List of Notable NHL UFA Signings – October 9, 2020
8:30 pm ET: St. Louis Blues sign Torey Krug to a seven-year, $45.5 million contract.
7 pm ET: Toronto Maple Leafs sign T.J. Brodie to a four-year contract ($5 million AAV).
4 pm to 5 pm ET: Calgary Flames sign Jacob Markstrom to a six-year, $36-million contract.
3 pm to 4 pm ET: Anaheim Ducks sign Kevin Shattenkirk to a three-year contract ($3.9 million AAV)
Washington Capitals sign defenseman Justin Schultz to a two-year, $8 million contract.
2 pm to 3 pm ET: Florida Panthers sign Alexander Wennberg to a one-year $2.25 million contract.
New York Rangers sign Jack Johnson to a one-year, $1-million contract.
Nashville Predators sign Mark Borowiecki to a two-year, $4-million contract.
In other contract news, the Ottawa Senators sign Matt Murray to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $6.25 million. The Senators acquired Murray, a restricted free agent, on Wednesday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
1 pm to 2 pm ET: Vancouver Canucks sign Braden Holtby to a two-year deal ($4.3 million AAV)
Minnesota Wild sign goaltender Cam Talbot to a three-year, $11-million contract.
Dallas Stars sign Anton Khudobin to a three-year contract ($3.5 million AAV)
Edmonton Oilers sign center Kyle Turris to a two-year contract ($1.65 million AAV)
12 pm to 1 pm ET: Washington Capitals sign goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
Toronto Maple Leafs sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $1.5-million contract with a full no-movement clause.
Detroit Red Wings sign winger Bobby Ryan to a one-year, $1-million contract.
Winger Pat Maroon (two years, $900K AAV) and defenseman Luke Schenn (one year, $800K) are returning with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Florida Panthers sign defenseman Radko Gudas to a three-year contract ($2.5 million AAV).
In other news, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed winger Tyler Johnson on waivers. He has four years remaining on his contract with a $5 million annual cap hit and a full no-trade clause.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson will remain with the Arizona Coyotes. His deadline to be traded to either Boston or Vancouver came and went without a deal.
A flooded goalie market plus the latest on Taylor Hall, Tyson Barrie and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
FLOODED MARKET FOR NHL GOALIES
Lots of interest in Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom as free agency nears (NHL Images).
NHL.COM: Dan Rosen reports a number of goaltenders could be on the move when the 2020 NHL free-agent market opens on Friday at noon ET. Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom, former New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Chicago’s Corey Crawford, the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, Calgary’s Cam Talbot and Edmonton’s Mike Smith are among the notables. In addition, the Vegas Golden Knights are attempting to trade Marc-Andre Fleury after re-signing Robin Lehner last weekend.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Canucks are still trying to re-sign Markstrom. The Flames and Oilers could have interest if he hits the open market. LeBrun didn’t rule out the Flames circling back to Talbot.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Markstrom’s been at the top of Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland’s wish list for some time. It could cost six years at $6 million annually to get it done. Matheson believes Holland will have to find a trade partner for Mikko Koskinen and his $4.5 million annually over the next two years.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson has Markstrom at the top of his list of potential Flames’ free-agent targets.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks cites sources claiming Lundqvist will sign with the Washington Capitals on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights’ efforts to move Fleury are likely affected by the glut of goalies in the upcoming free-agent market. They could be forced to wait until the bigger names (Markstrom, Holtby, Lundqvist, Crawford) are off the market before finding any potential suitors. They’re reportedly attempting a three-way trade in which a third team picks up a chunk of Fleury’s cap hit, but they were only offering a second-round pick as a sweetener before the draft.
I can’t see the Oilers signing Markstrom unless they can move Koskinen. While his cap hit might be more affordable to clubs with cap space seeking goalie depth, teams will likely want something worthwhile packaged with him. The Flames, on the other hand, could get it done, though the cost to their cap space could make it difficult to re-sign or replace UFA blueliners like TJ Brodie and Travis Hamonic.
It’s believed Lundqvist has a one-year agreement with the Capitals. The reason it hasn’t been announced yet is he cannot officially sign with another NHL club until the UFA market opens tomorrow. We’ll find out tomorrow if he’s heading to Washington for next season.
There’s been little word about possible suitors for Holtby. The decline in his performance over the last two years likely has something to do with that. It doesn’t mean Holtby won’t be signed but it is interesting to note that a former Vezina Trophy winner with a Stanley Cup championship on his resume hasn’t garnered much chatter in the rumor mill.
LATEST ON HALL, BARRIE, SHATTENKIRK AND SAAD
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun expects the Nashville Predators to be among the clubs to pursue Taylor Hall via free agency tomorrow. The 28-year-old winger is heading to market after he and the Coyotes failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. LeBrun also believes the Columbus Blue Jackets could be interested.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson has Hall among his list of potential Flames free-agent targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall is reportedly willing to sign a one- or two-year deal and is expected to take his time evaluating offers before reaching a decision. Cap Friendly indicates the Predators now have $17.6 million in cap space after trading Nick Bonino yesterday to Minnesota and buying out Kyle Turris and Steven Santini.
They could face competition from a Cup contender with lots of cap space like the Colorado Avalanche, who could be willing to ink Hall to a one-year deal. If the Flames sign Markstrom, they won’t have enough cap room to chase Hall.
LeBrun reports the Flames, Oilers and Anaheim Ducks could have interest in Toronto defenseman Tyson Barrie. The Ducks could also pursue Kevin Shattenkirk but he’d like to remain with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Gilbertson has Barrie at No. 4 on his list of potential Flames free-agent options.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson thinks Barrie would be atop the Oilers’ list of free-agent defensemen because he could run their powerplay if Oscar Klefbom is out for the season with a shoulder injury. However, he believes they’d only offer him a one-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Barrie’s struggles last season with the Maple Leafs, some feel he can regain his form as a puck-moving defenseman away from the harsh Toronto spotlight. We’ll find out soon enough how much interest he’ll draw as a free agent.
The Lightning would probably love to re-sign Shattenkirk. However, they’ve got limited cap space and must re-sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev.
LeBrun reports several clubs have contacted the Chicago Blackhawks about winger Brandon Saad. The Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche are believed among those expressing an interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saad might be available if the Blackhawks need to free up some cap space to re-sign or replace Corey Crawford. He has a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $6 million but also carries a 10-team trade list.
The Lightning take a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, the Senators intend to buy out Bobby Ryan, the Canadiens re-sign Jeff Petry, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Kevin Shattenkirk scored in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Dallas Stars 5-4 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final to take 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Shattenkirk’s goal came on a power play after Stars captain Jamie Benn was whistled off for tripping Lightning forward Tyler Johnson. Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point and Dallas’ Joe Pavelski each scored twice.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (NHL Images).
Several milestones were reached in this game by four Stars. Pavelski tied Joe Mullen’s NHL record for most playoff goals by an American-born player with 60. He also holds the record for most goals scored in one postseason (12) by a player 36-or-older.
Meanwhile, teammates Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg are only the second pair of defensemen on the same team to each reach 20 points in one postseason. Paul Coffey and Charlie Huddy were the first to do so with the 1985 Edmonton Oilers.
Corey Perry also scored in this game, making him the third player in NHL history to go at least 13 years between Stanley Cup Final goals, joining Mark Recchi (15 years) and Dino Ciccarelli (14).
The Lightning were without captain Steven Stamkos. After scoring a goal during a brief appearance in Game 3, Stamkos was unfit to play in Game 4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the most entertaining game of this series. The Stars took 2-0 and 3-2 leads only to see the Lightning battled back to tie the game. The Bolts took their first lead when Alex Killorn made it 4-3 in the third period but Pavelski tied it with his second of the game.
Benn’s penalty sparked criticism from the Stars but it was an obvious infraction the officials couldn’t ignore. Besides, the Stars had a great opportunity earlier in the extra frame with the man advantage after Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was called for holding Tyler Seguin but they failed to capitalize.
Both clubs have little time to dwell on this one. Game 5 goes tonight at 8 pm ET with the Lightning just one win away from becoming Stanley Cup champions and the Stars desperate to keep their Cup hopes alive.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday placed winger Bobby Ryan on waivers with the intention of buying out the final two years of his contract. Cap Friendly indicates the Senators will be tagged with a $3.58 million salary-cap hit for the next two seasons, followed by about $1.83 million annually for the last two seasons. Ryan won the Masterton Trophy this season for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a bit of a surprise but one the Senators made for business reasons. The 33-year-old Ryan is not the scorer he used to be and his $7.25 million annual average value was more than the rebuilding Sens were willing to keep paying. This move allows Ryan an opportunity to have a fresh start with a playoff contender at a more affordable price.
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are considering a contract buyout of center Alexander Wennberg. The move would save the Jackets over $10 million over the next three years. Wennberg is 26, but because he was 25 in June, as per the CBA the buyout will be at one-third the remaining value, rather than two-thirds.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Portzline reports neither Wennberg or his agent have heard anything about a buyout from the Jackets, while GM Jarmo Kekalainen declined to comment. His annual average value is $4.9 million for the next three seasons.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers won’t be buying out James Neal or any other players this year.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday re-signed defenseman Jeff Petry to a four-year, $25 million contract extension. The annual average value is $6.25 million. His new deal also includes a no-movement clause and a 15-team no-trade list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This deal provides Petry a slight raise over his current $5.5 million AAV, but otherwise isn’t much different from the final three years of his present contract in terms of movement and no-trade clauses. It’s a good move by the Habs to ensure veteran stability on the right side of their blueline. Petry’s been a reliable, sometimes underrated member of the Canadiens core. The move won’t affect their 2020-21 salary-cap payroll.
NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed goaltender Alex Lyon to a one-year, one-way contract worth $700K.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs added Paul MacLean to their coaching staff.
One little nugget from my #mnwild GM Bill Guerin interview this morning: BG says the Wild aren’t buying out Victor Rask, that he’s been treated unfairly & scored big goals for them when he played.
My gut: He’d trade him if he could, … but no buyout (which we’ve suspected).
Golden Knights down the Stars to tie the Western Conference Final, the latest on Mathew Barzal and Kevin Shattenkirk, the dates for the draft and free agency are adjusted, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Dallas Stars 3-0 to even the 2020 Western Conference Final at a game apiece. Robin Lehner turned in a 24-save shutout while Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist. Game 3 is Thursday, Sept. 10 at 8 pm ET.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights took control of the game in the second period with three goals as they outshot the Stars 19-7. If not for Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin it would’ve been a more lopsided result. The Stars made things worse for themselves by taking six penalties, resulting in William Karlsson’s power-play goal that put Vegas up 2-0.
NEW YORK POST: Islanders center Mathew Barzal has matured as a player during his club’s postseason run. He played a crucial role in eliminating the Philadelphia Flyers with two goals and four assists in that seven-game series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal sits third among Islanders scorers with 14 points, but it’s his all-around play that’s garnering attention in this postseason.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has nine points in this postseason, sitting second among Bolts blueliners behind Victor Hedman. Five of those points came in the last two games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shattenkirk downplayed his recent production but he’s been quite effective for the Lightning in these playoffs. All but one of those points came at even strength.
TSN: The 2020 NHL Draft is slated for Oct. 6-7. The free-agent market opens on Oct. 9 at noon ET.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s shaping up to be a busy, interesting October.
SPORTSNET: Calgary’s Dampy Brar is the winner of the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, presented to the individual “who best utilizes hockey as a platform to help people build character and develop important life skills for a more positive family experience.” Brar, who played minor pro in the IHL and West Coach Hockey League, now coaches and mentors youth, and co-founded the APNA Hockey program.
Alzner, 31, spent most of the past three seasons buried in the minors. He has two years left on his contract with an annual average value of $4.625 million, plus he’s owed a $1.5 million signing bonus this off-season.
New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (Photo via NHL Images).
Backes, 36, has battled injuries as his ice time and production declined in recent years. A buyout won’t free up much cap room for the Ducks but would open up a roster spot for a younger player.
The emergence of young goalies Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev put the 38-year-old Lundqvist’s future with the Rangers into doubt. He has a year left at an AAV of $8.5 million. The Rangers could try to trade him but Lundqvist would have to waive his no-movement clause.
Turris was a health scratch at times this season. He’s earning $6 million annually for the next four years.
Eriksson is another veteran forward whose production and ice time have dropped. He has two years left with an AAV of $6 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have just over $63 million invested in 16 players, with Max Domi and Victor Mete as their notable free agents. Depending on the cost of re-signing those two, the Habs could have sufficient space under a projected $81.5 million cap next season to add to their roster without buying out Alzner. They could retain him for one more season to work with their minor leaguers and buy out his final season.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ducks bought out Backes. The years of physical play have caught up with him. Given his concussion history, retirement would be the best option, but that’s not something he seems to be considering.
Most of the speculation about Lundqvist points to a buyout unless he agrees to be traded or they move Georgiev instead.
Turris was frequently mentioned as a buyout candidate, but that’s something Predators GM David Poile could be reluctant to do. He doesn’t like carrying dead cap space but might not have much choice if he can’t move Turris in a cost-cutting trade.
There’s talk of trading Eriksson to a budget team after he’s paid his signing bonus for next season, as his actual salary will be lower than his $6 million AAV. If that’s not possible, the Canucks might have to go the buyout route.
LATEST ON THE BLUES
STLTODAY.COM: In a recent chat with Blues fans, Jim Thomas said he doesn’t see them going shopping in the free-agent market even if Alex Pietrangelo departs after this season. General manager Doug Armstrong would only have enough cap space to re-sign RFA defenseman Vince Dunn.
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Jeremy Rutherford said he doesn’t see former Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk as a possible replacement for Pietrangelo. Currently with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Shattenkirk is 31 and the Blues don’t need him on the right side when they’ve already got Colton Parayko and Justin Faulk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues (as per Cap Friendly) have over $79.4 million invested in 20 players next season. If Pietrangelo walks they’ll still have to shed some salary to re-sign Dunn. They won’t have enough to jump into the UFA market.
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford is among several pending UFAs facing uncertain futures (Photo via NHL Images).
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford isn’t far removed from recent career-threatening injuries and there appears to be some front-office turmoil in the organization. He’s also 35, which will hamper efforts for a multi-year term. Nevertheless, the Blackhawks could re-sign him.
Jimmy Howard’s days with the Detroit Red Wings are likely over. Despite a brutal season, he could become a backup option for another club. Meanwhile, 38-year-old Mike Smith’s NHL career could be winding down after two sub-par seasons, though his size and puck-handling skills could still make him enticing.
O’Brien expects Anton Khudobin and Thomas Greiss will attract considerable interest. Ryan Miller’s future depends on his choices and his wish to remain in California. Brian Elliott must keep his expectations modest to stay in the NHL. Maybe 39-year-old Craig Anderson regains some of his form on a more hopeful team. Aaron Dell’s struggles over the past two seasons could hurt his value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Blackhawks land an established starter via trade or free agency, they’ll probably re-sign Crawford to a 35-plus, bonus-laden deal. Howard’s experience could help him land a backup role. Some Edmonton pundits suggest Smith could return for one more season with the Oilers.
I expect Khudobin and Greiss will be quickly signed if they hit the open market. Elliott could return for another season with the Flyers. It’s probably the end of the road for Miller and Anderson, while Dell could have difficulty finding a new NHL club.
O’Brien wondered if former Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will resume his NHL career and at what cost. Questions about his injured ankle will also be a factor.
Age and declining performance could hurt the stock of blueliners Mike Green and Roman Polak. Andy Greene, however, could have some value as a defense-first rearguard, while puck-moving Kevin Shattenkirk could be worth a low-risk contract. O’Brien wondered if a desperate club might take a chance on Dmitry Kulikov or Zach Bogosian.
UFA blueliners who could retire due to age or health issues include Jonathan Ericsson, Jay Bouwmeester, Deryk Engelland, or perhaps Andrej Sekera.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien will attract lots of attention if he decides to return. He won’t get an expensive long-term deal, but probably a 35-plus contract full of bonus clauses. Shattenkirk revived his career with the Lightning and shouldn’t have much difficulty finding another NHL team. Greene will also probably get a one-year deal.
Green and Polak, on the other hand, are likely done as NHL defensemen. The same goes for Kulikov, Bogosian, Ericsson, Bouwmeester, Engelland, and Sekera.
Aging former star forwards like Corey Perry and Jason Spezza also face uncertain futures following this season. Spezza’s defensively responsible play could earn him another contract.
Ryan Reaves’ gritty style could also ensure he remains in the NHL for another season. Carl Soderberg’s underlying stats were underwhelming this season. O’Brien noted 35-year-old checking-line forward Nate Thompson still remains in demand. Questions about Patrick Maroon’s health could leave him twisting in the wind for another off-season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry’s no longer as effective as he once was. The Stars took a chance on him this season and it didn’t pan out. He might not get another opportunity elsewhere. Spezza, on the other hand, earned praise for his leadership and defensive skills with the Leafs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to bring him back for another season.
Soderberg is 35 and his best seasons are behind him, but he still managed decent offensive stats with the Coyotes. He’ll probably get a one-year deal elsewhere. Reaves’ style of play will help him land another contract with another club. Despite his age, Thompson’s style of play should ensure he gets another NHL deal. I also wouldn’t rule out Maroon landing with another team.