There was lots of buzz around the NHL for the first day of free agency and the 2019-20 season, and lots of moves made within the Central Division.
Here’s a rundown of the signings and trades made within the Blackhawks’ division. To catch up on all the moves made by Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman, go here.
Colorado GM Joe Sakic made the biggest trade splash of the day by sending his top offensive defender in Tyson Barrie, forward Alexander Kerfoot and a 2020 sixth-round pick to the Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Nazem Kadri, Calle Rosen and a 2020 third-round pick. The Avalanche also added Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on a two-year deal with a $1.8 million salary cap hit to help stabilize the penalty kill and fourth line, and Joonas Donskoi on a three-year contract worth $3.9 million per season. Colorado also signed forward Colin Wilson to a one-year extension for $2.6 million.
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov left Colorado for a four-year, $5 million deal with the Islanders. Defenseman Patrik Nemeth also left and signed a two-year contract for $2.5 million per season with the Red Wings.
IN: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Joonas Donskoi, Nazem Kadri, Calle Rosen, 2020 third-round pick
OUT: Tyson Barrie, Alexander Kerfoot, Patrik Nemeth, Semyon Varlamov, 2020 sixth-round pick
Normally there’s some turnover for the team that comes out on top of the Stanley Cup Final, but this wasn’t the case for the Blues. Forward Pat Maroon, a St. Louis area native, isn’t expected to return.
Sammy Blais did re-sign with the Blues with a one-year deal at $850,000.
St. Louis also brought in six players on two-way contracts with forwards Nick Lappin, Evan Polei, Michael Vecchione and Nathan Walker and defensemen Derrick Pouliot and Jake Dotchin.
IN: Jake Dotchin, Nick Lappin, Evan Polei, Derek Pouliot, Michael Vecchione, Nathan Walker
The Jets laid low like the Blues, but also saw three players leave. Forward Brandon Tanev signed a six-year deal for $3.5 million per season after a career year with 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists). Defenseman Tyler Myers also cashed in with a five-year, $30 million contract with the Canucks. Par Lindholm, who was acquired at the trade deadline, joined his third NHL team with a two-year, $850,000 deal with the Bruins.
Winnipeg didn’t tender a qualifying offer to defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, but re-signed him anyway to a $1 million deal for one-year.
IN: Nathan Beaulieu
The Predators landed forward Matt Duchene, who left the Blue Jackets after being acquired at the trade deadline and helping Columbus win its first playoff series in franchise history with a surprising sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Lightning. Duchene signed a seven-year, $56 million contract with Nashville, who created space for the deal by moving defenseman P.K. Subban to the Devils at the NHL draft.
Nashville also scooped up Daniel Carr, who was the AHL regular-season MVP for the Chicago Wolves with 71 points (30 goals, 41 assists).
IN: Matt Duchene, Daniel Carr
OUT: Wayne Simmonds
The Stars added two 34-year-old veterans that have been faces of two Pacific Division teams with Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry. Pavelski signed a three-year, $21 million contract after leaving the Sharks and Perry, who was bought out by the Ducks, inked a bonus-laden one-year, $1.5 million deal. Perry, a 2006-07 Stanley Cup champion, will look to prove he can still produce at a high level in his first full season back from surgery on a torn meniscus and MCL injury. Pavelski is still seeking his first Cup.
Jason Spezza, 36, left Dallas for the Maple Leafs on a one-year, $700,000 contract as he looks to win his first title.
The Stars signed three players older than 30 years old, but also let one walk in 31-year-old Mats Zuccarello, who signed a five-year contract worth $30 million. Dallas acquired Zuccarello at the trade deadline and was injured in his first game with the Stars — in Chicago — and played one more regular-season game before putting up 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 13 playoff games. He too is also a veteran player looking for his first championship.
The Wild also added former Blackhawks forward and first-round pick Ryan Hartman on a two-year, $3.8 million contract. Hartman’s journey to Minnesota was interesting as he was on vacation and off the grid when he was traded from the Flyers to the Stars then not tendered a qualifying offer making him a free agent. Hartman, however, said he was in contact with his agent via a satellite phone and aware of his status the whole time. The Wild will be the third Central Division team for Hartman since 2018.
Hartman will be joined by his former Rockford IceHogs teammate Luke Johnson in Minnesota after Johnson inked a two-year, two-way deal. Johnson will look to earn a full-time roster spot after playing in 15 NHL games last season with Chicago.
Which one of the Blackhawks’ Central Division opponents improved the most on the first day of free agency?
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