- LW Patrick Marleau signed with Toronto for 3 years with an AAV of $6.25 million
- Additional Details: No Movement Clause all 3 years
- Previous Contract: 3 years, $20 million with an AAV of $6,666,667 signed with San Jose.
- Original Projection: I predicted that Marleau was going to re-sign with San Jose for 2 years with an AAV of $4 million.
- Thoughts: I like the idea of Toronto signing Marleau, who is one of the most consistent goalscorers in recent NHL history. He already has over 500 goals for his career and doesn’t appear to be slowing down, scoring 27 last season. He is also a very durable player and hasn’t missed a regular season game since the 2008-09 season. I think that he will be a welcomed addition to a Maple Leafs team seeking to build upon a surprising playoff berth last season. Marleau will add scoring depth to a team that lacked it last season and will also be a big part of their powerplay. I think that he could be the piece that helps them advance in the playoffs while attempting to take advantage of their young players still being on entry level deals. I don’t like the term they gave Marleau as he will turn 38 before the regular season starts. However, as I mentioned above, health hasn’t been an issue for Marleau throughout his career. I only question his salary in years two and three of the deal. They will be able to work on an extension with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner next July 1, William Nylander can be extended now, and James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, and Leo Komarov are all free agents next offseason. One bright spot is that they can get cap relief by putting Nathan Horton and Joffrey Lupul on LTIR when the regular season starts.
- C/LW Evgeny Kuznetsov re-signed with Washington for 8 years with an AAV of $7.8 million
- Additional Details: Modified NTC for years 3-8
- Previous Contract: 2 years, $6 million with an AAV of $3 million signed with Washington.
- Original Projection: I predicted that Kuznetsov would re-sign with Washington for 6 years with an AAV of $5.5 million.
- Thoughts: Kuznetsov sometime in the last calendar year made it known that he was not going to sign a new deal with Washington that was similar to the one Nikita Kucherov signed with Tampa Bay. Kuznetsov wanted a long-term deal with a high AAV and he got that deal. Going eight years with Kuznetsov was a smart move by Washington since he only turned 25 recently and likely won’t regress at all during the life of the contract. I do question the salary they gave him, however, as he had a down year last season and is at most a second line center on the Capitals roster. If $7.8 million was giving the team a break in exchange for an eight year deal, then I’d love to know how much he wanted annually for a shorter deal. I think ultimately Washington was put in a bind with this negotiation because their Stanley Cup window is still open but not for much longer and Kuznetsov is a major piece to contending. They also weren’t going to be able to replace his production in free agency this offseason. For Kuznetsov, this is a great deal and it will still allow him to sign another deal when he is 33 and could still be a productive player at that point in his career.
- C Joe Thornton re-signed with San Jose for 1 year and $8 million
- Additional Details: No Movement Clause
- Previous Contract: 3 years, $20.25 million with an AAV of $6.75 million signed with San Jose.
- Original Projection: I predicted that he would re-sign with San Jose for 2 years with an AAV of $4 million.
- Thoughts: I really thought that Thornton and Marleau were going to return to the Sharks on the same deal and that would keep San Jose’s chances at winning a Stanley Cup high for a couple of more seasons. What I didn’t consider is how many teams were going to be willing to give them larger deals with high salaries, allowing Marleau to move on and forcing the Sharks to pay Thornton $8 million for one season. I think with this deal it was San Jose saying that they weren’t comfortable parting ways with both Marleau and Thornton and replacing their production was going to be nearly impossible this offseason. I think that paying Thornton $8 million is pretty crazy but I know that he has been a key piece for them even later in his career.
- RW Ales Hemsky signed with Montreal for 1 year and $1 million
- Previous Contract: 3 years, $12 million with an AAV of $4 million signed with Dallas
- Original Projection: I predicted that Hemsky would sign a 1 year deal worth $2 million with Ottawa.
- Thoughts: The Canadiens lacked scoring last season and that problem only got worse when they were unable to re-sign Alexander Radulov. Replacing Radulov’s production is going to be difficult for the Canadiens but if Hemsky can return to his pre-injury form, then he should help alleviate that loss a little bit. It is also a good idea for Montreal to sign a right shot winger as that was the side they struggled most from last season. I also think that this was a smart move by Hemsky because he should be able to create a nice role for himself with Montreal and will get plenty of opportunities to score goals.
- RW Alexander Radulov signed with Dallas for 5 years with an AAV of $6.25 million
- Previous Contract: 1 year, $5.75 million signed with Montreal.
- Original Projection: I predicted that Radulov would re-sign with Montreal for 6 years with an AAV of $5 million.
- Thoughts: I don’t think any team has rebuilt itself more this offseason so far than the Dallas Stars have. They addressed their goaltending problem by trading for and signing Ben Bishop. They brought Marc Methot to be a shutdown defenseman and they signed Martin Hanzal to be most likely be their second line center. Now, they sign Alexander Radulov to in an effort to get more scoring. Losing Cody Eakin in the Expansion Draft and letting Jiri Hudler and Ales Hemsky walk have been amazing moves by the team. Radulov should help give Dallas a balanced lineup and ensure that they don’t have to rely on Jamie Benn or Tyler Seguin as much. I even like the term and salary for Radulov because he should be able to play out that contract despite already being 31. I think that Dallas was the perfect team to sign Radulov and are in a great spot salary cap wise. For Radulov, I think that Dallas could be the team that can maximize his skillset and see him eclipse the 30 goal mark for the first time in the NHL. He may not have gotten the term that he initially wanted but he does have a high salary and will earn more in Texas than in almost any other location due to its lack of state income tax.
- W Devante Smith-Pelly signed with Washington for 1 year and $650,000
- Previous Contract: 2 years, $2.6 million with an AAV of $1.3 million signed with New Jersey. Was bought out on 6/30.
- Chicago traded F Marcus Kruger to Vegas for Future Considerations
- Washington traded F Marcus Johansson to New Jersey for 2018 2nd and 3rd RD Picks
- Thoughts: Washington made this trade purely as a salary shedding move. Re-signing T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov made a serious dent into the cap space they had. I think that they are going to miss Johansson’s production as he posted 24 goals and 58 points last season and has been one of their more consistent scorers in recent seasons. I think it would have been smarter for Washington to buy out Brooks Orpik’s contract but the Capitals have found themselves in a very difficult salary cap situation. New Jersey found themselves to be the lucky recipient of Washington’s poor salary cap situation and was able to acquire a really solid producer for two draft picks, neither of which were a first round pick. The Devils have gotten quite a bit better over this offseason after already drafting Nico Hischier with the first overall draft pick, signing Brian Boyle, and now trading for Marcus Johansson. I still don’t think that the Devils will be competitive this season but they are certainly building a strong core that will carry them into the future.
- Vegas traded F Marcus Kruger to Carolina for a 2018 5th RD Pick
- Kruger’s name was initially mentioned in a trade from Chicago to Vegas before the Expansion Draft. His cap hit of just over $3 million with two years left on it was too much for the Blackhawks and they had to find a way to shed his salary in order to be cap compliant this season. Vegas acquired Kruger for future considerations, so at somepoint in the future Vegas will get a draft pick from Chicago or one of their prospects. I understand why Chicago had to move Kruger but at somepoint they are going to rid themselves of too much talent in an effort to be cap compliant and they won’t be a true Stanley Cup contender anymore. I am surprised that when Vegas flipped Kruger to Carolina that they were unable to get more for him. A 5th RD draft pick is basically nothing for a player than can be Carolina’s third or fourth line center and a key part of their penalty kill. I think this was a smart move for the Hurricanes, which have made moves this offseason to make them serious playoff contenders. If they are able to move one of their young defensemen and picks to Colorado for Matt Duchene, that would likely make the Hurricanes into a favorite to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
*All stats and information came from tsn.ca, hockey-reference.com, capfriendly.com, and rosterresource.com