Notable NHL Trades and Free Agent Signings – July 7, 2022

by | Jul 7, 2022 | News, NHL, Rumors | 34 comments

Check out my take on the notable trades and free-agent signings leading up to and including the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. This list will be updated as new trades and signings occur.

Edmonton Oilers trade winger Zack Kassian, the 29th overall pick in this year’s draft, a second-round pick in 2025 and a third-round pick in 2024 to the Arizona Coyotes for the 32nd overall pick in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers need to shed salary to acquire a starting goaltender and have enough space to re-sign or replace winger Evander Kane. It cost them two draft picks and dropped them down three places in the remainder of the first round but it sheds Kassian’s $3.2 million annual salary-cap hit through 2023-24.

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded goaltender Petr Mrazek and their first-round pick (25th overall) in this year’s draft to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the 38th overall pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Such is the price necessary for the Leafs to ship out Mrazek and free up his $3.8 million annual average value through 2023-24. They’ll put those savings toward finding a suitable replacement for starting goalie Jack Campbell if they fail to re-sign him before the free-agent market opens next week.

As for the Blackhawks, GM Kyle Davidson is once again making moves to garner more first-round picks for his rebuilding club. He started the day without a pick in this round. He finished the night with three. He also takes on a goaltender in Mrazek but will need to find another if he doesn’t re-sign Kevin Lankinen or Colin Delia.

Montreal Canadiens trade defenseman Alexander Romanov and a fourth-round pick in 2022 to the New York Islanders in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

The Canadiens flip that pick and a third-rounder in this year’s draft to the Chicago Blackhawks for center Kirby Dach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to reports, the Canadiens wanted more size up front. After selecting big Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky with the first-overall pick, they acquired the 6’4”, 197-pound Dach, who was chosen third overall in 2019 by the Blackhawks.

To get Dach, however, the Canadiens needed another first-round pick, which is why they sent Romanov to the Islanders. This move leaves a gap on their blueline that they’ll have to fill at some point in the offseason. It could come from within by promoting one of their promising young defenseman like Kaiden Guhle or Justin Barron or from another trade or a free-agent signing if they’re looking for experience.

The Canadiens have added more size to their forward lines but they need to address that gap left by Romanov’s absence. The 22-year-old Russian moves the puck well and doesn’t shy away from making big hits. However, he’s had difficulties adjusting to the NHL game. The Isles gave up quite a bit to get him but it could be worth it if he plays up to his potential with his new club.

Dach showed flashes of promise during his three seasons in Chicago but was plagued by injuries and inconsistency. Still, he had time on his side to find his game. Perhaps a change of scenery will benefit him.

For the Blackhawks, it’s their second significant trade today, having shipped Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators this afternoon. These moves gave the rebuilding club two picks within the top 15 in this year’s draft, which they used to select defenseman Kevin Korchinski (sixth overall) and center Frank Nazar (13th overall). However, it came at the cost of shipping out their best goal scorer in DeBrincat and a promising center in Dach from their lineup.

Bold moves by the Canadiens and Blackhawks today. Time will tell if they pan out.

Minnesota Wild signed goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $3.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s quite a pay cut for the 37-year-old Fleury from the $7 million annual average value of his previous contract. At this stage of his career, however, that should be expected. Earlier reports had the Wild trying to sign him to a one-year deal so he managed to squeeze an extra year out of the. With Cam Talbot under contract for $3.6 million next season, the Wild return with their tandem from the 2022 postseason.

The Chicago Blackhawks trade winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the seventh and 39th overall picks in the 2022 NHL draft plus the Senators’ third-round pick in 2024.

Chicago Blackhawks trade winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators wanted a top-six winger to skate alongside Tim Stuetzle on the second line. DeBrincat should provide a big boost to their offense, coming off his second 41-goal season within the past five years.

The question now is whether the Senators can sign the 24-year-old DeBrincat to a contract extension. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer with a $6.4 million cap hit but will earn $9 million in actual salary. That’s also how much it’ll cost the Senators to qualify his rights because he signed his current contract in 2019 before the changes to the rate for qualifying offers. He’ll also be a year away from UFA eligibility next summer.

The Blackhawks wanted to get a top-10 pick after former general manager Stan Bowman traded away their pick last summer to Columbus in the Seth Jones trades. Some observers expected they’d get a bigger return than a first and a second in this year’s draft and a third in two years’ time. Nevertheless, if current GM Kyle Davidson can secure at least one future star out of those picks it could prove worthwhile for the rebuilding Hawks over the long term.

Pittsburgh Penguins sign Kris Letang to a six-year, $36.6-million contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, this isn’t the five-year deal between $8 million and $9 million annually that some sources had speculated. On the other, the Pens are paying an average of $6.1 million per season for a blueliner approaching his late-30s.

It’s a gamble by general manager Ron Hextall. Letang is coming off a career-best 68-point performance and should have around three more good seasons left. It’s those final three years that could make this contract burdensome down the road.

Hextall’s focus will shift toward Evgeni Malkin, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. Recent speculation had the two sides discussing a three-year contract but they’re apparently far apart on the dollars.

New York Rangers trade goaltender Alexandar Georgiev to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a third and a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft plus a third-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This means Darcy Kuemper will be departing the Avalanche as a free agent on July 13. Georgiev struggled at times during his tenure with the Rangers. However, he did play well filling in for starter Igor Shesterkin this season when he missed 11 games with a lower-body injury and a bout with COVID-19. Maybe he’ll have better luck in Colorado establishing himself as a starter than he did in New York.



  1. Patrick Kane anyone?

    • Destroyed franchise. One mistake trade after another.. we already had the 6th pick…
      Bad decisions to correct bad descisions.. you cannot give away players without replacing them. Denim at should be a top 3 pick if not a roster player.

    • Perfect example of how inept Chicago is… Wright drops to 3 and now they have already given up thier value chip in Debrincat… could’ve traded Debeincat for the 3 pick instead they get a crapshoot at 7.. goodby Blackhawks

  2. Kane and Towes must be calling their agents today and figuring where they an go – now or a the trade deadline. Chicago looks to be prepping now for their best chance at Bedard. now ‘hawks fans wait for the next 3-5 years in the basement

    Letang at 6 years? SMH

    • Hi CDM

      I’m an old fart …. Didn’t know what SMH meant…. M son’s didn’t know ; but my daughter said it’s Shake My Head

      To me… Shake My Hand…. Great deal… Instead of $8 M or more it’s only just a hair over $6 M

      Pens are dealing with the here and now they don’t care what happens in 4 to 6 years when they’re in a rebuild ……that money and Cap means absolutely nothing then

      Agree re Toews & Kane

      I still say beauty opportunity for Hawks and Yotes…. Hawks pay bith their SB then retain 50%; on to Yotes; who retain 25% (50% of 50%)

      Yotes get a combined $5.25 M cap hit for a combined cash outlay of just over $1.2 M (after escrow clawback)

      That benefit to Yotes has to be worth 2 of their 4 second rounders

      End team getting Kane as 1RW for $2.6 M Cap and > $700 K Cash has to easily give up a 1st

      Toews as a 3C for $2.6 M Cap and < $700 K cash…. A 3rd

      Toews and Kane get to pick their destinations

      Hawks get a 1st; two seconds; 3rd…. AND save just shy of $2.8 M cash AND save $10.5 M in Cap; AND increase odds of 1OA lottery ball next year!!!

      Make it happen

    • That’s a bold statement!

  3. That is a low return for the Cat! WOW! WHat are they gonna get for Kane now!? and Seth??? LOL The Hak are open for severe discounts!

    • Ya Johnny, wow is the right word.
      I suppose with so many teams up against the cap, or not in a position to contend so don’t want to spend, market wasn’t there.

      If they go full scorched earth, this is a 7-8 year rebuild.

    • Hi JZ

      Very low return; IF Sens can re-sign him

      I guess the lower return is reflective of the risk associated with Sens potentially not being able to re-sign him after the 23/24 season

      They certainly have first crack at it and his rights; but he may just take the 1 year QO and walk then

  4. Chicago is signaling a major re-build for sure – maybe with an eye on a good chance at the # 1 next year – so don’t expect to see Kane and Toews around much longer.

    As for that deal with Ottawa – I can only hope he’s a durable 5′ 7″ 165-pounder IF they indeed sign him to a long-term deal.

    One thing for sure , with their first two lines composed of Tkachuk – Norris – Batherson and Formenton – Stutzle – DeBrincat supported by a 3rd line of Joseph – Pinto and Connor Brown and a 4th comprised of possible Ridley Greig – Gambrell – Watson, scoring goals and shutting down opposition Fs won’t be a problem.

    That will possibly come in goal if Murray doesn’t bounce back, and at RD – although now I hear Dorion is nosing around Mackenzie Weegar of the Panthers. Stay tuned.

    • DeBrincat seems like a solid, bow legged little bugger on skates. I think he will be OK.
      Weeger is a guy FLA likely doesn’t want to trade, but somebody needs to go.

      If Sanderson starts to play as advertised in a couple years, plus the expected improvement of the other young guys, and you start to have the makings of a pretty good, well rounded team.

      Likely still a year away from playoffs due to youth, but the year after they should start making it annually. Need that huge young tender to keep improving too.

      Might have the making of something good in OTT by the time that new rink opens George!

      • That new rink is like 10 years away.

      • The approval takes that long Jeff? Wow.
        The construction portion in EDM took less than 3 years.

      • Ray, I think you’re badly underestimating Jake Sanderson … he’s as ready to play – and at as high a level – as is Powell in Buffalo. It won’t take 2 years – and if they can somehow add a Weegar to the mix I think they’ll surprise a lot of people this coming season. The big ? is, of course, Matt Murray. He HAS to have a relatively healthy rebound year and, if so, and backed by Forsberg, there are going to be a lot of surprised teams in their division.

      • Might be George, OTT folks would know more than I would.
        Simply painting him with the D take a while brush I guess, they just seem to make more mistakes for a couple years until they get the NHL reps. There are exceptions of course and the new guys do seem to take less time.

    • I think that’s also a signal to Giroux that there won’t be any talks about coming to Ottawa. UNLESS this whole DeBrincat deal is just the precursor to another trade this evening. The plot thickens! LOL.

    • I still think Puljujarvi will come our way for some reason. Seems to be the Ottawa thing to do. Probably means brown goes to Edmonton.

      Debrincat will make 9 million in actual dollars and that is his qualifying offer. 6.5 million cap hit right now. So what do you think will get an extension done. 10 million for 8 years?

      • Go $8.5 x 6-8 before the season starts.

    • Sens trying to trade Murray. They had a deal done with Buffalo, but Murray nixed the deal since it was a team on his no trade list.

    • Congrats George On Debrincat, Alex is so short he can milk a cow standing up.

      • LOL. Good analogy.

      • A RWM post that didn’t call out Neely and Sweeney? I never thought I’d see the day. But I kept on reading waiting for the moment and here it is. Brilliant!

    • George

      Great deal by Sens

  5. Hawks fan here, I hate to see Debrincat go. I do see what is happening though. The Fiala trade I think lowered the return on this one, just my opinion. I also see that players brought in or drafted by Bowman(now known as he who shall not be named in Chicago) are out. They are letting Strome walk, Dach is being shopped and I bet that S. Jones would be traded if someone was interested. The cupboards are bear as they say and these picks will restock them and I hope they develop into the next wave of success. It is scorched earth rebuild and draft picks for the next few years. I have seen it multiple times. Enjoy Debrincat George O. he will impress you with his most recent development of a 2-way ability.

  6. I just don’t understand why the Hawks traded Cat for that sort of return.
    He is young enough to build around, even if they sign him to an 8 year deal next season at 9M, with the cap rising significantly over that time his contract would be very feasible.
    Minimum an A-level prospect should have been part of this deal along with the 7th OA. The three draft picks are just a punt.

    I’m truly baffled

    • Perhaps chicago knows debrincat is not interesting ina. Rebuild

  7. Chicago has a new puck stopper (sometimes).
    Mrazek + #25 OA for #38 OA. Really good for Trono, Wow, not much to give to get rid of that albatross!

    • Well Chicago needs a tank commander and who better than a goalie who’s unpredictable. With the next two drafts supposedly having higher end talent, it makes sense as painful as it is right now for the Hawks… but kudos to the Hawks management for being so bold and doing this scorched earth rebuild.

      As for the Leafs…I hope they clear out more cap space and acquire a couple of players that are going to be available. As for the pick swap there’s not much a difference where anything after the top 20 look to be long term projects.

      So far the Habs and Ottawa did well on draft day. They certainly did the most with what they had. George, would you of preferred the Ottawa/buffalo trade or the one they eventually did with the hawks?

      • Campbell, Husso or Kuemper for TML???
        I think Campbell at $4.75M x 4

      • I’d pass on all three but wouldn’t be surprised if they did go with any of the three you said.

        Dubas gives out clues on what they are thinking and preferences and usually hints at their alternate plans. I think his first plan involves a trade which means a goalie with term and moving out a body or two.

        I don’t think he’ll be able to land UFAs because he believes they would want to play for them considering the team vs other options… other options to a UFA is $$$ so we’ll see. I hope they do draft for Luca with their pick if not him, beck.

  8. Jz. I think the Campbell ship has left Toronto They going for someone else

  9. I noticed that the Bruins did nothing yesterday but watch Chicago trade two of its best players to other teams. However this certainly makes toews and Debrinket a cinch to want to leave Chicago also. I know that the Bruins have little cap space but could they put McAvoy and Marchand on long term disability? I know that they will have to get under the cap when these players come back but it gives them about two months to make decisions on how to do this .

  10. Mistake . I of course mention to say Toews an Kane

  11. good job getting pet out of toronto i think its campbell or kuemper in net next year if not kilgren and woll back up spot