Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

by | Jul 1, 2018 | News, NHL, Rumors | 88 comments

The NHL free-agent market opens today at noon ET. Here’s a list of today’s notable signings, which will be updated throughout the day. 

Toronto Maple Leafs signed center John Tavares to a seven-year, $77-million contract

Toronto Maple Leafs sign John Tavares to a seven-year contract (Photo via NHL Images)

Philadelphia Flyers reportedly signed left wing James van Riemsdyk to a five-year, $35-million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year contract extension worth $6.75 million per season.

Arizona Coyotes officially announced the signing of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year contract extension worth $8.25 million AAV. They also re-signed defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a two-year contract extension worth $5 million AAV, and signed free-agent winger Michael Grabner to a three-year deal worth $3.35 million per season. 

Vegas Golden Knights will sign center Paul Stastny to a three-year contract. The annual average value is $6.5 million. They’ve also signed defenseman Nick Holden to a two-year deal worth $2.2 million annually. 

Pittsburgh Penguins will reportedly sign defenseman Jack Johnson to a five-year, $16.25-million contract. They’ve also signed Matt Cullen to a one-year, $650K contract

St. Louis Blues expected to sign winger David Perron to a four-year deal worth $4 million per season. The Blues have also signed center Tyler Bozak to a three-year contract with an AAV of $5 million and goaltender Chad Johnson to a one-year, $1.75-million deal. 

Colorado Avalanche reportedly close to signing defenseman Ian Cole to a three-year contact worth an annual cap hit of $4.25 million.

Chicago Blackhawks sign goaltender Cam Ward to a one-year, $3-million contract with a full no-movement clause. They’ve also signed winger Chris Kunitz to a one-year, $1-million contract and defenseman Brandon Manning to a two-year deal. 

Boston Bruins expected to sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract worth $2.75 million annually. They also signed winger Joakim Nordstrom to a two-year, $2 million deal and defenseman John Moore to a five-year contract worth an AAV of $2.75 million.

Columbus Blue Jackets sign center Riley Nash to a three-year contract worth $2.75-million per season. 

Buffalo Sabres will reportedly sign goaltender Carter Hutton to a three-year, $8.25-million contract.

New York Islanders have an agreement in place to bring back defenseman Thomas Hickey on a four-year deal worth an AAV of $2.5 million. They also signed forward Leo Komarov to a four-year, $12-million contract.

Detroit Red Wings expected to sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a three-year deal worth around $3 million annually and forward Thomas Vanek to a one-year, $3-million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers will sign forward Kyle Brodziak to a two-year deal with an AAV of around $1 million and forward Tobias Rieder to a one-year, $2-million contract.  

Dallas Stars expected to sign forward Blake Comeau to a three-year deal worth $2.4 million per season. They’ve also re-signed winger Valeri Nichushkin to a two-year deal worth $2.95-million annually. Roman Polak is reportedly heading to the Stars on a one-year contract worth $1.3 million.

Vancouver Canucks are expected to sign center Jay Beagle to a four-year contract worth $3 million annually and forward Antoine Roussel to a four-year deal worth $3.25 million per season. 

Calgary Flames expected to sign center Derek Ryan to a three-year deal worth an AAV of $3.125 million and center Austin Czarnik to a two-year deal worth $1.25-million annually. 

Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. 

Montreal Canadiens are expected to announced the signing of center Tomas Plekanec to a one-year deal worth a base salary of $2.25 million plus bonuses. 

Minnesota Wild will reportedly sign defenseman Greg Pateryn to a three-year contract and signed goaltender Andrew Hammond. 



  1. Isn’t Chris Wagner notable ?

    • No

    • Who?

  2. Canucks apparently ready to sign
    Jay Beagle 4yrs @ 3m
    Roussel 4yrs@ 3.25m

    Tim Shaller 2yrs@ 1.9m

    WTF Benning?

    We know you’re gonna try tank for Jack Hughes but now you’re gettin a leg up on the little brother too.

    • Overpay for fourth liners.

  3. Will CGY trade Lindholm now after signing Ryan? or keep Lindhom and move Bennett?

    Odd Vegas goes for Statsny….. hmm… not sure y…

    • Clearly because the C position was exposed as their biggest weakness in the finals.

      • hey did you hear J t is a leaf congrats to all the leaf haters

    • Flames are planning to play Lindholm on the wing with Monahan and Johnny.

  4. Congrats to the Penguins for signing one of the worst defensemen in the league. Now, Jarmo, sign up Ian Cole!

    • Which one?

      Jamie Oleksiak? Justin Schultz? Ben Lovejoy? Maybe Ian Cole even?

      It’s funny what happens when your coaches actually coach their players instead of just throwing tantrums and media jabs at them.

      We’ll see what Gonchar can do.

      • Jack Johnson. Check his stats. The guy was always, at best, questionable defensively, but that could be overlooked because of his offense. However,his offense has dropped off in recent years. If he’s such a “prize”, why was he in the press box for the last few weeks of the season and the playoffs in favor of Ian Cole?

      • Ya johnson is a 6/7 dman let’s see how much the pens pay him

      • I would never try to understand the logic of an ass clown like Torts.

        Can he still skate? Hit? Shoot?

        If so, he’ll be just fine.

        Perhaps you missed the references, but Cole was in and out of the lineup when we got him from the Blues. Schultz was considered the worst D man in the league. Oleksiak was a healthy scratch in Dallas, now he’s a stud.

        None of this is to say that he’ll succeed here, but failing there means little.

        If he still has his tools, he’ll do just fine once Gonchar coaches him up and the Pens put him in the right role.

      • Yeah, Torts is such a terrible coach. I mean, what has he done besides win a Cup, lead his teams into the playoffs nearly every year he’s coached, became the only coach to get the Jackets into the playoffs in back-to-back years, helped develop Werenski, Dubouis, Bjorkstrand, Bobrovsky and several others into solid (if not star) players. But, hey, let’s just keep going with that “loudmouth-moron” media narrative, right?

      • I don’t think that this post is as reasonable as other Penguin posts that you’ve submitted. Despite having played for other coaches, Johnson’s best season, statistically, was 2016-17, Tortorella’s second year as Blue Jacket’s coach.

      • the real shame is even if johnson does ok, those that are judging him based off of graphs will still seek to find confirmation bias. they will cherry pick stats like they do now to fit their narrative. I am glad the majority of the pittsburgh media has chosen to take the high road with a wait and see narrative… even a cautiously positive one. So much better than having to listen to people whine all the time.

    • Jack Johnson sucks big time. It’s a dark day for this Penguins fan. 5 years?!?! That’s way too long to have to watch this clown screw up every game. There isn’t even room for a left shot dman on the team and if Rutherford trades one of the other ones to make room for Johnson then he’s making it worse.

      • Speaking of too long, how about the McDonough extension in Tampa which means he’s under contract there for 8 more years. With his style of play – blocking shots etc. – that could be a big big problem for Yzerman about half-way through the deal

      • Oleksiak prefers the right side and plays better there.

        They needed a left shot D to replace Ian Cole, who got more money for two less years.

        Yinzers are only happy when the sky is falling.

      • I wouldn’t say Johnson sucks big time. For most of his career he has been a pretty good offensive weapon from the blueline and he usually chewed up a lot of ice time. But as a Blue Jackets fan and having seen almost every game he’s played in, either in person or on tv, his mental mistakes on defense – and, at times, over enthusiasm in being offensive and putting him out of position – have lead to too many goals against. It is reasonable to ask if his offensive prowess has fully compensated for his defensive failings. In shielded minutes, he’s probably serviceable for a couple more years. But his offensive numbers are sliding, he’s over 30, so further decline is a given. All of which means I question the sanity of Rutherford offering him 5 years.

      • You’re right George that is a long time to have a McDonaugh around but the Tampa defense is looking pretty good these days. Sergachev is just going to get better and better and Hedman is top 5 in the world. RM will be playing on the second pairing so he won’t be getting 20 mins a game. That should help a little with his longevity.

        And MG I am not an f’ing yinzer, I’m Canadian. And I rarely have complained about roster moves but this one is monumentaly bad. 57 dmen have played 10000 mins since 07-08, JJ ranks 49 in 5v5 scoring. For an offensive dman that is pretty pathetic. In all advanced metrics he ranks 57th out of 57, worse than Girardi and Orpik. Just as you have every right to your blind faith that this will work out I have my right to be terrified that this joker is going to be in the lineup night in and night out for 5 GD years.

      • I was wondering what was fundamentally wrong with you. Hey. If you move to the burgh we will cleanse you of that and welcome you home.

  5. Assuming he gets top dollar (likely since he was rumored to be going to Winnipeg yesterday) to go to Vegas, no player in NHL history will have been more overpaid when their career ends.

    $6.6 M AAV with the Avs.
    $7 M AAV with the Blues/Jets.

    All for a soft second line center with a muffin shot.

    He should build a statue of his agent in his front yard.

    • he had good end of contract seasons. He could be on the rushmore of capitalizing on contract years performances… him, kovalov, kane…

      btw… still dont think hags will get equal to or more than his 3.66 mil salary on the open market in silly season… you see that list up there?

      • Grabner scored 27 goals and didn’t even get that. Why would Hagelin?

      • Why would russel get three? And grabner shot him self in the door last year with jersey

      • Muscle is getting paid this summer.

        See Reaves, Ryan.

      • Another good example of silly season.

  6. Congratulations to Flyers GM for signing one half of the fingernail twins for 7 million a year. Imagine all the organic, grade A eggs JVR will be able to buy to put in his pockets to help him avoid physical contact.

    He was limited in minutes on the third line in Toronto for a reason.

    • Glad the Sabres didn’t sign JVR

  7. JVR a million too much . He wanted to go there anyway. Set the bar now.
    Colorado has made a number of good moves adding Cole and Grubauer prior to that.

    • Ya I like what Colorado is doing, they still aren’t contenders but……

  8. With Bozak and JVR gone it looks to me like Tavares plans on going with Toronto..

    • Welcome home John…done deal.

  9. Islanders are a done deal . As in done like diner (or is dinner ). Leafs or Sharks . I wonder if a Canadian Tire endorsement deal is attached ?

  10. Now official JT Leaf

    • Does he play defense?

      • @Bigbadbuttheadbruin…ahahahahah. Plekanec is an exciting signing

      • So they should have not taken him is the argument you’re going to make? I like that it’s the same money New York offered him but for one less year, obviously he just wanted to come home which as we all know no player ever wants to do… at least in Toronto. Of course all the toronto haters know that Matthews wants to go to Arizona, the argument only works about players coming to Toronto apparently.

      • So they’re down in goals for losing bozak,jvr but gaining for Tavares yet still have a terrible D! Now every team knows the leafs will be in cap trouble after the next season, so trying to trade for defense man will have to be an overpayment

      • I think JT would disagree with you. So your argument is that they would have more options if they didn’t sign the best player to hit free agency in the salary cap era? If they find it necessary they now have the flexibility to trade pieces they couldn’t have without the signing. I understand you hate Toronto but your argument is nonsensical. You should pass on an elite level player that almost never is available in free agency, you can get him for just cash but don’t do it, a Boston fan thinks it’s the wrong move for Toronto. Also you seem to be saying they shouldn’t have signed him because it means they lost out on Tyler Bozak? Anyone can disagree with him move a team makes but when it is so obviously just because you hate the team your opinion just doesn’t seem credible.

      • You obviously love the leafs so your argument doesn’t seem credible! They might have improved but not as much as leaf fans will go on about

      • Wow, you’re really turned that one around on me, put me in my place. Obviously I’m biased by saying that when you get a chance to sign an elite free agent you should do it. What was I thinking? Would it have been OK for Boston to sign him? Or San Jose? Or anybody? Also can you tell me if they should have saved that money for an improved the fence which free agent defenceman where they signing that would make a huge impact?

      • Their defense is awful, you can’t say anything different if it wasn’t for Anderson the leafs wouldn’t have made the playoffs! They need defense you can’t sit there and tell me losing jvr,bozak and adding Tavares improves the leafs that much when there is such a glaring need on the back end

      • I have never said or defence was good, all I said was an elite centre was available as a free agent and they signed him, they should have. I have never said they’re going to win a championship now because of it or anything, you take the player when they’re available. I’m not sure what the problem is?

      • And I never once said they shouldn’t have signed him? What’s your point?

    • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Well, the Leafs time as playoff contenders is limited unless the cap radically shoots up in the next two years.

      • Good luck to Tavares playing for the Islanders North, no defence, no goalie.


  11. Wtf is wrong with Holland? He goes ackwards every chance he gets! Why does he still have a job? Oh yeah…..he won some hardware ten yrs ago! Sad sad times in the D!!

  12. I got called a “Leafs fanboy” for over a year now, but Tavares to TOR always made the most sense.

    The only question is where Nylander is going and for what?

    • So, if Matthews ultimately gets McDavid money that’ll make 2 C accounting for $22 mil off the cap.

      • Wait until they send a package headlined by Nylander to Ottawa for Erik Karlsson.

      • Matthews wouldn’t get me David money even without being handcuffed to Tavares as their captain and number 1 C.

        I’m not doubting Matthews but he’s no McDavid. Comparable for him, espically as a number 2 Center are dry at 8.5 and eichel at 10.

        Best thing for the leafs to do is shadow him behind Tavares on a line with hymen and hope his numbers plummet so they can resign him at a more affordable rate.

      • Sure makes McDavid’s contract look better doesn’t it.
        Who would you rather have for the next 7 years? JT at 11 or McDavid at 12.5?

  13. JT to Leaf’s nation….. still don’t have the defence to win cup..

    LET’S GO PEN’S!!!!!

    • I wouldn’t expect a pens fan of all people talking about how good a d core needs to be to win a cup. Pens won a cup a couple years ago with a bunch of question marks on the back end didn’t they??

      • And those bunch of question marks were still better than the leafs current D core

      • Two choices…

        1) The Pens won back to back Cups with a scrub defense.

        2) The people who keep saying that even after the Pens won back to back Cups don’t know what they are talking about.

  14. Love the JT signing! Go Leafs Go!

    • Will you still love it in two years when, thanks to the salary cap, they have to let some of their good young players go elsewhere?

      • Yes, they should’ve passed on him because of the cap in two years. The should get rid of Matthews because of the cap in five years and they should trade away all of their draft picks because of the cap in eight years. It’s a good strategy.

      • I mean 50+ yrs of futility isn’t saying much for the leafs logic

      • Well, tb, I guess it’s time we stop explaining what we mean about cap distortion when some only understand from their level of perception. Good luck down the road

  15. Ok, 1 for 1 today. So how about Karlsson to Sharks and call it a day!

  16. We will see what happens in the next years. It is possible they lose some good (young) players. But I think with Tavares, Matthews and Kadri they’re set at center for years. Look at the last cup winning teams. All have/had at least a good/great one-two punch at center.
    Sure they have to upgrade on D, but if you have the chance to get another franchise player just for money…..

    • sorry… was the answer for Paul Bowles

  17. Chi got Kunitz for $1M/1Yr …. why didn’t Pens offer that

    • Rieder would be a good addition for the Pens

      • Juss76

        Reider already signed $2N …Ed

      • Reunited with his Team Germany linemate Leon 🙂

    • Pens got Matt Cullen 1 yr at $650K

      I like Matt Cullen… but they could have had Brandon Pirri for that and would have been way more productive than MC

    • who cares… Chris was too slow 2 years ago for us.

      LET’S GO PEN’S

  18. Many folks are down on Gardiner and his defence play. Anyone think he can skate and shoot good enough to become a winger with explicit instructions not to go back into TO’s end ???

    • It’s amazing the minutes Gardiner played when he was so terrible. Coach must see something in him. BTW, don’t sleep on the Leafs’ defence prospects with the Marlies. We’ll see how it all shakes out, and it’s tough saying goodbye to JVR and Tyler Bozak and Uncle Leo, but I think the Leafs have a better team today.

  19. Great free agent signing for toronto and Dubas
    – replaces JVR & bozak goals, assists, faceoffs, points for same salary
    – great 3, 30 goal scoring centres to rollout
    – prevents dip in standings this year
    – cap space: $13M 2018 / $30M cap 2019 / $46M 2020
    To sign nylander /matthews / marner approx $27M
    To resign Gardiner (if needed) approx $7M
    Leaves $12M for another Dman and expenses, long term.
    Leafs are contending for 5+year on a great rebuild, great season, some playoff exposure, solid farm team and enough prospects to fill holes and trade.
    Leaf could trade 1st/dermott/zaitsev/kapanen and a skew of other prospects for a dman also.

  20. Bruins signing of Moore says …Krug will be traded for a scoring winger….

    • The bruins will sign Neal before making a trade

      • Well at least Boston can sign guys! Who wants to go to Montreal? Oh ya, no one.

    • Well they now have 8 NHL D men so something has to give was my original thought too.
      Makes me wonder about Carlo’s injury. Fractured ankles with plates and screws are not good for hockey players.
      I think the original timeline was 6-9 months? So back around Christmas, hopefully and his leg will be a twig.
      Maybe it’s precautionary, or just really bad.

  21. I almost feel bad for Islander fans today…. almost! How do you let him walk for nothing? Mike Milbury must be smiling ear to ear today.

  22. Sweeney and Neely are a joke! Signed nothing but 4th liners and a washed up Halak!

    • John, Halak started 49 games behind the worst defensive team in the NHL. Has been a starter most of his career and they signed him as their backup.
      Who has a better backup than Halak? good luck naming 3.
      Moore played over 20 minutes a night for a playoff team. Former 1st round pick. Offered him term in return for a reasonable cap hit with very few good UFA D men on the market.
      Explain how Sweeney sucks again?
      And they need 4th liners because other teams overpaid their’s from last year.

  23. I wonder how deeply the Islander fans are enraged that they let Tavares walk for zero return. Personally, if I didnt have him resigned by the trade deadline I would have traded him then.

    Garth Snows worst move?

  24. I’m not even sure why the Isles should continue to exist in NY. They can’t lure in big named free agents, they can’t sign their own home grown talent. They have 1 Franchise caliber player in 25 years and they let him walk for nothing.It’s 2 baby steps forward and 1 giants leap backwards. I watched this play out for 25 years. It won’t change unless the team moves to a new city.

    • Lessons to learn. Just because the backup goalie (Snow) says to the owner (Wang),”say,I would like to be a GM one day” doesn’t mean he should get his wish….Islanders failed to surround Tavares with enough talent and depth..traded away a lot of picks that could have turned into good players, did not seem like they had a longterm plan. They are not the first team to do this (Leafs with Sundin, etc.) and they won’t be the last…Have faith, Lou will right the ship (BTW I am a Leafs fan)

  25. Leafs fans ecstatic and the haters hate…but objectively, JVR and Bozak hurt the team on the back end, no grit,no check. JT has a complete game and the intangibles are excellent! While the Leafs D is not great, it might be ok with Calle Rosen and Justin Holl in place of Polak and Carrick. The bigger issue is that Leafs do not have wingers who play well in their own zone and that won’t get better via JT. But this team will certainly score goals! And how can you argue with hometown boy, one of the league’s top ten (at least) and still only 27-why would not not sign him just due to fear of the future?

  26. the Sharks will need to make another addition after losing out on JT. J Skinner is a good choice if they don’t drastically overpay.

    they still need another left winger. i wouldn’t mind Duclair, hartnell or Maroon. All of them can play sold 3rd line minutes and each would add something in terms of size or speed.