It did not take lengthy for the bubble to start bursting on the Tampa Bay Lightning‘s Stanley Cup celebration.
The results of a flat wage cap took its toll on the Lightning lower than two weeks after successful their second Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay bid farewell to defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who signed with Anaheim, and the staff was pressured to position middle Tyler Johnson on waivers because the NHL’s free company interval opened Friday.
Within the meantime, the league’s larger profile free brokers comparable to defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and winger Taylor Hall, remained available on the market with a $81.5 million cap – unchanged from final yr – including a layer of uncertainty to a coronavirus pandemic-altered financial system.
”It is a bit of a brand new world proper now with the flat cap and the income scenario,” Minnesota Wild normal supervisor Invoice Guerin stated. ”You do not wish to threat something too lengthy on both aspect as a result of it simply won’t make sense.”
It appeared to make sense for the St. Louis Blues to successfully finish the Alex Pietrangelo period by signing defensemen Torey Krug to a $45.5 million, seven-year deal Friday evening. Krug will rely $6.5 million in opposition to the wage cap by way of the 2026-27 season.
That was cash probably earmarked for Pietrangelo, a homegrown Blues product, who was captain once they gained the Stanley Cup in 2019. Krug famously delivered a helmetless hit throughout that ultimate whereas taking part in for Boston.
Suitors for Pietrangelo have been reduce down by St. Louis signing Krug and the Toronto Maple Leafs inking T.J. Brodie to a $20 million, four-year deal. Vegas cleared cap house to take a swing, although Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon on Friday evening refused to reply a query about Pietrangelo as a result of he is not on the roster.
Whereas the market was comfortable for skaters, it was very energetic for goaltenders as a long-anticipated shuffle materialized within the first hours of free company.
Jacob Markstrom left Vancouver to signal a six-year, $36 million contract with the Calgary Flames. The Canucks changed Markstrom by signing Braden Holtby to a two-year, $8.6 million contract. The 2016 Vezina Trophy winner spent his first 10 seasons in Washington, the place he helped the Capitals win the Cup in 2018.
Henrik Lundqvist signed a one-year contract with Washington, two weeks after having his contract purchased out by the New York Rangers.
The Wild shortly addressed their goaltending wants after buying and selling Devan Dubnyk to San Jose, by signing Cam Talbot signing a three-year, $11 million deal. Anton Khudobin, who backstopped the Dallas Stars run to the Stanley Cup Remaining, is staying put in Dallas after signing a three-year, $10 million contract.
Amongst skaters, Shattenkirk agreed to a three-year deal that an individual accustomed to the scenario advised The Related Press was value $11.7 million. The individual spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of the financial phrases weren’t disclosed.
The Lightning entered the offseason projected to have about $4.5 million of room beneath the cap, additionally misplaced ahead Carter Verhaeghe, who signed with Florida. As for Johnson, who had 4 targets and 7 factors in 25 playoff video games, he was positioned on waivers with three years remaining on a seven-year, $35 million contract that features a no-trade clause.
The flat cap led to a flood of gamers hitting the market. They included numerous restricted free brokers, whose rights weren’t retained as a result of groups feared what contracts these gamers may very well be awarded in arbitration.
Capitals normal supervisor Brian MacLellan stated the wage crunch was motive behind why a number of the larger profile gamers had been nonetheless obtainable.
”You noticed some groups clear some cap house, so I am assuming it is fairly aggressive on these huge names proper now,” MacLellan stated. ”I feel as soon as the larger names go down, I feel it will loosen up or may decelerate after that. I feel it is nonetheless going fairly laborious proper now.”
The Vegas Golden Knights had been a type of groups in kicking off the day by buying and selling Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets. In releasing the ultimate yr of Stastny’s contract and $5.5 million cap hit, Vegas acquired defenseman Carl Dahlstrom and a conditional 2022 fourth-round draft decide.
The commerce was a reversal from two years in the past, when the Jets had little room to maneuver beneath the wage cap, and had been unable to re-sign Stastny after being outbid by the Golden Knights.
”It is 2020. that is the way you sum it up, proper?” Stastny stated of his sudden return to Winnipeg. ”You all the time need to anticipated the sudden. And when stuff like this occurs, you all the time need to be prepared to maneuver on and brace for the subsequent problem that comes forward.”
Holtby was relieved to discover a touchdown spot.
”All the things’s totally different this yr,” he stated. ”It isn’t an expertise that I feel is enjoyable, not understanding and all that. I am excited to have it over now.”
In Washington, Lundqvist is altering uniforms after 15 seasons in New York, the place he gained the Vezina Trophy in 2011.
After years of tormenting Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals within the playoffs, he’ll attempt to assist them win it once more on the tail finish of his illustrious time within the NHL whereas sharing the duties with Ilya Samsonov.
”It is type of loopy,” Lundqvist stated of being teammates with Ovechkin. ”It was humorous to name him the opposite day. He is been so enjoyable to play in opposition to due to how good he’s, however he is additionally a personality on the ice, so I stay up for now be on the identical staff.”
In different strikes:
– The rebuilding Detroit Crimson Wings agreed to a one-year $1 million cope with 33-year-old winger Bobby Ryan, who’s hoping to revive his profession after battling alcohol points. Ryan missed greater than two months of final season in Ottawa after coming into the NHL/NHLPA gamers help program in November, 2019.
– Veteran ahead Wayne Simmonds was among the many first free brokers to signal, reaching a one-year $1.5 million cope with the Maple Leafs. The 12-year veteran break up final season between New Jersey and Buffalo.
– The Rangers agreed to signal defenseman Jack Johnson, who had the ultimate three years of his contract purchased out by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
– The Blackhawks agreed to signal rookie of the yr finalist Dominik Kubalik to a two-year, $7.Four million contract extension. With beginning goalie Corey Crawford leaving for New Jersey in free company, the Blackhawks additionally signed goalie Malcolm Subban to a two-year, $1.7 million contract. The 35-year-old Crawford agreed to a two-year, $7.Eight million cope with the Devils.
– The Senators and newly acquired goalie Matt Murray agreed to two-year, $25 million deal. The Senators traded ahead prospect Jonathan Gruden and the 52nd decide this yr to Pittsburgh to get Murray on Wednesday.
AP Hockey Writers Larry Lage and Stephen Whyno, and AP freelancer Denis Gorman contributed to this report.
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