On day one of the free agent market opening up, the league saw a grand total of 166 signings, with a whopping $646.4MM handed out over the course of 291 total contract years. This class of free agents was expected to be one of the weaker in recent memory, but the excitement still remained as quite a few players switched cities. In all the chaos, there were some minor contracts that were inked yesterday that may have slipped under the radar for most:
- The Montreal Canadiens signed defenseman Brady Keeper to a one-year, $775K, two-way contract. Keeper spent last season playing for the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. He only managed to play for about half of the Canucks games, scoring one goal and five assists in 35 games. In the playoffs, although eliminated in the first round, Keeper scored one goal in two games for Abbotsford (CapFriendly).
- Defenseman Ryan Shea has inked a one-year, $775K, two-way contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Shea was a former fourth-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks back in 2015, but never actually signed with the team, joining the Dallas Stars on an entry-level contract in 2020. The Northeastern University product played a combined 162 games for the Texas Stars of the AHL, scoring 10 goals and 56 assists (CapFriendly).
- The Washington Capitals signed forward, Pierrick Dube, to a two-year, $1.9MM, entry-level contract yesterday. An undrafted free agent last year, Dube joined the Laval Rocket, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. Dube played very well for the Rocket, scoring 16 goals and 16 assists in 44 games down the stretch. Still only 22 years old, Dube could factor into one of the top lines on the Hershey Bears next season, potentially even finding minutes with the Capitals in the near future (CapFriendly).
- Another depth signing for the Penguins, the team has added forward Joona Koppanen to a two-year, $1.55MM, two-way contract. Koppanen was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Draft, playing the majority of his career up to this point with the Providence Bruins. Last season, Koppanen did get his first change in the NHL, playing five games for the Bruins in January, tallying only one assist while averaging just under 11 minutes of ice time a game (CapFriendly).
- The Florida Panthers re-signed defenseman Lucas Carlsson to a one-year, $775K, two-way contract yesterday. The defenseman was acquired in 2021 from the Blackhawks in an early-April trade. Although playing in 40 games during 2021-22 for Florida, Carlsson spent the majority of last season with their AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers. In the minor leagues, Carlsson was one of the highest-scoring defensemen in the league, scoring 20 goals and 34 assists in 61 games (CapFriendly).
- Securing his first contract in professional hockey, the Edmonton Oilers have added defenseman Noel Hoefenmayer to a one-year, $845K, entry-level contract. A former fourth-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes back in 2017, Hoefenmayer never played in the Coyotes system, eventually playing on minor-league contracts with the Toronto Marlies after finishing his junior career with the Ottawa 67’s. Hoefenmayer played quite well for the Marlies, scoring 11 goals and 27 assists in 65 games last season (CapFriendly).
- Returning back to North American hockey after spending the last two seasons playing for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League, the Montreal Canadiens veteran forward Philippe Maillet to a one-year, $775K, two-way contract. Already 30 years old, Maillet has spent parts of his career with the Capitals and Los Angeles Kings organizations before finally making the jump overseas in 2021-22. In 66 games played for Metallurg last season, Maillet scored 22 goals and 31 assists (CapFriendly).
- The recipient of the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy from the 2023 Calder Cup playoffs, Hunter Shepard, has signed a two-year, $1.55MM, two-way contract to remain with the Capitals organization. Shepard was sensational en route to the Hershey Bears winning the 2023 Calder Cup, managing a 14-6-0 record throughout the playoffs, carrying a 2.27 GAA and a .914 SV% (CapFriendly).