After nearly $800MM in contracts was handed out on the first day of free agency, and another $133MM the next, things have finally started to quiet down. Just 14 of our top 50 free agents are still available, and several of those names are expected to already be in agreement with the New York Islanders–who will release contract details when they’re good and ready.
Though a few more deals may come down the pipe, the true difference-makers are almost all spoken for. So who had the best free agent frenzy?
The Boston Bruins were unable to convince David Krejci to return, with the veteran forward deciding to head back to the Czech Republic instead, but they still had a pretty impressive haul. Nick Foligno, Erik Haula, Linus Ullmark, Derek Forbort, and Tomas Nosek all should figure into their NHL plans for next season, giving the team some pretty impressive depth options behind the still-imposing core.
The New Jersey Devils added the best player on the market in Dougie Hamilton, bringing in a veteran goaltender in Jonathan Bernier as well. That young core will now be asked to turn the corner from rebuilding to contender, given how much money the front office doled out. The Carolina Hurricanes meanwhile used the space created by Hamilton’s departure to add several players, including a brand new goalie tandem of Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. Fan-favorite Jordan Martinook is also back after seeing what else was out there on the open market.
Ryan Suter may already be 36, but he was chased by several teams before the Dallas Stars landed him on a four-year deal. Dallas also brought in Braden Holtby, Luke Glendening, Jani Hakanpaa and Michael Raffl in a strong showing. While that certainly doesn’t make their roster any younger, it does provide some added depth to a team that was in the Stanley Cup Final in 2020.
The Edmonton Oilers spent a lot of money, bringing in Zach Hyman, Cody Ceci, and Derek Ryan, while re-signing Tyson Barrie, but some will still argue they aren’t improved enough. Time will tell on the decision to go back to a Mike Smith–Mikko Koskinen goaltending tandem while spending the cap space elsewhere–unless of course, GM Ken Holland makes a trade to further solidify the crease.
Adding David Savard, Mike Hoffman, Cedric Paquette and Mathieu Perreault to a roster in Montreal that just made the finals will excite fans, but the Canadiens were also forced to bid adieu to Philipp Danault. It’s tough to know if Montreal has done enough to contend for the Stanley Cup again, or if the loss of captain Shea Weber will be devastating to their overall play.
There are several other teams who could be in the mix for the “winners”, including the Seattle Kraken who shelled out more than $75MM on three players, and the St. Louis Blues who replaced some outgoing talent by signing Brandon Saad on day two, but who do you think had the best free agent frenzy? Cast your vote below and make sure to leave a comment explaining your thoughts.
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