Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 27, 2021

by | Jul 27, 2021 | News, NHL, Rumors | 9 comments

With the NHL free-agent market opening at noon ET on July 28, there’s a flurry of last-minute contract signings taking place. Some involved unrestricted free agents while others are restricted free agents. Here’s the rundown of today’s notable signings.

Washington Capitals signed left winger Alex Ovechkin to a five-year, $47.5 million contract.

Washington Capitals re-sign left winger Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. Everyone knew Ovechkin was staying in Washington. The cap hit ($9.5 million) wasn’t a shocker as it’s pretty much what it was on his previous contract. What raised my eyebrows was the term. I’d expected three or four years. Five is a bit of a stretch for a player turning 36 in September. Ovechkin has remained among the league’s superstars well into his 30s, but the final year or two of that deal could prove costly to the Capitals cap payroll as his performance inevitably declines. Such is the price of keeping a franchise player and the greatest goal scorer of his generation.

St. Louis Blues sign right winger Pavel Buchnevich to a four-year, $23.2 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues recently acquire Buchnevich from the New York Rangers. This contract is a reasonable deal for a 26-year-old winger who steadily improved as an all-around forward over the past three seasons with the New York Rangers. Now earning $5.8 million per season, Buchnevich will either skate on the Blues’ second-line or take over the first-line role if/when Vladimir Tarasenko gets traded this summer.

Vancouver Canucks sign forward Conor Garland to a five-year. $24.75 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After two solid seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, Garland was acquired by the Canucks last week in the multi-player deal that also landed them Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The 25-year-old winger earned a substantial pay raise, going from $775K per season on his previous deal to $4.95 million annually. His impressive play with Team USA at this year’s World Championships suggests he could thrive alongside talented linemates. He’ll get that opportunity with the Canucks alongside Elias Pettersson or Bo Horvat.


  1. Musings heard here In Ottawa that, after Nate Schmidt rejected a trade from Vancouver to Winnipeg, that the Senators may get into the act with C Chris Tierney going the other way. Someone just blowing smoke out their butt?

  2. Garland Cap hit to me a tad high

    Great potential and if he continues on his trajectory… no issue…. He could plateau or falter…then the contract would be high

    Ovi… term a tad longer than I expected; per…. Fine

    The shock to me was SBs after Yr 1

    Per Capfriendly… any contract signed to start when a player has already turned 35; is mukti/year and is either back diving OR has SBs after yr 1— reverts to old 35+ contract rules….. in the unlikely case that Ovi retires early… Caps stay with the $9.5 M Cap hit until the end of 5 years

    He likely stays…. But what if his play starts rapidly declining in 3rd and 4th yr and he realizes that he has zero chance of catching Gretzky… and decides to play that 5th year (as his final pro year) back home?

    • Agreed, this is a major element of risk in this deal for the Caps, I’m ok with that.
      Ovi just seems like he’s going to play for another 7-8 years though. I see a bunch of one year contracts for him after this one expires

    • Ovi will still be slinging from the faceoff dot for the next 5 yrs no problem. They wont use his as much in ice tiem I think but def on the PP and he won’t lose a step in that shot. Heck Al McCinnis still to this day has a 100mph slapper with a wood stick.

  3. George Reilly at 3 million for 3 years what you think I like his offense but he scares me in own zone. You won’t hurt my feelings

  4. Sweeney as per usual is quickly blowing it again pretty soon all the good D will be off the board & we’ll be stuck with FORBORT!?!?

    • Maybe Jacobs could swing a Sweeney for Holland trade!

  5. Defence market tight. Hamilton and Savard will make out like Bandits. There will even be room for DeAngelo.

  6. Looking at the deals for Garland and Buchnevich they seem on the high side of reasonable to me. Do Vrana or Bertuzzi on the Wings get similar deals? They both seem to be comparable but it could just be the homer in me.