Yesterday the NHL opened up its Free Agency window. The air was tense expecting fireworks, and all and all it wasn’t the worst first day we have had. Some big names signed some huge silly deals. Some teams benefited from it other not as much. The key points are as follows.

Artemi Panarin signed with the New York Rangers for seven years to the tune of 11.6 Million dollars a season. He will be expected to be the man in New York, but will most likely play on a line with Dan Krieder and Kappo Kakko. This a big short cut in the Rangers rebuild. Fingers crossed The Bread Man can continue to produce at a high level.

Matt Duchene is a Predator. This was the guy the Preds were chasing since the beginning of last year and they finally got their man. They had to give up P.K. Subban to make it work. I don’t know if the country music man is enough to get them into a Cup Final. Ultimately their goaltending is aging, and their elite back end lost a big piece. 

Sergei Bobrovsky did end up signing in Florida to the tune of 10 million dollars for seven seasons. If you go onto the Florida Panthers Hockey Reference page at the top of the page is a list of the franchise’s greatest players. The first three guys are goalies, I guess now you can make it four.

The Panthers didn’t just add the best goalie on the free agent market, they also added a top four dman in Anton Stralman, a depth winger in Brett Connolly, and a depth defenceman in Noel Acciari. The Panthers didn’t get Panarin but they did get better.

The Dallas Stars signed two huge names in this free agency class. Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry. Are they both over thirty? Yes. Are they all on their last NHL Contracts? Yes. Did they just build the best second line in hockey? Probably. If you want to know more about my feelings on the Stars Bandwagon you can read it here.

The other goalies in this class were Robin Lehner now of the Chicago Blackhawks, Semyon Varlamov now of the New York Islanders, and Peter Mrazek still of the Carolina Hurricanes. Lehner to Chicgao is a nice insurance/future to Corey Crawford. Varlamov is a good goaltender. A guy who can steal games, an athletic goalie, a guy who for the better part of his career has never played in a true defensive system. If Berry Trotz can resurrect Robin Lehner into a Venezia candidate he is gonna have a field day with Varly. Mrazek stays in Carolina whose future depends squarely on the shoulders of Sabastion Aho.

Yesterday the Montreal Canadians extend an offer sheet to Carolina Hurricanes franchise player Sebastian Aho. We got an offer sheet, and we got a gutsy one at that. The Aho contract is manageable for any team. In fact after what some of the people got paid yesterday it is a steal. It should be an easy match for Carolina. What Marc Bergevin did is go right up to the line, by offering a contract that fits neatly under one stipulation of the offer sheets rules. It’s a gutsy call, he is basically rolling the dice on the idea that the Carolina franchise is broke.

Finally the Toronto Maple Leafs have not addressed their Mitch Marner problem, but they have addressed their blue line via trade. In the past twenty four hours adding Cody Ceci and Tyson Barrie to their back line. To quote one Paul Bissonnette, “is that good?’ yes Biz it is very good.

The summer landscape I believe will still be shifting for some time. I think some of the more cap strapped teams are going to make some moves to either freshen their lineups or clear space to sign some of the still pending RFA or available UFAs. 

No matter what this has been one of the better July 1st in sometime, and the NHL landscape has been drastically altered.

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Written by elsass77

Video Producer for Thoughts From The Bench

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