Training camps open around NHL after another short offseason

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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Training camps open around the NHL after another short offseason, a third in a row squeezed by the pandemic. That doesn’t bother Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon one bit.

For one of hockey’s best players and his teammates, it’s already time to get back on the ice and defend their Stanley Cup title, less than three months since they knocked off the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I still feel like I just was playing,” MacKinnon said. “I took two weeks off, and then I started skating again. It’s just fun. I enjoy it, and I like the short summer. It feels like the season’s just kind of rolling over again.”

The NHL rolls into fall coming off an entertaining playoffs and final with the chance to finally get back on a normal schedule. That means full camps for teams that got new coaches and the benefits of a regular routine.

That means a mere 88 days between Game 6 of the final and the first-on ice practice sessions.

“We’re kind of used to it now,” Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy said after he and the Lightning lost in the final for the first time in three consecutive trips. “It’s a little harder, of course, because you don’t have that much time to rest. It’s basically a few weeks and you have to get back at it. But, yeah, I can’t complain. You want your summers to be short every year.”

It was a little longer for Connor McDavid and the Oilers after losing to Colorado in the West final. Despite the lack of downtime, McDavid “wouldn’t trade that in for anything” and aims to make it even further since Edmonton shored up its goaltending situation by adding Jack Campbell.

A few spins of the goalie carousel ended with the Avalanche acquiring Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers and Cup winner Darcy Kuemper landing with Washington. Joining new teammates, many of whom hoisted the Cup in 2018, Kuemper is not worried about less time off.

“It was definitely a very unique summer,” Kuemper said. “With how short it was, you start getting back into the gym and you’re kind of a little bit worried that your training’s going to be so short. But you kind of felt like you weren’t getting back into shape. You were already there.”

NEW COACHES

The Oilers are one of several teams settling in for training camp under a new coach. Jay Woodcroft took over as interim coach in February but has the full-time job now.

“Looking forward to a camp with him,” McDavid said. “He did a great job coming in during the middle of the season, but it’s never easy on a coach, for sure. I’m sure there’s things that he wanted to touch on that you wasn’t able to kind of in the middle of the year, so he’ll be able to to touch on all of it this year.”

The same goes for Bruce Boudreau in Vancouver, 11 months since being put in charge of the Canucks. Philadelphia’s John Tortorella, Boston’s Jim Montgomery, Vegas’ Bruce Cassidy, Dallas’ Peter DeBoer, Florida’s Paul Maurice, Chicago’s Luke Richardson, Detroit’s Derek Lalonde and the New York Islanders’ Lane Lambert are all starting the job fresh.

CAMP TRYOUTS

Roughly 40 players are attending a camp on a professional tryout agreement with the chance to earn a contract for the season. James Neal has that opportunity with the Blue Jackets, and Derek Stepan returned to Carolina to seek a job with the Hurricanes.

The most intriguing situation involves 37-year-old center Eric Staal, who agreed to the tryout with Florida the same time brother Marc signed a one-year contract. Younger brother Jordan was with Eric and Marc on the 18th green at Pebble Beach to witness the occasion.

“They’re both just super pumped, as was I,” said Jordan Staal, who is the captain of the Hurricanes. “Eric is excited about the opportunity and Marc, as well. Really cool. Really cool thing.”

EARLY START

Before the puck drops on the NHL season in North America on Oct. 11, the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks play twice in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8. And those are not exhibitions.

“We still play two important games,” said Sharks forward Tomas Hertl, who is a native of Prague. “It’s not just preseason where you coming here to warm up.”

Colorado and Columbus will also play two games in Tampere, Finland, on Nov. 4-5 as part of the NHL’s Global Series.

And just as the league gets used to a regular schedule, work is ongoing between the league and NHL Players’ Association to stage a World Cup of Hockey in February 2024, which is popular among players even if it knocks the calendar off kilter again.

“I think they missed out on a huge, huge portion of the international game that’s really going to be missed,” McDavid said. “We need to figure out a way to get an international tournament in as quickly as possible.”

Penguins, coach Mike Sullivan agree to 3-year extension

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH — Mike Sullivan doesn’t believe coaches have a “shelf life.”

Apparently, neither do his bosses.

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed their two-time Stanley Cup-winning head coach to a contract extension that runs through the 2026-27 season, a pact that doubled as a vote of confidence in the club’s iconic core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang and the fiery Sullivan’s ability to lead them.

Sullivan still had two years remaining on his current contract. Yet Fenway Sports Group, which purchased the Penguins from Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle last fall, saw enough to lock down the winningest coach in franchise history for the long term.

The 54-year-old Sullivan joined Pittsburgh in December 2015. If he reaches the end of his new deal, it means he’ll have spent more than a decade with the Penguins, a nearly unheard of tenure in the NHL.

Then again, Sullivan believes he’s in a nearly unheard-of situation.

“I think I had the luxury of inheriting a standard of excellence, a certain culture that has been developed in Pittsburgh,” Sullivan said. “I feel the need to be the custodian of that.”

Sullivan’s 297 regular-season wins are a franchise record. His 44-38 playoff mark includes Stanley Cup wins in 2016 and 2017. The Massachusetts native is the only American-born coach with multiple Cups and he’s one of only two coaches in NHL history to win the Cup in each of his first two seasons with a team.

“He has clearly demonstrated what an effective leader he is,” said Fenway Sports Group owner John Henry. “And it’s evident how well players respond to his philosophy and work ethic night after night, month after month.”

Even if, on the surface, it looks like an odd marriage. Of styles anyway.

The grinder who spent a decade in the NHL willfully doing the dirty work others wouldn’t or couldn’t in order to cling to a roster spot leads a group of such preternatural ability it often leaves Sullivan shaking his impeccably coiffed head.

“I wish I could play the game the way that this group of players can play,” Sullivan said.

He couldn’t. Yet the center who mustered all of 54 goals in 11 seasons has found a way to connect with the generational talents that dot Pittsburgh’s roster. Asked to explain what’s allowed him to thrive in a position that is long on burnout and short on sustained success and Sullivan points not to Xs and Os but something deeper.

“I just believe in being honest and candid with our players,” he said. “I think an important aspect of what we do is building relationships … When relationships grow and develop over the course of time they should get stronger.”

Particularly during times of adversity, something that’s become familiar in recent years in Pittsburgh. The Penguins haven’t reached the second round of the playoffs since 2018 and saw a promising season come to an end under somewhat bizarre circumstances last spring in a seven-game loss to the New York Rangers in the opening round.

In the aftermath, the players to a man stressed the club’s championship window remained open, even with Crosby, Letang and Malkin all in their mid-30s. Management apparently agreed, signing Letang and Malkin to lengthy extensions in July. Now, they’ve followed suit by doing the same to the coach whose “play the right way” ethos doesn’t seem to have grown stale.

“It’s about selling the message,” Sullivan said. “It’s about making sure that whatever you’re trying to sell, they’ve got to buy in. They have to believe to their very core that this is the game plan that is going to give us the best chance of success.”

And success remains the standard for a team that’s reached the playoffs 16 straight years, the longest active streak in North American professional sports. Yet Sullivan is well aware the standard isn’t simply reaching the postseason, but staying awhile.

While he’s well aware of the advancing age of his superstars, he’s bullish on the future.

“I believe these guys can still play,” he said of Crosby, Letang and Malkin. “They’ve shown no signs of decline. I have the opportunity to watch these guys every day. I know the sacrifices they make.”

The past seven-plus years have given Sullivan an opportunity to watch those sacrifices up close. There have been tense moments. Difficult conversations. Tough decisions. Success can be fickle. Longevity perhaps even more so. The new contract won’t be worth much if the Penguins don’t win and win at a high level.

Bring it on.

“I just love what I do. I love being a part of it. I love being in the heat of the battle,” he said. “It’s part of my DNA I guess.”

NHL free agency tracker 2022: Full list of offseason signings

nhl free agency tracker
Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s time for NHL Free Agency! The offseason is under way and with the market opening July 13 there will be plenty of action this summer. Some teams have already been busy getting their 2022-23 rosters in order. Check back here for all of the signings that teams will be making in hopes of improving their chances at winning the 2023 Stanley Cup.

NHL Free Agency Signings

July 20

• Capitals sign Gabriel Carlsson to a one-year, $750,000 deal

July 19

• Devils sign Vitek Vanecek to a three-year, $10.2 million deal (Link)
• Avalanche signs Callahan Burke to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Flyers sign Isaac Ratcliffe to a one-year, $813,750 deal
• Jets sign Saku Maenalanen to a one-year, $750,000 deal

July 18

• Bruins sign Jack Ahcan to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Bruins sign Matt Filipe to a one-year, $787,500 deal
• Bruins sign Ryan Mast to a three-year, $2.55 million deal
• Blackhawks sign Buddy Robinson to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canadiens sign Samuel Montembeault to a two-year, $2 million deal
• Coyotes sign Conor Geekie to a three-year, $5.15 million deal
• Predators sign John Leonard to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Predators sign Thomas Novak to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Sabres sign Brett Murray to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Sharks sign Luke Kunin to a two-year, $5.5 million deal
• Sharks sign Kaapo Kähkönen to a two-year, $5.5 millon deal

July 17

• Blues sign Niko Mikkola to a one-year, $1.9 million deal
• Maple Leafs sign Pierre Engvall to a one-year, $2.25 million deal
• Oilers sign Mattias Janmark to a one-year, $1.25 million deal
• Panthers sign Michael Del Zotto to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Wild signs Mitchell Chaffee to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Wild signs Nick Swaney to a one-year, $750,000 deal

July 16

• Canadiens sign Rem Pitlick to a two-year, $1.7 million deal
• Canucks sign Michael DiPietro to a one-year, $2.2 million deal
• Ducks sign Pavel Mintyukov to a three-year, $5.2 million deal
• Flames sign Benjamin Jones to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Jets sign Jansen Harkins to a two-year, $1.7 million deal
• Penguins sign Owen Pickering to a three-year, $3.6 million deal
• Wild signs Liam Öhgren to a three-year, $4.325 million deal

July 15

• Avalanche signs Brad Hunt to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Blue Jackets signs Nick Blankenburg to a two-year, $1.62 million deal
• Blues sign Martin Frk to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Capitals sign Ludwig Person to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Capitals sign Alexander Suzdalev to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Flyers sign Morgan Frost to a one-year, $800,000 deal
• Hurricanes sign Mackenzie MacEachern to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Hurricanes sign Malte Stromwell to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Islanders sign Calle Odelius to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Jets sign Ashton Sautner to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Jets sign Elias Salomonsson to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Maple Leafs sign Calle Järnkrok to a four-year, $8.4 million deal
• Oilers sign Reid Schaefer to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Panthers sign Gerald Mayhew to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Panthers sign Evan Nause to a three-year, $2.775 million deal
• Predators sign Zach Sanford to a one-year, $850,000 deal
• Predators sign Joakim Kemell to a three-year, $4.35 million deal
• Rangers sign Adam Sykora to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Sabres sign Lawrence Pilut to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Sabres sign Jiri Kulich to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Sabres sign Noah Östlund to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Sabres sign Matthew Savoie to a three-year, $2.85 million deal

July 14

• Blackhawks sign Dylan Sikura to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Blues sign Josh Leivo to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Blues sign Anthony Angello to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Blues sign Scott Perunovich to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Blues sign Matthew Highmore to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Blues sign Dylan McLaughlin to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Blues sign Nathan Walker to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canucks sign Christian Wolanin to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Capitals sign Dylan Strome to a one-year, $3.5 million deal
• Capitals sign Henrik Borgstrom to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Coyotes sign Jean-Sébastien Dea to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Ducks sign Lukas Klok to a one-year, $950,000 deal
• Devils sign Ondrej Palat to a five-year, $30 million deal
• Ducks sign Colton White to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Ducks sign Justin Kirkland to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Ducks sign Chase De Leo to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Ducks sign Austin Strand to a five-year, $30 million deal
• Ducks sign Glenn Gawdin to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Golden Knights sign Sakari Manninen to a one-year $750,000 deal
• Golden Knights sign Spencer Foo to a one-year $750,000 deal
• Hurricanes sign Zach Sawchenko to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Jets sign Kyle Capobianco to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Jets sign Alex Limoges to a one-year, $780,000 deal
• Kraken signs Austin Poganski to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Kraken signs John Hayden to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Kraken signs Cameron Hughes to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Maple Leafs sign Victor Mete to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Maple Leafs sign Jordie Benn to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Panthers sign Mark Pysyk to a one-year, $850,000 deal
• Panthers sign Rūdolfs Balcers to a one-year $750,000 deal
• Predators sign Jordan Gross to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Predators sign Roland McKeown to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Predators sign Kiefer Sherwood to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Predators sign Cole Smith to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Predators sign Mark Jankowski to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Predators sign Kevin Gravel to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Predators sign Kevin Lankinen to a two-year, $1.5 million deal
• Rangers sign Ryan Carpenter to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Rangers sign Turner Elson to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Senators sign Antoine Bibeau to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Senators sign Jacob Larsson to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Senators sign Josh Norris to an eight-year, $63.6 million deal
• Senators sign Tomas Hamara to an three-year, $2.57 million deal
• Sharks sign CJ Suess to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Sharks sign Aaron Dell to a one-year, $775,000 deal
• Sharks sign Matthew Benning to a four-year, $5 million deal
• Sharks sign Markus Nutivaara to a one-year, $1.75 million deal
• Sharks sign Andrew Agozzino to a two-year, $1.55 million deal
• Sharks sign CJ Suess to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Stars sign Riley Barber to a one-year, $750,000 deal

OFFER SHEET COMPENSATION: 2022-23

July 13

• Blue Jackets sign Johnny Gaudreau to a seven-year, $68.25 million deal (Link)
• Blues sign Thomas Greiss to a one-year, $1.5 million deal (Link)
• Capitals sign Darcy Kuemper to a five-year, $26.25 million deal (Link)
• Lightning signs Mikhail Sergachev to an eight-year, $68 million deal (Link)
• Lightning signs Anthony Cirelli to an eight-year, $50 million deal (Link)
• Lightning signs Erik Cernak to an eight-year, $41.6 million deal (Link)
• Maple Leafs sign Ilya Samsonov to a one-year, $1.8 million deal (Link)
• Oilers sign Evander Kane to a four-year, $20.5 million deal (Link)
• Oilers sign Jack Campbell to a five-year, $25 million deal (Link)
• Rangers sign Vincent Trocheck to a seven-year, $39.375 million deal (Link)
• Rangers sign Jaroslav Halak to a one-year, $1.55 million deal (Link)
• Red Wings sign Andrew Copp to a five-year, $28.125 million deal (Link)
• Red Wings sign David Perron to two-year, $9.5 million deal (Link)
• Red Wings sign Ben Chiarot to a four-year, $19 million deal (Link)
• Senators sign Claude Giroux to a three-year, $19.5 million deal (Link)
• Avalanche signs Darren Helm to a one-year, $1.25 million deal
• Avalanche signs Josh Manson to a four-year, $18 million deal
• Avalanche signs Charles Hudon to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Avalanche signs Spencer Smallman to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Avalanche signs Josh Jacobs to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Avalanche signs Andreas Englund to a one-year, $750,000
• Avalanche signs Artturi Lehkonen to a five-year, $22.5 million deal
• Avalanche signs Jonas Johansson to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Blackhawks sign Andreas Athanasiou to a one-year, $3 million deal
• Blackhawks sign Max Domi to a one-year, $3 million deal
• Blackhawks sign Colin Blackwell to a two-year, $2.4 million deal
• Blackhawks sign Alex Stalock to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Blackhawks sign Brett Seney to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Blackhawks sign Luke Philip to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Blue Jackets sign Denton Mateychuk to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Blue Jackets sign David Jiříček to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Blue Jackets sign Erik Gudbranson to a four-year, $16 million deal
• Blues sign Robert Thomas to an eight-year, $65 million deal
• Blues sign Nick Leddy to a four-year, $16 million deal
• Blues sign Noel Acciari to a one-year, $1.25 million deal
• Blues sign Will Bitten to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Bruins sign AJ Greer to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Bruins sign Keith Kinkaid to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Bruins sign Connor Carrick to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Bruins sign Daniel Renouf to two-year, $1.25 million deal
• Bruins sign Vinni Letteri to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canadiens sign Nathan Schnarr to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canadiens sign Mitchell Stephens to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canadiens sign Madison Bowey to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canadiens sign Joël Teasdale to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canadiens sign Alex Belzile to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canadiens sign Anthony Richard to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canucks sign Andrei Kuzmenko to a one-year, $1.8 million deal
• Canucks sign Curtis Lazar to a three-year, $3 million deal
• Canucks sign Dakota Joshua to a two-year, $1.65 million deal
• Canucks sign Wyatt Kalynuk to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canucks sign Phil Di Giuseppe to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canucks sign Collin Delia to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canucks sign Ilya Mikheyev to a four-year, $19 million deal
• Capitals sign Charlie Lindgren to a three-year, $3.3 million deal
• Capitals sign Matt Irwin to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Capitals sign Marcus Johansson to a one-year, $1.1 million deal
• Capitals sign Erik Gustafsson to a one-year, $800,000 deal
• Coyotes sign Laurent Dauphin to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Coyotes sign Jon Gillies to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Coyotes sign Bokondji Imama to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Coyotes sign Troy Stecher to a one-year, $1.2 million deal
• Coyotes sign Joshua Brown to a two-year, $2.55 million deal
• Coyotes sign Nick Bjugstad to a one-year, $900,000 deal
• Devils sign Brendan Smith to a two-year, $2.2 million deal
• Devils sign Tyler Wotherspoon to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Devils sign Brian Pinho to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Devils sign Jack Dugan to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Ducks sign Frank Vatrano to a three-year, $10.95 million deal
• Ducks sign Ryan Strome to a five-year, $25 million deal
• Flames sign Kevin Rooney to a two-year, $2.6 million deal
• Flames sign Nikita Zadorov to a two-year, $7.5 million deal
• Flames sign Dennis Gilbert to a one-year, $1.525 million deal
• Flames sign Nicolas Meloche to a one-year, $950,000 deal
• Flames sign Trevor Lewis to one-year, $800,000 deal
• Flames sign Clark Bishop to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Flames sign Nick DeSimone to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Flames sign Oscar Dansk to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Flames sign Colton Poolman to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Flyers sign Adam Brooks to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Flyers sign Nicolas Deslauriers to a four-year, $7 million deal
• Flyers sign Cooper Marody to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Flyers sign Kevin Connauton to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Flyers sign Louis Belpedio to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Flyers sign Justin Braun to one-year, $1.75 million deal
• Flyers sign Troy Grosenick to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Golden Knights sign Byron Froese to two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Golden Knights sign Sheldon Rempal to two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Golden Knights sign Jonas Røndbjerg to three-year, $2.3 million deal
• Golden Knights sign Reilly Smith to three-year, $15 million deal
• Golden Knights sign Brett Howden to one-year, $1.5 million deal
• Golden Knights sign Michael Hutchinson to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Hurricanes sign Ondřej Kaše to one-year, $1.5 million deal
• Jets sign Kevin Stenlund to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Jets sign David Rittich to one-year, $900,000 deal
• Kings sign Brendan Lemieux to a one-year, $1.35 million deal
• Kings sign Pheonix Copley to a one-year, $825,000 deal
• Kings sign Tobie Paquette-Bisson to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Kraken signs Andre Burakovsky to a five-year, $27.5 million deal
• Kraken signs Brogan Rafferty to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Kraken signs Andrew Poturalski to two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Kraken signs Magnus Hellberg to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Kraken signs Ryan Winterton to three-year, $2.54 million deal
• Kraken signs Jacob Melanson to three-year, $2.53 million deal
• Kraken signs Jesper Frödén to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Kraken signs Martin Jones to one-year, $2 million deal
• Kraken signs Justin Schultz to a two-year, $6 million deal
• Lightning signs Ian Cole to a one-year, $3 million deal
• Lightning signs Vladislav Namestnikov to a one-year, $2.5 million deal
• Lightning signs Haydn Fleury to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Maple Leafs sign Dennis Hildeby to a one-year, $843,330 deal
• Maple Leafs sign Nicolas Aube-Kubel to a one-year, $1 million deal
• Maple Leafs sign Adam Gaudette to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Maple Leafs sign Denis Malgin to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Oilers sign Brett Kulak to a four-year, $11 million deal
• Oilers sign Greg McKegg to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Oilers sign Calvin Pickard to two-year, $1.25 million deal
• Panthers sign Nathan Staios to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Panthers sign Colin White to a one-year, $1.2 million deal
• Panthers sign Marc Staal to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Panthers sign Anthony Bitetto to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Panthers sign Alex Lyon to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Panthers sign Nick Cousins to a two-year, $2.2 million deal
• Penguins sign Xavier Ouellet to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Penguins sign Dustin Tokarski to a one-year, $775,000 deal
• Penguins sign Drake Caggiula to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Penguins sign Josh Archibald to a one-year, $900,000 deal
• Penguins sign Jan Rutta to a three-year, $8.25 million deal
• Rangers sign Louis Domingue to a two-year, $1.55 million deal
• Rangers sign Andy Welinski to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Red Wings sign Marco Kasper to a three-year, $2.85 million deal
• Red Wings sign Dominik Kubalik to a two-year, $5 million deal
• Red Wings sign Olli Määttä to a one-year, $2.25 million deal
• Red Wings sign Austin Czarnik to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Red Wings sign Matt Luff to a one-year, $2.25 million deal
• Sabres sign Victor Olofsson to a two-year, $9.5 million deal
• Sabres sign Ilya Lyubushkin to a two-year, $5.5 million deal
• Sabres sign Eric Comrie to a two-year, $3.6 million deal
• Sabres sign Kale Clague to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Sabres sign Jeremy Davies to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Sabres sign Chase Priskie to a one-year, $800,000 deal
• Senators sign Kristians Rubins to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Senators sign Jacob Lucchini to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Senators sign Scott Sabourin to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Sharks sign Oskar Lindblom to a two-year, $5 million deal
• Sharks sign Nico Sturm to a three-year, $6 million deal
• Stars sign Mason Marchment to a four-year, $18 million deal
• Stars sign Colin Miller to a two-year, $3.7 million deal
• Wild signs Niclas Petan to two-year, $1.25 million deal
• Wild signs Brandon Baddock to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Wild signs Andrej Šustr to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Wild signs Steven Fogarty to one-year, $750,000 deal

July 12

• Penguins sign Evgeni Malkin to a four-year, $24.4 million deal (Link)
• Blues sign Hugh McGing to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Hurricanes sign Stefan Noesen to a one-year, $1.525 million deal
• Kings sign Alexander Edler to a one-year, $1.5 million deal
• Kraken signs Alex True to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Penguins sign Pierre-Olivier Joseph to a two-year, $1.65 million deal
• Predators sign Devin Cooley to a one-year, $787,500 deal
• Sabres sign Vinnie Hinostroza to a one-year, $1.7 million deal
• Sabres sign Malcolm Subban to a one-year, $850,000 deal

July 11

• Avalanche signs Valeri Nichushkin to an eight-year, $49 million deal (Link)
• Canadiens sign Corey Schueneman to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canadiens sign Michael Pezzetta to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Coyotes sign Christian Fischer to a one-year, $$1,125,875 deal
• Coyotes sign Cam Dineen to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Kings sign Carl Grundström to a two-year, $2.6 million deal
• Kings sign Lias Andersson to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Kraken signs Karson Kuhlman to a one-year, $825,000 deal
• Penguins sign Alexander Nylander to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Penguins sign Rickard Rakell to a six-year, $30 million deal
• Predators sign Jimmy Huntington to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Rangers sign Libor Hájek to a one-year, $800,000 deal
• Stars sign Marian Student to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Wild signs Zane MacIntyre to a one-year, $750,000 deal

July 10

• Kings sign Adrian Kempe to four-year, $22 million deal (Link)
• Avalanche sign Alexandar Georgiev to a three-year, $10.2 million deal (Link)
• Avalanche signs Jacob MacDonald to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Lightning signs Maxime Lagacé to one-year, $750,000 deal
• Sabres sign Jacob Bryson to a two-year, $3.7 million deal

July 9

• Predators sign Filip Forsberg to eight-year, $68 million deal (Link)
• Islanders sign Otto Koivula to a two-year, $1.6 million deal
• Islanders sign Jeff Kubiak to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Islanders sign Grant Hutton to a three-year, $2.325 million deal
• Islanders sign Ken Appleby to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Islanders sign Andy Andreoff to a two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Islanders sign Sebastian Aho to a two-year, $1.65 million deal
• Islanders sign Robin Salo to a two-year, $1.6 million deal

July 8

• Flyers sign Tony DeAngelo to two-year, $10 million deal (Link)
• Red Wings sign Ville Husso to three-year, $14.25 million deal (Link)
• Capitals sign Lucas Johansen to two-year, $1.525 million deal
• Panthers sign Eetu Luostarinen to two-year, $3 million deal
• Panthers sign Lucas Carlsson to one-year, $800,000 deal
• Sabres sign Brandon Biro to two-year, $1.525 million deal

July 7

• Penguins sign Kris Letang to six-year, $36.6 million deal (Link)
• Wild signs Marc-Andre Fleury to a two-year, $7 million deal (Link)

July 6

• Blue Jackets sign Adam Boqvist to a three-year, $7.8 million deal
• Wild signs Jacob Middleton to a three-year, $7.35 million deal

July 5

• Avalanche signs Andrew Cogliano to a one-year, $1.25 million deal
• Bruins sign Kyle Keyser to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Bruins sign Nick Wolff to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Panthers sign Aleksi Heponiemi to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Penguins sign Casey DeSmith to a two-year, $3.6 million deal

July 2

• Blue Jackets sign Carson Meyer to a one-year, $750,000 deal

July 1

• Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, $19.95 million deal (Link)
• Blue Jackets sign Josh Dunne to a one-year, $874,125 deal
• Canucks sign Jack Rathbone to a two-year, $1.7 million deal
• Canucks sign Noah Juulsen to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canucks sign William Lockwood to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Kings sign Frédéric Allard to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Lightning signs Nick Paul to a seven-year, $22.05 million deal
• Rangers sign Julien Gauthier to a one-year, $800,000 deal

June 30

• Kings sign Matt Villalta to a one year, $787,500 deal
• Kraken signs Gustav Olofsson to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Sabres sign Craig Anderson to a one-year, $2 million deal
• Stars sign Riley Tufte to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Stars sign Scott Wedgewood to a two-year, $2 million deal

June 29

• Kings sign Kevin Fiala to a seven-year, $55.125 million deal (Link)
• Lightning signs Darren Raddysh to a two-year, $1,525,000 deal
• Sabres sign Sean Malone to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Stars sign Ryan Shea to a one-year, $750,000 deal

June 28

• Stars sign Joseph Cecconi to a one-year, $750,000 deal

June 27

• Canucks sign Sheldone Dries to a two-year, $1,525,000 deal
• Canucks sign John Stevens to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Canucks sign Guillaume Brisebois to a one-year, $750,000 deal
• Maple Leafs sign Timothy Liljegren to a two-year, $2.8 million deal
• Panthers sign Matt Kiersted to a two-year, $1,525,000 deal

NHL Power Rankings: Top free agents for 2022 offseason

nhl free agents
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With the NHL Free Agency starting on Wednesday we are taking an updated look at our top unrestricted free agent Power Rankings from back in May, removing the players that have already re-signed with their teams (Kris Letang, Filip Forsberg, Valeri Nichushkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Rickard Rakell) and adding some of the restricted free agents that were not given qualifying offers on Monday.

The latter list includes former Blackhawks Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik, goalie Ilya Samsonov, and winger Danton Heinen.

You might notice one name missing from the list: Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron. We made the decision to leave him out of the rankings because while his contract is technically expiring, he has made it clear that there are only two realistic options for him: Re-signing with the Boston Bruins or retirement. That does not really make him a fit here with the rest of the players on the rankings.

Which players make the cut and where do they rank?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau picked a heck of a team to have a career year and be the second-leading scorer in the NHL. Gaudreau is an incredible talent, one of the most productive players in the league, and is still at an age where he should have a lot of productive hockey ahead of him. Whether it is Calgary or somewhere else, he is going to cash in this offseason. [UPDATE: Johnny Hockey is heading to the Blue Jackets on a seven-year, $68.25 million deal.]

2. Nazem Kadri. The pro: He had an incredible season and is a really good two-way player at a premium position. The concern: He will be 32 when his next contract begins and he has never really produced at this level prior to this season. Can he duplicate that on a different team, and for how many years?

3. Evgeni Malkin. If he is healthy he is still an impact player, especially on the power play. Maybe not as dominant as he was at his peak, but you would take him on your team if given the opportunity. It seems weird imagining him in a uniform other than the Penguins but that seems to be the way this is heading after it was revealed on Monday that he is testing the open market. [UPDATE: Malkin has signed a four-year, $24.4 million extension to stay in Pittsburgh.]

4. Claude Giroux. Pretty similar to Malkin in the sense that he is not quite the player he was at his peak, but he will definitely make somebody a better hockey team. Would Philadelphia bring him back? Or does he want to take another serious run at a Stanley Cup? [UPDATE: Giroux has signed a three-year, $19.5 million deal with the Senators.]

[NHL free agency tracker 2022: Full list of offseason signings]

5. David Perron. Perron is a steady producer with a track record of being a top-line player on winning teams. Also an overlooked mean streak that some teams will probably love. It probably does not matter where he actually signs because he always finds his way back to St. Louis anyway. [UPDATE: Perron is moving on after signing a two-year, $9.5 million deal with the Red Wings.]

6. Vincent Trocheck. Trocheck is a strong second line center option. Can do everything well, good production, and solid player. The bad news: This is the type of signing in free agency that will look good for two years and then by year three or four you are wondering what you are going to do with him and his salary. [UPDATE: Trocheck is heading to the Rangers after signing a seven-year, $39.375 million deal.]

7. John Klingberg. Klingberg seems to be the type of player whose reputation will depend on who you ask and when you are asking it. His defense gets a lot of criticism, but he can provide some offense from the blue line and is a better all-around player than his critics might have you believe. But is he the player you want to build your defense around? With Letang staying in Pittsburgh he is by far the top defenseman available.

8. Ondrej Palat. Palat might sometimes get overlooked on that Tampa Bay roster, but he has been one of the top players for one of the league’s top teams for a decade. Great second or third line forward for a contender. Not sure Tampa Bay will be able to re-sign him with that salary cap situation. [UPDATE: Palat heads to New Jersey with a five-year, $30 million deal with the Devils.]

9. Andrew Copp. Outstanding defensive forward whose offensive game reached another level this season. Also had a very strong playoff showing that will boost his value for sure. [UPDATE: Copp is moving on to the Red Wings with a five-year, $28.125 million deal.]

10. Evander Kane. Kane is a good player and has been very productive in Edmonton, but when you sign him you are not just signing the player. You are signing everything that comes with the player off the ice, and his off-ice issues are well documented and quite significant (read about them here, here, here, and here). There is a reason Edmonton was able to sign him for so cheap mid-season. But like with Edmonton, it only takes one team being willing to do it. [UPDATE: Kane has re-signed in Edmonton with a four-year, $20.5 million extension.]

11. Darcy Kuemper. Finally, a goalie on the list. Kuemper had a great regular season and has a very solid resume over his career. But teams might look at what happened to Phillip Grubauer when he left Colorado and wonder what happens when a 32-year-old Kuemper is playing behind a worse team. He is leaving Colorado after the team traded for Alexandar Georgiev. [UPDATE: Kuemper signs a five-year, $26.25 million deal with the Capitals.]

12. Jack Campbell. Campbell can be very hit and miss. At times over the past two years he has looked like he put everything together, and at other times he has looked just ordinary. How much faith do you have that you are consistently getting the good version? [UPDATE: The Oilers have given Campbell a five-year, $25 million contract.]

[Related: Tkachuk, Gaudreau headline offseason questions for Flames]

13. Andre Burakovsky. Really productive player and one of the younger players on the list, so his play will probably not drop off too much right away. [UPDATE: Burakovsky heads to the Kraken on a five-year, $27.5 million contract.]

14. Nino Niederreiter. Not a superstar, but he is going to score you 20-25 goals and be a strong possession driver. That is a valuable top-six winger.

15. Ryan Strome. He ended up being a really good addition for the Rangers the past few years and a solid No. 2 center. [UPDATE: Strome heads west after inking a five-year, $25 million deal with the Ducks.]

16. Dylan Strome. There is an argument to be made that Dylan might be an even more attractive option than Ryan given his age and the fact he might be a little cheaper and a better value. It is a mild surprise that the Blackhawks did not want to retain him, but the problem might be that he is just too good for what Chicago wants to accomplish this season. [UPDATE: Strome has signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Capitals.]

17. Dominik Kubalik. Kubalik came out of nowhere with a 30-goal (in only 68 games) performance as a rookie three years ago but has not been able to match that number ever since. He does have some finishing ability and could be a good scoring option for a team that needs some depth. Like Strome, he was not given a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks. [UPDATE: Kubalik is a Red Wing after signing a two-year, $5 million deal.]

18. Max Domi. Creative playmaker with some defensive shortcomings. Good complementary player but probably not much more than that. [UPDATE: Domi heads to the Blackhawks with a one-year, $3 million deal.]

19. Reilly Smith. Very similar player to Niederreiter in terms of what to expect production wise, but maybe not quite the same level of possession driving ability. [UPDATE: Smith is staying in Las Vegas on a three-year, $15 million extension.]

20. Ilya Samsonov. Samsonov was supposed to be the Capitals’ long-term solution in goal and replace Braden Holtby. It has not worked out at all. With the trade of Vitek Vanecek and not qualifying Samsonov the Capitals are now completelly overhauling their goalie position. He might draw some strong interest in an alarmingly thin goalie market with somebody hoping he can still reach some of his potential. [UPDATE: Samsonov has signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract with the Maple Leafs.]

21. Brett Kulak. The former Montreal defenseman teams should have been trying to acquire when the Ben Chiarot bidding war happened. Nothing flashy about his play, but he is a very good mid-pairing defender. [UPDATE: Kulak moves to the Oilers with a four-year, $11 million contract.]

22. Danton Heinen. Heinen had a strong season for the Penguins, scoring a career high 18 goals. But that was probably going to drive up his price tag due to arbitration and the Penguins obviously did not want to go there, especially with the re-signing of Rickard Rakell. Good all around player with some scoring touch.

23. Mason Marchment. A late bloomer, Marchment had a really nice year for the Panthers. Can he repeat it? How much is that one year at age 26 worth on the open market? [UPDATE: Marchment is heading to Dallas after signing a four-year, $18 million deal.]

24. P.K. Subban. Still a big name, still extremely talented with the occasional “wow” moment, but not quite the consistent impact player and superstar he was in his prime.

25. Phil Kessel. Kessel is a new addition to the list with some of the other wings re-signing. He is not an elite goal scorer anymore, but he is always going to be in the lineup and while his goal scoring has started to dry up he remains an excellent playmaker. You need a specialized role for him, but he can still provide something.

NHL Power Rankings: Best free agent signings so far this offseason

NHL Power Rankings
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In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings we take a look at the best free agent signings of the offseason (so far).

While there are still a handful of top free agents still available (Nazem Kadri, John Klingberg), most of the top players have already found new homes. Some of those signings are going to work out very well. Others might not.

So let’s try to figure out which ones might be the best investments. We are limiting it this to players that signed after the opening of the free agent signing period this past Wednesday. So players that re-signed with their teams before that are excluded from the list. Also a reminder: This is not a ranking of the best players to sign. It is a ranking of the best signings, taking into account the player, production, contract term, salary cap hit, risk, and total value.

Who all makes the cut?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Johnny Gaudreau, Columbus Blue Jackets (seven years, $68.25 million). The most stunning free agent signing was also the best. Yes, most long-term free agent contracts end in a buyout or a trade. But there are always exceptions. This could very easily be an exception. Gaudreau is a top-tier offensive force and is still at an age where he should perform at an extremely level for the foreseeable future. The Blue Jackets needed a star, and they got one. Even If Gaudreau is not a 115-point player again and levels off at an 80-or 90-point level he will still be worth it.

[Related: How good can Blue Jackets be after signing Gaudreau?]

2. Claude Giroux, Ottawa Senators (three years, $19.5 million). Giroux might be getting older, but he is still an outstanding player and the Senators are getting him on a really good deal. Not too much term, reasonable salary cap hit, not much risk, and it helps round a rapidly improving Senators’ top-six. Are they a playoff team because of it? Probably not. But they are better. And more entertaining.

3. Darcy Kuemper, Washington Capitals (five years, $26.25 million). The Capitals badly needed a goalie and completely revamped the position by dumping Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek and signing Kuemper in free agency. Kuemper drew some criticism in the playoffs this year, but his overall track record in the NHL is very strong. Among goalies with at least 100 games played over the past three years, Igor Shesterkin is the only goalie with a better all situations save percentage than Kuemper’s .920.

4. Frank Vatrano, Anaheim Ducks (three years, $10.95 million). Absolutely love this signing by the Ducks. Vatrano is not a star, but he can do two things really well: Generate shots and score goals. The Panthers never should have traded him, the Rangers are going to miss him, and the Ducks got him on a nice three-year deal for just $3.6 million per year.

[Related: 2022 NHL Free Agency Tracker]

5. David Perron, Detroit Red Wings (two years, $9.5 million). Perron is getting older, but this is a really strong deal for a Red Wings team making to take a big leap forward. He is a legit top-line winger and the Red Wings have almost no risk on a two-year contract.

6. Andrew Copp, Detroit Red Wings (five years, $28.25 million) . This deal reminds me a lot of the Philip Danault signing in Los Angeles a year ago. Similar term, player, cap hit, and team situation. I like Copp over somebody like, say, Vincent Trocheck because he is a year younger, better defensively, and has a term that is two years shorter.

7. Vincent Trocheck, New York Rangers (seven years, $39.375 million). Trocheck is a very good player and will be a nice second-line center for the Rangers. But this is also the type of free agency contract I hate and the type that should scare the heck out of you as a fan of a team. A seven-year term for a soon-to-be 30-year-old non-star is not going to end well. Also, the Rangers had to watch Copp, Ryan Strome, and Vatrano all leave to make this signing happen. Does that make them a better team?

8. Andre Burakovsky, Seattle Kraken (five years, $27.5 million). Good player on an okay contract, but I do wonder what the overall plan is here for Seattle? Just a weird approach from the very beginning. How will he produce away from the high powered Avalanche offense?

9. Ryan Strome, Anaheim Ducks (five years, $25 million). Strome averaged a 22-goal, 60-point pace per 82 games during his time with the Rangers and was a legit second-line center offensively. He has had some shortcomings defensively at times, but if he repeats what he did in New York with the Ducks he will be a fine addition.

10. Dylan Strome, Washington Capitals (one year, $3.5 million). What I love about this deal is just how cheap it is. One year and only $3.5 million? For a player that will probably a produce a similar level of offense as Copp or Trocheck down the middle? He might be a half-tier below those two as overall players, but the price is certainly right as they look to get by without Nicklas Backstrom.

11. Mason Marchment, Dallas Stars (four years, $18 million). If he is just a late-bloomer and his 2021-22 season was not a fluke this contract could be one of the best signed all summer. But he has so little NHL track record to go by it is tough to be fully convinced of that.

12. Ondrej Palat, New Jersey Devils (five years, $30 million). He is not Johnny Gaudreau or Alex DeBrincat, but Palat is a strong top-six addition to a Devils team that badly needs some complementary players for Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier. In the short-term, at least. How many more years does he have as a top-six producer?

13. Calle Jarnkrok, Toronto Maple Leafs (four years, $8.4 million). Jarnkrok is one of the steadiest players you will find in the NHL in terms of what he brings. He will score 15 goals, 30 points, play good defense, and be a really solid third-line player. The four-year term is maybe a year too long, but you can not beat the salary cap number.

14. Brett Kulak, Edmonton Oilers (four years, $11 million). Kulak is not going to carry the Oilers’ defense, but he was very good after being acquired at the trade deadline and this is a very strong re-sign by the Oilers after he went to market. In a thin defense crop, the Oilers did well.

15. Dominik Kubalik, Detroit Red Wings (two years, $5.5 million). This is a nice gamble for the Red Wings. Kubalik has his flaws, but he does have some finishing ability as a goal scorer even if it it peaked as a rookie. The price is right for this.

16. Ilya Mikheyev, Vancouver Canucks (four years, $19 million). The Canucks always have a couple of random players in the middle of their lineup making far more than you realize for too many years. This one might continue that trend. Mikheyev does a lot of things well, but I am not sure he is going to score 20 goals again.

17. Jack Campbell, Edmonton Oilers (five years, $25 million). Just not sure how much I trust Campbell to be the answer behind a weak defensive team. That contract is concerning.

18. Josh Manson, Colorado Avalanche (four years, $18 million). Manson was a good addition for Colorado at the trade deadline, but this also seems like a luxury re-signing (and maybe even an overpay) for a team that is already loaded on defense.

19. Jan Rutta, Pittsburgh Penguins (three years, $8.25 million). The Penguins really tried to overhaul their defense this offseason and it started with the Rutta addition. He is not going to be one of their top defenders, but given what players like Erik Gudbranson and Ben Chiarot signed for this is not a bad deal for what the Penguins will expect of him.

20. Justin Schultz, Seattle Kraken (two years, $6 million). Another bizarre move for Seattle, but again, given the market for other defenders it is not a terrible deal.