You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.
New Jersey filled a void down the middle at the start of free agency, signing Brian Boyle to a two-year, $5.1 million deal with a $2.55M cap hit.
Boyle, 32, had a productive year split between Tampa Bay and Toronto, finishing with 12 goals and 25 points in 75 games. Having carved himself a niche as a big-bodied (6-foot-6, 244 pounds) center that can win draws and play a strong defensive game, Boyle has often been in demand for teams looking at a bottom-six forward.
In New Jersey, he’ll probably be exactly that.
Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique did most of the heavy lifting down the middle last season, while young prospect Pavel Zacha continued to learn his craft. Based on projections, Boyle might have a more expanded role than he did in either Tampa or Toronto.
In a deal that’s been rumored for a while, the Red Wings have secured the services of blueliner Trevor Daley.
It’s a three-year, $9.5 million pact with an average cap hit of $3.178 million, per TSN. The move comes after Daley, 33, helped Pittsburgh capture back-to-back Stanley Cups, averaging 19:07 TOI this spring while racking up five points over 21 games.
The move remains consistent with Detroit GM Ken Holland’s refusal to enter a rebuilding phase. Daley should help with Holland’s goal of getting the Red Wings back into the playoffs, as he’s a steadying and veteran presence on the back end.
That said, Daley has dealt with injury problems in each of the past two years — playing only 53 and 56 games — and will be 34 at the start of next season.
Winnipeg added some depth on defense to open free agency, agreeing to terms with former Sabres d-man Dmitry Kulikov.
Per TSN, it’s a three-year pact at $4.33 million per.
The deal comes after a disappointing campaign with the Sabres. Not only did Kulikov struggle statistically, finishing minus-26 with just two goals and three assists, he also had trouble staying healthy, appearing in just 47 games.
Despite all that, he generated plenty of interest on the free agent market and generated interest from a dozen teams, according to his agent. Presumably, the hope in Winnipeg is that Kulikov can bounce back, so long as he’s put in a better situation.
Remember, Kulikov is still just 26. And before he was traded to Buffalo a year ago, he’d had a number of respectable seasons with the Florida Panthers.
In Winnipeg, he’ll (presumably) slot in behind the likes of Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom, Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey, meaning he’ll likely be a bottom-pairing guy.
One of the biggest prizes from this year’s free agent class is reportedly off the market.
Per NHL Network’s Kevin Weeks, the Rangers have landed puck-moving defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk with a four-year deal worth $6.9 million per season, for a grand total of $27.6M.
Update: There are conflicting reports to the above. The New York Post said the deal as outlined is not accurate, while TSN said the report was premature.
Known for his offensive abilities and power play work, Shattenkirk was named to the All-Star Game in 2015 and represented the U.S. at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. He’s certainly would be a big get for the Rangers, and could fill the offensive blueline void created when Keith Yandle departed last summer.
With the removal of Dan Girardi (via buyout) and the uncertain future of Kevin Klein (mulling retirement), the Rangers have dramatically remodeled their blueline this summer, and Shattenkirk would be a signature piece. That said, GM Jeff Gorton also added Anthony DeAngelo from Arizona in the Derek Stepan–Antti Raanta trade, and re-upped with pending RFA Brendan Smith.
This would also be a homecoming for the 28-year-old. Shattenkirk is a New York native that was rumored to be seeking a move back to where he grew up.
More to follow…
It looks as though Montreal has made a big play in restocking its blueline.
Per former TSN analyst Aaron Ward, the Habs have agreed to a five-year deal with former Caps d-man Karl Alzner, one with “roughly” a $4.5 million cap hit.
Should that estimate prove accurate, it’s a $22.5 million commitment from Montreal.
That this deal came together shouldn’t be a big surprise, as there was interest from both sides. Earlier this week, Alzner said he would welcome signing in Montreal. And from the Habs’ perspective, major holes needed to be filled on the back end following the departures of Alexei Emelin, Nathan Beaulieu and Mikhail Sergachev.
It was also pretty clear Alzner was going to score big in free agency.
The last contract he signed in Washington was a club-friendly deal that paid him $11.2 million over four years. That’s a cap hit of just $2.8 million for a guy that plays top-four minutes against tough competition.
This time around, he wanted not just a pay bump, but some long-term security as well.
“I will wait to see my options, but I am only 28 years old and I can tell you that I would like to get a long-term contract,” Alzner told Le Journal de Montréal (translated). “It is always attractive for a player to be able to settle in the same city for a long time. It would be my dream to sign a long-term agreement.”
Though Alzner doesn’t have much offensive upside — he’s never scored more than 21 points in a single season — Alzner is a pretty steady, consistent and durable guy. He hasn’t missed a regular season contest since the 2009-10 campaign, and has averaged 20:12 TOI per night over his career with the Caps.