NHL Free Agency Day One: The Flood Gates Have Opened
Updated: Oct 10, 2020
It's here! NHL Free Agency 2020 is officially upon us, and it's chock-full of big, recognizable names, even for the most fair weather hockey fan. While the two biggest names in Alex Pietrangelo and Taylor Hall remain on the board still, there has been plenty of money being thrown around today from teams all around the league. For the sake of time, I'm only going to cover the bigger, more impactful signings from day one of free agency. Get buckled in, folks.
St. Louis Blues
Signed: Torey Krug - D - Seven year, $45,500,000
Our first big name free-agent is officially off the board! Krug signed a seven year, $45.5 contract with the St. Louis Blues. You had to have suspected St. Louis to be on the hunt for a solid defenseman, since Alex Pietrangelo decided to test free-agency. While Krug might be considered a downgrade from Pietrangelo, he is still a top 10 defenseman in the league, and one of the premier names in this year's free-agent class. Krug had 49 points on 9 goals and 40 assists during the 2019-20 season. Krug also ranked 6th in the league last season in power play points, with 28, so look out for St. Louis' special teams next year.
Signed: Jacob Markstrom - G - Six years, $36,000,000
Jacob Markstrom was one of the better goalies in this year's free-agent class, (and we all know just how stuffed with goalies the free-agent market is this year) but after a wild ride during the recent Stanley Cup Playoffs, Vancouver seems to be looking toward the future. Thatcher Demko will likely be taking over in net for the Canucks this upcoming season, and after Markstrom's very impressive playoff run, it only made sense for him to test free-agency. His stock is at a career high, and he netted himself a sizeable contract with the Calgary Flames.
Signed: Anton Khudobin - G - Three years, $10,000,000
Another top goalie name off the board early. Not surprisingly, the Dallas Stars offered Khudobin a nice, team friendly contract after he played a major role in the Stars first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 20 years. While Khudobin was stellar in the bubble during the playoffs, he still might be serving as a backup to Ben Bishop. I'll be curious to see how Dallas handles their goaltending situation as the season progresses.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Signed: Wayne Simmonds - RW - One year, $1,500,000
Wayne Simmonds is heading home. After spending a majority of his career with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Ontario native spent the last three years bouncing from team to team. Toronto has a lot to figure out. On paper, the Maple Leafs are one of the top teams in the east. But they seem to fall flat on their face's once the postseason rolls around. Expect Toronto to make a lot of noise this off-season.
Signed: Braden Holtby - G - Two years, $8,600,000
Vancouver lost their veteran goalie presence when Jacob Markstrom signed a deal with the Calgary Flames. Almost as fast as Markstrom left, the Canucks replaced him. Incoming: Braden Holtby. The 2018 Stanley Cup Champion has only ever played for one franchise - the Washington Capitals. After a disappointing performance in the 2019-20 playoffs, Washington's front office announced that they were going to let Holtby test free-agency. Holtby had perhaps one of his worst seasons ever last year, posting a career low in goals against average (3.11) and save percentage (.897) Holtby has a lot to prove this upcoming season. He's joining a good squad over in Vancouver, where they are sure to be one of the top teams coming out of the west.
Signed: Henrik Lundqvist - G - One year, $1,500,000
This one hurts. I almost have nothing to say here. After being bought out by the New York Rangers last week, Lundqvist made it clear that his career was not over, and that he was still hungry to win. Lundqvist spent the last 15 years as New York's starting goaltender, where he dominated the league; earning himself a nickname as "The King." Well, the only thing King Henrik hasn't achieved so far in his career, is getting his name etched on the Stanley Cup. He came very close in 2014, but the Rangers were ultimately defeated in the Stanley Cup Final by the Los Angeles Kings. Lundqvist has been hungry for victory ever since. Hopefully he can get it done one day. Don't talk to me about it.
For a full list of free-agent signings, big and small, check out the official free-agent tracker on NHL.com.
Let me know which free-agent you would like to see join your team this off-season! Follow me on Twitter for all your NHL related news and rumors. @NY_cth