season. On Wednesday, the Edmonton Oilers signed Hyman to a seven-year contract ($5.5 million AAV).
Hyman just wrapped a 2021 season in which he scored 15 goals and added 18 assists in 43 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The former fifth-round pick had spent the last six seasons in Toronto and compiled 86 goals and 99 assists in 345 games. In addition, Hyman also registered 13 postseason points (five goals & eight assists).
Kraken sign Philipp Grubauer
The Seattle Kraken made a huge splash on the opening day of free agency. On Wednesday, they agreed to a six-year contract ($5.9 million AAV) with free agent goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
“We’re excited to add a goaltender of Philipp’s caliber, especially coming off of a season where he was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy,” Seattle Kraken General Manager Ron Francis said in a press release. “He was a part of a Stanley Cup-winning team and has been one of the top goaltenders in the League over the past few seasons and we’re happy that he chose to join our team.”
Grubauer put together with a 30-9-1 record to go along with a 1.95 goals-against-average and a .922 save percentage with the Colorado Avalanche in 2021. Grubauer finished second in the NHL in wins, second in goals-against-average and tied for first in shutouts (7).
The German goalie was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, which is annually awarded to the league’s top netminder. Ironically, two of the three finalists for the award have switched teams as Marc-Andre Fleury was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks from the Vegas Golden Knights.