- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy14 mins ago
We’re keeping track of the big unrestricted free agent names here at Puck Daddy. But how are some of the smaller signings working out?
Sometimes it's the little pieces that can help your team fill in the puzzle and push it to the Stanley Cup. Not everyone today is named Cody Franson or Matt Beleskey. Could one of these guys play a big role this season? Take a look at the players and their new (or same) teams.
Mark Letestu, C, Edmonton Oilers: Three years, $5.4 million
Nate Prosser, D, Minnesota Wild: Two years $1.25M
Blake Comeau, LW, Colorado Avalanche: Three years $7.2M
Matt Halischuk, RW, Winnipeg Jets: One year $750,000
Thomas Greiss, G, New York Islanders: Two years, $3M
Adam Pardy, D, Winnipg Jets: One year $1M
Patrick Eaves, RW, Dallas Stars: One year $1.15M
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- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy17 mins ago
The Edmonton Oilers started their shopping early by nabbing center Mark Letestu and defenseman Andrej Sekera 30 minutes into the opening of the free agent period.
Connor McDavid is now an Oiler. Peter Chiarelli is now running the show as general manager. Todd McLellan is behind the bench. There will be plenty more change coming in Edmonton, and with the amount of young talent already on the roster, this is a big summer for the franchise to finally turn things around.
Sekera’s deal is six years and worth $33 million. It also includes a no-movement clause.
The pickup of Sekera is big for the Edmonton defense, an area that needed upgrading. The 29-year old blueliner was dealt in February from Carolina to LA for a conditional first-rounder and prospect Roland McKeown. The Kings only got 16 games out of him since they missed the playoffs, which also meant the pick would be a 2016 one and not one in last weekend’s NHL Draft.
"I thought about that,” Sekera told TSN of playing on the same team as McDavid. “He's going to be a really good player."
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy21 mins ago
The Pittsburgh Penguins wanted to add top-end offense talent to their roster. GM Jim Rutherford added one of the best pure goal-scorers in the NHL, if also one of the most maligned.
Phil Kessel is a Penguin.
The Penguins and the Toronto Maple Leafs finally came to terms on a deal that sent Kessel to Pittsburgh for forward Kasperi Kapanen, defensive prospect Scott Harrington and a 2016 first-round pick. The Leafs will retain salary in the deal.
Kapanen was a first-round pick for the Penguins last season.
This is a much different deal that what was rumored to be rejected by the Leafs at the draft, via Rob Rossi: 2016 1st round pick, Derrick Pouliot, Rob Scuderi and Chris Kunitz for Phil Kessel.
Kessel makes $8 million against the cap through 2022. From 2010-2014, only Steven Stamkos (159), Alex Ovechkin (153) and Corey Perry (145) scored more goals than Kessel’s 126. He has 247 goals and 273 assists in his career. To say either Sidney Crosby or Phil Kessel have their triggerman would be an understatement.
What a chance for Kessel to prove that the problem was Toronto and not Phil Kessel.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy36 mins ago
The San Jose Sharks finally landed their veteran defenseman on Wednesday, and it’s someone with whom Larry Robinson is familiar.
Robinson, still a member of the Sharks’ braintrust, worked with Paul Martin when he was a young defenseman in the New Jersey Devils organization. Martin signed a four-year deal with the Sharks on Wednesday (terms were not yet disclosed), giving them a 34-year-old lefty with a lot of experience in the regular season and playoffs.
Martin was never going to be worth the $5.5 million over five years the Pittsburgh Penguins handed him as an unrestricted free agent in 2010.
He’s a player that’s good for around 25 points. He handled the puck very well, can get you upwards of 24 minutes a night and is smart in his own zone. Best of all: He can be the defensive rock in a paring, as he was with the Penguins playing with Kris Letang last season.
Can we expect Martin to serve the same type of role with Brent Burns next season?
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- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy47 mins ago
Brandon Saad said he was shocked, but understood it’s a business.
Saad knew the Chicago Blackhawks would see changes to their roster after a third Stanley Cup in six seasons. He knew the team’s cap issues would force trades. He understood players don’t play with one team their entire careers anymore. Still, it’s was first time being traded. Just two weeks ago he was celebrating another championship. Now he’s a Columbus Blue Jacket.
“It’s definitely going to be a change,” Saad said Wednesday morning. “At the same time, I’ve watched Columbus in the past and they’ve had some tight playoff series where they’ve played really well."
The threat of an offer sheet coupled with Chicago’s cap issues forced Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman to make the move. The Blue Jackets are in the midst of working out a contract for Saad, but at the moment, he’s still a restricted free agent and subject to an offer sheet should a team approach his camp with a tempting offer.
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said on a Tuesday conference call that the team will match any offer sheet.
“My agent is taking care of that side of the business and I’m waiting to hear from him," Saad said.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy54 mins ago
Guess we know who set the market rate for Francois Beauchemin.
The free-agent defenseman’s agent said that his client had a 3-year deal on the table from a suitor. That was too rich for the Anaheim Ducks’ blood, and they opted to trade for Kevin Bieksa from the Vancouver Canucks rather than give Beauchemin that term.
On Wednesday, moments after NHL free agency kicked off, the Colorado Avalanche announced that Beauchemin had inked a 3-year deal with $4.5 million annually.The contract has a no-movement claus.
(The Ducks, meanwhile, signed Bieksa to a 2-year deal with $4 million annually that kicks in for 2016-17.)
That’s a million-dollar jump for Beachemin, who will be 38 years old at the end of this contract.
Beauchemin becomes the third defenseman over 32 years old on the roster next season, along with Nate Guenin (32) and Brad Staurt (35).
It’s not a bad signing at all for Colorado, which had a pay a little more to land him.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
The Nashville Predators have re-signed forward Mike Ribeiro to a two-year contract extension – ignoring moral cries to not bring back the center who is in the middle of a civil sexual assault case.
The deal is for $7 million over the next two seasons, Ribeiro is 35 years old.
At a Tuesday news conference, team general manager David Poile went to great lengths to explain his desire to bring back Ribeiro, who was bought out a year ago by the Arizona Coyotes for what that team called “behavioral issues.”
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
The combination of Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo was surprisingly effective for the surprising Calgary Flames who surprisingly made the playoffs in the Western Conference.
So Calgary decided not to fix what isn’t broken, and brought Ramo back at a $3.8 million cap hit for one season.
Ramo, 29, had 34 starts last season and was 15-9-3 with a .912 save percentage and a 2.60 GAA. Overall, the Flames had a 2.60 team GAA, good for 17th in the league last season.
The only curious thing about this signing: Goalie prospect Joni Ortio, who has a one-way NHL contract and will have to pass through waivers to get down the AHL. The risk, apparently, is one Calgary will take.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
Kevin Bieksa has signed a two-year contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.
On top of his current contract, which pays him $4.6 million per-year through this season, he will get paid $4 million per-year through the following two seasons.
He’s also 34 years old, so that’ll take him through age 36.
Good for Bieksa to get that type of security late in his career when a lot of players seem to get chopped off and make way less money in their mid-30. Interesting move by the Ducks, who have a ton of younger D, three of which – Sami Vatanen, Simon Despres and Hampus Lindholm, are all restricted free agents following this season per General Fanager. Vatanen ($1.2625M) and Lindholm ($894,166) will no doubt merit mega-raises from the Ducks -- especially in Lindholm's case.
Part the Bieksa extension this may have to do with general manager Bob Murray and his thoughts on Bieksa’s game per the Orange County Register:
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy2 hrs ago
The Chicago Blackhawks had their hand forced by restricted free-agent forward Brandon Saad, who was asking for a salary too rich for them and was going to get an offer sheet from someone. So they traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Part of the return was a player they coveted anyway.
Artem Anisimov has 86 goals and 106 assists in 412 regular-season games. He was a strong supporting cast player for the New York Rangers and the Blue Jackets; as coach Todd Richards said when he was acquired in 2012:
“Artem is a very versatile guy, but there’s one part of his game that never changes, and that’s his attention to detail,” Richards said. “Coaches and scouts who see him on a nightly basis will tell you he’s rarely out of position, and he rarely leaves the puck in the wrong spot when he’s coming off the ice.”
If that sounds like the kind of player Chicagi GM Stan Bowman wants on his roster, you’d be right: The Blackhawks signed Anisimov to a 5-year deal, $22.75-million contract, good for a $4.55 million cap hit annually. It kicks in for the 2016-17 season.
From ESPN Chicago: