While there are still some free agents sitting on the open market, the rush of NHL free agency has largely come and gone. Several big names have new homes, and as a result, some odds have undergone drastic shifts.
With multiple teams armed with cap space, hundreds of millions of dollars were dished out to this year’s free-agent class. There were a number of teams who spent quite a bit in an effort to improve the team, while others made very little noise over the past week.
Here are a few of the highlights from NHL free agency and some of the players who are still looking for homes.
Kraken add Grubauer and more in the first free agency
Shortly after completing their expansion draft, the Seattle Kraken went into their first free agency with lots of money to spend. And spend they did, shelling out $76,400,000 out of unrestricted free agent goaltender Phillip Grubauer, left-wing Jaden Schwartz, and center Alexander Wennberg.
Grubauer was the big fish out of the group, landing a six-year deal with an average annual value (AAV) of $5.9 million. The 29-year old Vezina finalist had a career year with the Avalanche, sporting a 30-9-1 record with a 1.95 GAA and .922 save percentage. Grubauer should have the first crack at the starting job ahead of Chris Driedger, an expansion draft pick who Seattle signed at $3.5 million for the next three years.
Schwartz has spent his entire 10-year career with the Blues, eclipsing 20 goals four times and 30 assists five times. Now he will make $5.5 million a year for the next five seasons with the Kraken. Meanwhile, Wennberg just put up a career-high total of 17 goals with the Panthers before signing a three-year deal with an AAV of $4.5 million.
Seattle also signed impending free-agent defensemen Jamie Oleksiak and Adam Larsson to multi-year deals shortly after selecting them in the expansion draft. Overall, the Kraken now have a bevy of veterans ready to contribute right away in their debut season. And it has affected their odds to win it all, as BetOnline has pushed Seattle up to +3300 to win it all, better than 15 other teams.
Hamilton Skates to New Jersey
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton has had a productive nine-year career in the NHL, scoring double-digit goals in each of the past seven seasons and establishing himself as one of the league’s top offensive threats from the blueline. As a result, Hamilton landed the largest contract given to an unrestricted free agent this offseason, signing with the New Jersey Devils for $63 million over seven years.
Although it was the biggest contract handed out, many experts say it was one of the better ones due to Hamilton’s elite play on both sides of the ice. However, the move was not quite enough to boost New Jersey’s odds to win the Cup, as they remain tied for last place in the NHL at +10000.
Just like last season, we saw a number of goaltenders switch teams over the course of free agency. Joining Grubauer as a $5 million AAV netminder is Linus Ullmark, who is now set to be the new Bruins goaltender for the next few seasons. Another interesting switch was between the Hurricanes and Maple Leafs, as Toronto’s Frederik Andersen signed with the Canes while Carolina’s Petr Mrazek departed for the Leafs.
Other veteran netminders on the move in NHL Free Agency are Antti Raanta, James Reimer, Jaroslav Halak, Martin Jones, and Braden Holtby. Raanta left Arizona to join Andersen in Raleigh, while former Cane Reimer is the new man in the net for the Sharks. As for the other three, each took one-year deals with the Canucks, Flyers, and Stars respectively.
Boston and Carolina, the two teams with the biggest changes in net, are deadlocked according to the latest odds. BetOnline has each team listed at +1100, the fourth-highest in the NHL.
Other Veterans who Found new Homes
After a productive last few years with the Maple Leafs, left-wing Zach Hyman was part of a sign-and-trade with the Oilers, as his new deal is worth $38.5 million over seven years. The other free agent who earned a deal worth over $5 million AAV was center Phillip Danault, who left the Stanley Cup runner-up Canadiens for the Kings.
Center Blake Coleman, a veteran from the Cup champion Lightning, inked a six-year contract with the Flames, while former Cup winner Brandon Saad left the Avalanche in pursuit of a five-year pact with the Blues. On the defensive side, veteran Ryan Suter found a new home after the Wild bought out his contract, signing with the Stars over the next four years. Defenseman Jake McCabe also got a nice contract from the Blackhawks for four years, joining new trade acquisitions Seth Jones and Marc-Andre Fleury.