While the biggest free agent signing in this year’s NHL offseason has been John Tavares to the Toronto Maple Leafs, other free agent signings have been overshadowed by Tavares and other possible transactions, in this case being Erik Karlsson, but here’s the list of teams who signed some of the top free agents in this year’s offseason.
The Blackhawks needed a revamp after their horrible season last year. After swapping through multiple goalies and losing some of their key forwards, such as Marion Hossa and Patrick Sharp, to retirement, the Blackhawks needed to fill the holes in their roster and what a better way than in free agency.
The Blackhawks took advantage by signing some interesting players. To fill their goalie void, they added veteran goal tender and former Carolina Hurricane: Cam Ward. Ward, 34, has spent all 13 of his NHL seasons in Carolina and has appeared in over 650 games.
Chicago also signed veteran forward Chris Kunitz to a one-year deal. The four-time Stanley Cup Champion is going to be mainly used for his experience to help guide the young squad Chicago has to develop.
Despite the big moves, Chicago still needs to focus on their rebuild.
The Flames had themselves yet another busy offseason. They signed some big names such as James Neal and forward Derek Ryan. Not a huge assortment, but Neal is the important one here. The former Golden Knight/Predator is an offensive machine as he’s put up 263 goals and a total of 495 points overall in the span of 11 years. Not only is he a scorer, but he’s also a veteran leader, which Calgary so desperately needs. He is locked up in a five-year deal worth 28.75 million dollars (5.75 AAV).
The Flyers sort of just snuck into this list. They didn’t have a huge free agency, but when they did get involved, they really did make a statement. Philadelphia signed former Maple Leafs and surprisingly former Philadelphia Flyer, James van Riemsdyk a five-year, 35 million dollar contract (seven million AAV). van Riemsdyk was traded to Toronto in 2012 for defenseman Luke Schenn. van Riemsdyk can easily put up over 30 goals which is why this was such a huge signing. This will definitely boost Philly’s offense and could help them make a big push in the playoffs.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues had the best offseason so far, in terms of free agency. The Blues were able to sign one of their former players, who was lost in the expansion draft to the Vegas Golden Knights, David Perron to a four-year deal worth 16 million dollars (four million AAV). Perron puts up great numbers and could be the offensive boost that they were missing last year, but it doesn’t end there.
The Blues also signed free-agent center Tyler Bozak. Bozak is a great veteran with over 9 years of NHL experience. He is great in the faceoff circle and can occasionally set up some great goals for his team mates. He is signed for three years in a 15 million dollar deal (five million AAV).
Finally St. Louis also signed veteran forward Patrick Maroon to a one-year contract worth 1.75 million dollars AAV. After putting up a total of 43 points last year split between the Edmonton Oilers and the New Jersey Devils, Maroon is finally coming to his hometown where his wife and child are and he is excited. A great signing by the Blues overall.
It will be interesting to see how these moves pan out as the season gets closer. Toronto, Vegas, and Washington seem like the early favorites, but things can change in a hurry with a quick start.