Mike Halford

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 26:  Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning in action against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 26, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Everything is happening! Stamkos is staying in Tampa Bay

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In one of the craziest days in NHL history, the Tampa Bay Lightning have found a way to retain their captain.

Per TSN, the Steven Stamkos sweepstakes are over — Stamkos has opted not to test free agency and will instead re-sign with the only team he’s ever known.

No word yet on the contract details. Previous reports claimed GM Steve Yzerman had offered Stamkos a deal that paid $8.5 million annually, and the Bolts did have the advantage of being able to sign him to an eight-year deal.

Had Stamkos gone to market, the max length deal he could’ve received was seven years.

Prior to this, the 26-year-old gave indications he would be heading to market on Friday, and become arguably the biggest free agent prize since Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed matching 13-year, $98-million deals with Minnesota four years ago.

There were believed to be as many as 15 suitors for Stamkos’ services, including his hometown Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings, who cleared Pavel Datsyuk‘s contract off the books at the draft for a presumed run at the former 60-goal scorer.

As mentioned above, this has been a truly insane afternoon. The Stamkos news comes after the Oilers traded Taylor Hall to Edmonton for Adam Larsson, and the Predators traded Shea Weber to Montreal for P.K. Subban.

More to follow…

 

Oilers trade Hall to New Jersey for Larsson

Edmonton Oilers v Phoenix Coyotes
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In a blockbuster move, Edmonton has traded Taylor Hall to New Jersey.

Per two sources — Sportsnet’s Gene Principe and Elliotte Friedman — the deal is a straight-up, one-for-one trade with the Oilers getting d-man Adam Larsson in return.

UPDATE: The Devils have confirmed the move.

The move is a huge one for New Jersey, a team desperate to add scoring and offensive talent up front. It will also reunite Hall with his former junior linemate, Adam Henrique. The pair starred together for OHL Windsor, and captured a Memorial Cup.

Edmonton gets the right-handed defenseman it’s been looking for in Larsson, the fourth overall pick in 2011.

Immediate reactions to the trade consider this a huge win for the Devils. While Larsson is a good blueliner, his numbers hardly jump off the page and he recorded only 18 points last year, despite appearing in all 82 games (a career high).

Hall, meanwhile, is a dynamic skater with great goalscoring ability. He recorded 80 points in 75 games three seasons ago, and has broken the 25-goal plateau in three of his last five years in the league.

What’s more, Hall is on a fairly favorable contract. He’s signed through 2020 at $6 million per, which now makes him the Devils’ highest-paid forward.

Larsson is signed through 2021, at $4.16M annually. It’s a pretty decent contract for a guy that projects to be a top-pairing blueliner in Edmonton.

In making this move, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has now traded away the top two picks from 2010 in Hall and Tyler Seguin — the latter during his time as Bruins GM.

Dealing young, talented forwards is something Chiarelli said he wouldn’t shy away from upon taking the Edmonton gig.

“I’ve actually made a few trades of good, young forwards, so that’s something that I won’t shy away from,” he said back in April of 2015. “[The Seguin trade] was a trade that had underlying reasons that I won’t get into. But he’s a terrific player. He was our leading scorer. That’s what I’ll say about that one.

“In this business, you can’t be afraid to make trades. … Those are ways to improve your team. … There are some very good young players on this team. Doesn’t mean that I’m going to trade any of them, but those are deals that you can’t be afraid to make.”

Sharks re-sign Hertl — two years, $6 million

San Jose Sharks' Tomas Hertl celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Dallas Stars during overtime of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in San Jose, Calif.  San Jose won 4-3. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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Tomas Hertl has parlayed a solid campaign into a nice payday — on Wednesday, the Sharks inked him to a two-year, $6 million extension.

The deal, first reported by TSN, carries a $3M average annual cap hit. It comes at the conclusion of Hertl’s entry-level deal, so it’s bridge contract, but does represent a nice raise for the former 17th overall pick.

Hertl had a very strong ’15-16 campaign in San Jose, finding good chemistry on the club’s top line next to Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Fittingly, he finished with career highs in goals (21) and points (46), and was a terrific performer in the playoffs.

Prior to getting knocked out of the Stanley Cup Final with a knee injury, Hertl had six goals and 11 points in 20 games, and was largely viewed as San Jose’s best forward in the opening two games against Pittsburgh.

 

Columbus stays busy, buys out Tyutin

Fedor Tyutin, Ryan White
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Jarmo Kekalainen continued his busy workday Wednesday afternoon, buying out the final two years of Fedor Tyutin’s six-year, $27 million deal.

Fedor Tyutin is a pro in every sense of the word and has been an important player for the Columbus Blue Jackets for many years, but this decision is a result of the current depth on our blue line and to add some financial flexibility for our club moving forward,” Kekalainen said in a release. “I want to thank Fedor for his many contributions and wish he, his wife, Sarah, and their family all the best moving forward.”

The decision to buy out Tyutin came after signing fellow d-man Seth Jones to a big six-year, $34.2 million extension, one that carries a $5.4M average annual cap hit. The buyout will provide just under $3.3 million in cap relief this season, which the Blue Jackets desperately need — after the Jones signing, they had around $42,000 in cap space.

Tyutin had a no-movement clause and a modified no-trade, hence Columbus going the buyout route (this saves them being forced to protect Tyutin at the expansion draft).

As for Tyutin himself, the 32-year-old will probably garner some interest on the open market. Though he struggled through a down ’15-16 campaign — he only played in 61 games, and was made a healthy scratch by head coach John Tortorella — there were reports of teams looking to add him at the trade deadline, specifically Detroit.

Looking ahead, it’ll be odd to see the Jackets without Tyutin in the mix. Acquired eight years ago, he’s been a fixture in the lineup and sits second on the club’s all-time games played list behind Rick Nash.

Related: Blue Jackets also signed Dubois to his ELC

Wild extend Zucker — two years, $4 million

Colorado Avalanche v Minnesota Wild
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Despite a tough campaign, Jason Zucker has gotten a vote of confidence from Minnesota — and a nice raise to boot.

On Wednesday, the Wild inked Zucker to a two-year, $4 million extension, one that carries at $2M average annual cap hit. It’s a nice pay bump from the $900,250 he was making annually on his old deal, yet it comes after a season in what some considered to be a setback.

After scoring 21 goals in just 51 games two years ago, Zucker only found the back of the net 13 times. It was a tough season all-around. Zucker was made a healthy scratch by former head coach Mike Yeo, placed on IR with a concussion following a devastating hit from Michal Rozsival and, at the end of the year, got called out by interim bench boss John Torchetti.

“He has to have a way better year next year,” Torchetti said after the Wild’s season-ending loss to Dallas in the playoffs, per the Morning-News. “That’s the bottom line.”

It’s important to remember that Zucker is only 24 years old and, given his offensive abilities and skating prowess, could be a nice fit under new head coach Bruce Boudreau. There could be more opportunities at forward with the likes of Thomas Vanek, David Jones and Justin Fontaine either all gone or likely gone, though it still remains to be seen who GM Chuck Fletcher will bring in via free agency.