On July 28th at 12:00 p.m. ET, the NHL will open free agency for all unrestricted and restricted free agents. This day means teams can no longer sign their UFAs to eight-year contracts (which is why we got Gabriel Landeskog signing under the wire), players can sign with any team they want, including offer sheets for certain RFAs (Elias Pettersson?). Historically, the calendar would change over on July 1st and a whole bunch of signing bonus money would also be sent out, triggering some moves as well, we probably won’t get that this time.
I have an article coming out in an hour that looks at the unknowns for the Tampa Bay Lightning roster for next season, especially after Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson left for cap space pastures. I had a lot of fun with it and it lays out which holes in the lineup need to be filled, and gives a shortlist of UFAs at each position.
Overall, the Lightning don’t have to do much, but there are still a couple key pieces that need to be dealt with, namely on the third line and in net.
You’ve probably seen it already, but here is our article on the Tyler Johnson trade. It was always going to happen, but it didn’t sting as much as it could’ve. [Raw Charge]
“The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded two-time Stanley Cup Champion Tyler Johnson and a 2023 second round pick to Chicago for Brent Seabrook’s contract the night before NHL free agency opens. The trade now puts the Lightning below the cap ceiling on a projected roster of 23 players. Julien BriseBois has done it again.”
Also in the news, the Colorado Avalanche re-signed Gabriel Landeskog to a $7 million contract over eight years, he’ll be there until he’s 36/37. [Mile High Hockey]
“And exhale. Captain Gabriel Landeskog has re-signed with the Colorado Avalanche on a eight year contract worth $7 million AAV. This contract will take Landeskog to age-36, concluding in the 2028-29 NHL season. The Avs and Landeskog were a little over 12 hours away from losing exclusive negotiating rights, and that treasured eighth year to keep the AAV down, but they got it done, and the number is something everyone can be happy with.”
The Avs also traded for Kurtis MacDermid from the Seattle Kraken. He’s a bit of a goon, who is very terrible defensively. [Mile High Hockey]
“MacDermid was selected from the Los Angeles Kings in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft a week ago. At the time, it seemed like a very curious pick. Even though the Kings weren’t flooded with talent, there were some younger or better options available. However, being able to flip him for a fourth seems to be a very solid pickup for the Kraken, who still have an excess of players.”
After acquiring him for a third round pick, the Vancouver Canucks have traded Nate Schmidt to Winnipeg for a third round pick. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
“This should work out for the Jets although Schmidt has four years left on his contract and gets paid $4 950 000 a year against the cap. This could be the start of more trades for the Jets as they both work to re-sign players and add a goalie under the salary cap. This could be a big week for the Jets cap dude whoever they are.”
Marc-Andre Fleury was traded from the Vegas Golden Knights to Chicago for an AHLer. The reigning Vezina winner will be 37 next season and has his family in Vegas, there’s a big chance he doesn’t report to Chicago, or they move him and his $7 million contract. [Knights on Ice]
“The Golden Knights traded this year’s Vezina Trophy winner to Chicago for the contract of 23-year-old prospect forward Mikael Hakkarainen.
And there were some other notable re-signings yesterday too:
- Alex Ovechkin — WSH (5 x $9.5 million)
- Pavel Buchnevich — STL (4 x $5.8 million)
- Conor Garland — VAN (5 x $4.95 million)
- Brandon Montour — FLA (3 x $3.5 million)
- Mike Reilly — BOS (3 x $3 million)