Blue Jackets re-sign Werenski to monster 6-year, $57.5 million contract

The Columbus Blue Jackets have had a problem retaining star players over the years. It seemed possible that Zach Werenski could be the next to be on the move in the not too distant future. Well you can forget about that for now because on Thursday night the Blue Jackets announced the team has signed Werenski to a whopping six-year, $57.5 million contract that will make him one of the highest paid defensemen in the entire NHL.

The $9.583 million salary cap hit is the third largest among NHL defenseman, trailing only Erik Karlsson and Drew Doughty.

He is under contract for this season at a $5 million salary cap hit with his new deal kicking in for the start of the 2022-23 season.

The signing comes just a week after the Blue Jackets traded his long-time defense partner, Seth Jones, to the Chicago Blackhawks where he promptly signed an eight-year contract that pays him $9.5 million per season.

[Related: Every free agent signing by all 32 NHL teams]

Werenksi appeared in 35 games for the Blue Jackets this past season, scoring seven goals to go with 13 assists. During the first five years of his career he has already proven to be one of the best offensive-minded defensemen in the entire NHL. Based on that they were always going to have to pay to keep him, but there had to be added incentive and pressure to make sure he stayed in Columbus after so many other players before him have left town.

Is it an overpay by the Blue Jackets? Maybe. But Werenski is an outstanding player, the Blue Jackets have the salary cap space, and they needed to keep a star.

The contract reportedly has a full no-movement clause in years two through five of the contract, while the sixth year includes a modified no-trade clause.

NHL Free Agency 2021: Every signing by all 32 teams

It’s time for NHL Free Agency! The offseason is under way and with the market opening July 28 there will be plenty of action this summer. Some teams have already been busy getting their 2021-22 rosters in order. Check back here for all of the signings that teams will be making in hopes of improving their chances at winning the 2022 Stanley Cup.

NHL Free Agency Signings

July 29

• Blues sign Matthew Peca to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Blues sign Brandon Saad to a five-year, $22.5 million deal.
• Penguins sign Michael Chaput to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Lightning signs Corey Perry to a two-year, $1 million deal.
• Sabres sign Ethan Prow to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Sabres sign John Hayden to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Stars sign Michael Raffl to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.
• Stars sign Jani Hakanpaa to a three-year, $4.5 million deal.

July 28

• Bruins sign Linus Ullmark to a four-year, $20 million deal. (Link)
• Canucks sign Jaroslav Halak to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. (Link)
• Devils sign Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year, $63 million deal. (Link)
• Golden Knights sign Alec Martinez to three-year, $15.74 million deal. (Link)
• Hurricanes sign Frederik Andersen to a two-year, $9 million deal. (Link)
• Hurricanes sign Tony DeAngelo to a one-year, $1 million deal.(Link)
• Kings sign Phillip Danault to a six-year, $33.5 million deal. (Link)
• Kings sign Alex Edler to a one-year, $3.5 million deal. (Link)
• Kraken signs Alexander Wennberg to a three-year, $13.5 million deal. (Link)
• Kraken signs Philipp Grubauer to a six-year, $35.4 million deal. (Link)
• Kraken signs Jaden Schwartz to a five-year, $27.5 million deal. (Link)
• Lightning signs Brayden Point to an eight-year, $76 million deal. (Link)
• Maple Leafs sign Petr Mrazek to a three-year, $11.4 million deal. (Link)
• Oilers sign Zach Hyman to a seven-year, $38.5 million deal. (Link)
• Oilers sign Tyson Barrie to a three-year, $13.5 million deal. (Link)
• Oilers sign Cody Ceci to a four-year, $13 million deal. (Link)
• Stars sign Ryan Suter to a four-year, $14.6 million deal. (Link)
• Wild signs Alex Goligoski to a one-year, $5 million deal. (Link)
• Avalanche signs Roland McKeown to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Blackhawks sign Jujhar Khaira to a two-year, $1.95 million deal.
• Blackhawks sign Jake McCabe to a four-year, $16 million deal.
• Blue Jackets sign Eric Robinson to a two-year, $3.2 million deal.
• Blue Jackets sign Boone Jenner to a four-year, $15 million deal.
• Blue Jackets sign Sean Kuraly to a four-year, $10 million deal.
• Blue Jackets sign Alexandre Texier to a two-year, $3.05 million deal.
• Blue Jackets sign Tyler Sikura to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Blue Jackets sign Gavin Bayreuther to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Bruins sign Nick Foligno to a two-year, $3.8 million deal.
• Bruins sign Derek Forbort to a three-year, $9 million deal.
• Bruins sign Erik Haula to a two-year, $4.75 million deal.
• Bruins sign Tomas Nosek to a two-year, $3.5 million deal.
• Bruins sign Troy Grosenick to a one year, $750,000 deal.
• Bruins sign Samuel Asselin to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Bruins sign Steven Fogarty to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Bruins sign Tyler Lewington to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Canadiens sign David Savard to a four-year, $14 million deal.
• Canadiens sign Mike Hoffman to three-year, $13.5 million deal.
• Canadiens sign Louie Belpedio to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Canadiens sign Chris Wideman to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Canadiens sign Cedric Paquette to a one-year, $950,000 deal.
• Canadiens sign Jean-Sébastien Dea to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Canucks sign Brandon Sutter to a one-year, $1.125 million deal.
• Canucks sign Luke Schenn to a two-year, $1.7 million deal.
• Canucks sign Kyle Burroughs to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Canucks sign Nic Petan to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Canucks sign Brad Hunt to a one-year, $800,000 deal.
• Canucks sign Devante Stephens to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Canucks sign Sheldon Dries to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Canucks sign John Stevens to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Canucks sign Sheldon Rempal to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Canucks sign Justin Bailey to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Canucks sign Justin Dowling to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Canucks sign Travis Hamonic to a two-year, $6 million deal.
• Canucks sign Phil Di Giuseppe to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Canucks sign Tucker Poolman to a four-year, $10 million deal.
• Canucks sign Danila Klimovich to a three-year, $2.775 million deal.
• Canucks sign Brady Keeper to a two-year, $1.525 million deal.
• Capitals sign Hunter Shepard to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Capitals sign Dylan McIlrath to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Capitals sign Lucas Johansen to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Capitals sign Matt Irwin to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Coyotes sign Liam O’Brien to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Coyotes sign Ryan Dzingel to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.
• Coyotes sign Carter Hutton to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Coyotes sign Dmitrij Jaškin to a one-year, $3.2 million deal.
• Ducks sign Ryan Getzlaf to a one-year, $4.5 million deal.
• Ducks sign Brogan Rafferty to a one-year, $750K deal.
• Devils sign Jonathan Bernier to a two-year, $8.25 million deal.
• Devils sign Chase DeLeo to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Devils sign Brian Flynn to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Flames sign Blake Coleman to a six-year, $29.4 million deal.
• Flames sign Trevor Lewis to a one-year, $800,000 deal.
• Flames sign Kevin Gravel to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Flames sign Nick DeSimone to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Flames sign Adam Werner to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Flyers sign Nate Thompson to a one-year, $800,000 deal.
• Flyers sign Adam Clendening to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Flyers sign Nick Seeler to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Flyers sign Cooper Zech to a two-year, $1.75 million deal.
• Flyers sign Ryan Fitzgerald to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Flyers sign Gerald Mayhew to a one-year, $800,000 deal.
• Golden Knights sign Laurent Brossoit to a two-year, $4.65 million deal.
• Golden Knights sign Mattias Janmark to a one-year, $2 million deal.
• Golden Knights sign Sven Baertschi to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Golden Knights sign Patrick Brown to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Golden Knights sign Gage Quinney to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Hurricanes sign Antti Raanta to a two-year, $4 million deal.
• Hurricanes sign Josh Leivo to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Hurricanes sign C.J. Smith to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Hurricanes sign Ian Cole to a one-year, $2.9 million deal.
• Hurricanes sign Jordan Martinook to a three-year, $5.4 million deal.
• Jets sign Luke Johnson to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Jets sign Michael Eyssimont to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Kings sign Andreas Athanasiou to a one-year, $2.7 million deal.
• Kings sign T.J. Tynan to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Kings sign Alex Edler to a one-year, $3.5 million deal.
• Kings sign Garret Sparks to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Lightning signs Remi Elie to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Lightning signs Charles Hudon to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Lightning signs Brian Elliott to a one-year, $900,000 deal.
• Lightning signs Zach Bogosian to a three-year, $2.55 deal.
• Lightning signs Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year, $2 million deal.
• Lightning signs Andrej Sustr to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Lightning signs Darren Raddysh to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Lightning signs Maxim Legace to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Maple Leafs sign Michael Bunting to a two-year, $1.9 million deal.
• Maple Leafs sign David Kampf to a two-year, $3 million deal.
• Maple Leafs sign Michael Amadio to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Maple Leafs sign Carl Dahlstrom to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Maple Leafs sign Alex Biega to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Maple Leafs sign Kurtis Gabriel to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Oilers sign Derek Ryan to a two-year, $2.5 million deal.
• Panthers sign Maxim Mamim to a one-year, $975,000 deal.
• Panthers sign Juho Lammikko to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Panthers sign Carter Verhaeghe to a three-year, $12.5 million deal.
• Panthers sign Christopher Gibson to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Penguins sign Evan Rodrigues to a one-year, $1 million deal.
• Penguins sign Brock McGinn to a four-year, $11 million deal.
• Penguins sign Dominik Simon to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Penguins sign Taylor Fedun to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Penguins sign Filip Lindberg to a two-year, $1.85 deal.
• Predators sign Mikael Granlund to a four-year, $20 million deal.
• Predators sign David Rittich to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.
• Predators sign Anthony Richard to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Predators sign Matt Luff to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Predators sign Zachary L’Heureux to a three-year, $2.775 million deal.
• Predators sign Michael McCarron to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Predators sign Matt Tennyson to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Rangers sign Patrik Nemeth to a three-year, $7.5 million deal.
• Rangers sign Jarred Tinordi to a two-year, $1.8 million deal.
• Rangers sign Greg McKegg to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Rangers sign Dryden Hunt to a two-year, $1.525 million deal.
• Red Wings sign Sam Gagner to a one-year, $850,000 deal.
• Red Wings sign Calvin Rickard to a one-year, $800,000 deal.
• Red Wings sign Jordan Oesterle to a two-year, $2.7 million deal.
• Red Wings sign Pius Suter to a two-year, $6.25 million deal.
• Sabres sign Vinnie Hinostroza to a one-year, $1.05 million deal.
• Sabres sign Aaron Dell to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Sabres sign Brandon Davidson to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Sabres sign Sean Malone to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Sabres sign Craig Anderson to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Sabres sign Mark Pysyk to a one-year, $900,000 deal.
• Sabres sign Jimmy Schuldt to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Senators sign Michael Del Zotto to a two-year, $4 million deal.
• Senators sign Andrew Agozzino to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Sharks sign Andrew Cogliano to a one-year, $1 million deal.
• Sharks sign James Reimer to a two-year, $4.5 million deal.
• Sharks sign Lane Pederson to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Sharks sign Nick Bonino to a two-year, $4.1 million deal.
• Sharks sign Nick Merkley to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Sharks sign Jaycob Megna to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Stars sign Braden Holtby to a one-year, $2 million deal.
• Stars sign Luke Glendening to a two-year, $3 million deal.
• Stars sign Alex Petrovic to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Stars sign Andreas Borgman to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Wild signs Frederick Gaudreau to a two-year, $2.4 million deal.
• Wild signs Dmitry Kulikov to a two-year, $4.5 million deal.
• Wild signs Joe Hicketts to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Wild signs Jon Lizotte  to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Wild signs Dominic Turgeon to a one-year, $750,000 deal.

NHL Free Agency Offer Sheet Compensation Scale

July 27

• Avalanche signs Gabriel Landeskog to eight-year, $56 million deal. (Link)
• Blues sign Pavel Buchnevich to four-year, $23.2 million deal. (Link)
• Blue Jackets sign Patrik Laine to one-year, $7.5 million deal. (Link)
• Bruins sign Mike Reilly to three-year, $9M deal. (Link)
• Canadiens sign Joel Armia to a four-year, $13.6 million deal. (Link)
• Canucks sign Conor Garland to five-year, $24.75 million deal. (Link)
• Capitals sign Alex Ovechkin to five-year, $47.5 million deal. (Link)
• Flyers sign Keith Yandle to one-year, $900,000 deal.
• Jets sign Eric Comrie to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Lightning signs Otto Somppi to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Panthers sign Brandon Montour to three-year, $10.5 million deal.
• Red Wings sign Taro Hirose to one-year, $850,000 deal.
• Red Wings sign Kyle Criscuolo to two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Sabres sign Drake Caggiula to one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Wild signs Kyle Rau to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Wild signs Dakota Mermis to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.

July 26

• Panthers sign Sam Bennett to a four-year, $17.6 million deal. (Link)
• Blackhawks sign Adam Gaudette to a one-year, $997,500 deal.
• Bruins sign Nick Wolff to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Devils sign Christian Jaros to a one-year $800,000 deal.
• Flyers sign Samuel Morin to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Jets sign Paul Stastny to a one-year, $3.75 million deal.
• Panthers sign Lucas Carlsson to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Panthers sign Noah Juulsen to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Predators sign Frédéric Allard to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Predators sign Ben Harpur to a one-year $800,000 deal.
• Predators sign Jeremy Davies to a one-year, $750,000 deal.
• Red Wings sign Gustav Lindström to a two-year, $1.7 million deal.
• Wild signs Andrew Hammond to a one-year, $750,000 deal.

July 25

• Red Wings sign Marc Staal to a one-year, $2 million deal.

July 24

• Avalanche signs Cale Makar to a six-year, $54 million deal. (Link)
• Blues sign Nathan Walker to a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
• Kings sign Trevor Moore to a two-year, $3.75 million deal.
• Penguins sign Kasper Björkqvist to a one-year, $750,000 deal.

July 23

• Blackhawks sign Seth Jones to an eight-year, $76 million deal. (Link)
• Bruins sign Taylor Hall to a four-year, $24 million deal. (Link)
• Hurricanes sign Spencer Smallman to a one-year, $750,000 deal.

Ryan Getzlaf, Gabriel Landeskog and the lure of staying home

The NHL free agent experiences for Ryan Getzlaf and Gabriel Landeskog were very different. 

Getzlaf had never been through the process, and now at 36 years old he wanted to experience other teams trying to convince him to leave. With his career winding down, going through free agency was an opportunity to see what it was like to be pursued. He had no strong desire to leave the Ducks, he just wanted to see what was out there.

“I’ve never had other teams pursuing me, which was a great feeling,” said Getzlaf after signing a one-year, $4.5 million extension. “I’m not going to lie. It was a good feeling to be able to talk, and I think, for me, it was more understanding what other players go through. There are a lot of players who go through this many times in their career, and I think it gave me a better understanding of what it’s like.”

Landeskog was a different story. Once the youngest captain in NHL history, he did not want to hear from other teams. He wanted to stay with the only franchise he’s ever known. But as unrestricted free agency approached, and with the flat cap ceiling putting a squeeze on teams, there was no guarantee the Avalanche captain would be back.

[NHL Free Agency 2021: Every signing by all 32 teams]

Negotiations, which Landeskog has said hoped would have led to a deal last summer, dragged out, but a $56 million deal was completed close to the deadline for teams to offer the eight-year maximum term to their own players.

Landeskog quickly went from “disappointed” to one “happy” captain.

“For me, the most important thing was term and being able to be here for a long time,” Landeskog said. “That was my goal, and that’s a dream of mine to sign another long-term deal with the Avs. This is my home, and I feel the connection with the city and connection to the fans and the team and obviously my teammates. That’s very important to me, and that’s why I wanted a long-term contract. Even though it took to the last few minutes, it got done and I’m very happy about it.”

No place like home

Ultimately, free agent decisions come down to comfort — for the player, their families, and their careers. Getzlaf and Landeskog have been with their teams long enough to know what their respective markets can provide and how it all fits with their individual lifestyles. 

“At this point in my career, being wanted is a great thing,” said Getzlaf, who’s entering his 17th NHL season. “That proves that someone still believes in you and is interested in you, and ultimately that’s what the Anaheim Ducks said to me at the end of the day.”

Greener pastures are always on the horizon, especially in today’s NHL given the spending spree that took place on Wednesday. Getzlaf could have easily chased another Stanley Cup elsewhere on a team looking for a veteran presence. Landeskog could have moved on to a different contending team to try and win there. But sometimes you just cannot beat the comfort of home.

“My heart is in Colorado, Denver is my home,” Landeskog said. “That’s where we put down our roots and that’s where I’ve always wanted to be. So coming down to it, I was very certain about where I wanted to be and my heart was nowhere else. There is no place I would rather be than in Denver and playing for the Avs, so I am very happy that we got it done.”

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

2021-22 NHL offseason trade tracker

The offseason has arrived and there are plenty of NHL trades that will go down before the 2021-22 season. Check back here for all of the trades that teams will be making in hopes of improving their chances at winning the 2022 Stanley Cup.

2021 NHL offseason trades

July 28 (Link)

Arizona Coyotes: Conor Timmins, 2022 first-round pick, 2024 conditional third-round pick (ARZ gets 2024 third-round pick if COL wins 2022 Cup and Kuemper plays in 50% of playoff games)
Colorado Avalanche: Darcy Kuemper

July 28 

Washington Capitals: Vitek Vanecek
Seattle Kraken: 2023 second-round pick

July 28 

Calgary Flames: Daniel Vladar
Boston Bruins: 2022 third-round pick

July 28 

Buffalo Sabres: Will Butcher, 2022 fifth-round pick
New Jersey Devils: Future considerations

July 28 

San Jose Sharks: Lane Pederson
Arizona Coyotes: 2024 fourth-round pick

July 28 

Ottawa Senators: Nick Holden, 2022 third-round pick
Vegas Golden Knights: Evgenii Dadonov

July 28 

Minnesota Wild: Conditional 2022 seventh-round pick (Wild get pick if Menell plays 30 games for TOR in 2021-22)
Toronto Maple Leafs: Brennan Menell

July 28 

Edmonton Oilers: Warren Foegele
Carolina Hurricanes: Ethan Bear

July 28 

Chicago Blackhawks: 2022 third-round pick
Calgary Flames: Nikita Zadorov

July 27 (Link)

Chicago Blackhawks: Tyler Johnson, 2023 second-round pick
Tampa Bay Lightning: Brent Seabrook

July 27 (Link)

Winnipeg Jets: Nate Schmidt
Vancouver Canucks: 2022 second-round pick

July 27

Colorado Avalanche: Kurtis MacDermid
Seattle Kraken: 2023 fourth-round pick

July 27 (Link)

Vegas Golden Knights: Mikael Hakkarainen
Chicago Blackhawks: Marc-Andre Fleury

July 26

Washington Capitals: 2022 second-round pick, 2023 second-round pick
Winnipeg Jets: Brenden Dillon

July 26

Florida Panthers: 2023 seventh-round pick.
Arizona Coyotes: Anton Stralman, Vladislav Kolyachonok, 2024 second-round pick

July 26

Boston Bruins: James Greenway
Toronto Maple Leafs: Future considerations

July 26

New Jersey Devils: Christian Jaros
San Jose Sharks: Nick Merkley

July 24 (Link)

Buffalo Sabres: Devon Levi, 2022 conditional first-round pick (If the pick is in the top 10, the pick will be exchanged with FLA’s 2023 first-round pick)
Florida Panthers: Sam Reinhart

July 24 (Link)

Philadelphia Flyers: Cam Atkinson
Columbus Blue Jackets: Jakub Voracek

July 24

Arizona Coyotes: Bokondji Imama, Cole Hults
Los Angeles Kings: Brayden Burke, Tyler Steenbergen

July 23

Carolina Hurricanes: 2021 second-round pick
Columbus Blue Jackets: Jake Bean

July 23 (Link)

Chicago Blackhawks: Seth Jones, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 sixth-round pick
Columbus Blue Jackets: Adam Boqvist, 2021 first-round pick, 2021 second-round pick, 2022 conditional first-round pick (If CHI wins one of the the 2022 draft lotteries, the pick becomes their 2023 first-round pick)

July 23 (Link)

Arizona Coyotes: Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle, Loui Eriksson, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick, 2023 seventh-round pick
Vancouver Canucks: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Conor Garland (signing rights)

July 23 (Link)

St. Louis Blues: Pavel Buchnevich
New York Rangers: 2022 second-round pick

July 23 (Link)

Philadelphia Flyers: Rasmus Ristolainen
Buffalo Sabres: Robert Hagg, 2021 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick

2021 NHL offseason trades

July 22

Calgary Flames: Tyler Pitlick
Seattle Kraken: 2022 fourth-round pick

July 22 (Link)

Detroit Red Wings: Alex Nedeljkovic
Carolina Hurricanes: Jonathan Bernier (signing rights), 2021 third-round pick

July 22 (Link)

Philadelphia Flyers: Future considerations
Arizona Coyotes: Shayne Gostisbehere, 2022 second-round pick, 2022 seventh-round pick

NHL Power Rankings: Updated 2021 free agent rankings

In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings we take an updated look at the top unrestricted free agents that willl be available when the free agent signing period begins on Wednesday.

In recent days we have seen a handful of players re-sign with their current teams, including most notably forward Taylor Hall with the Bruins, and several potential free agents get taken by the Kraken in the NHL Expansion Draft (Chris Driedger, Adam Larsson, Jamie Oleksiak).

We have also seen a few additional players hit the open market due to buyouts, including Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Keith Yandle.

Here we will take a look at the top remaining players entering the week.

Who all makes the list this week?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

Players Most Likely To Re-Sign

1. Alex Ovechkin. His 13-year contract is over and that technically makes him eligible for unrestricted free agency. But we all know he is going to end up in Washington, right? [Re-signed with Capitals: 5-year, $47.5 million]

2. Tuukka Rask. Bruins fans have had a long-time love-hate relationship with Rask, but it would probably be in their best interests if the team can get him re-signed. He is still one of the league’s best goalies.

3. David Krejci. With Hall already re-signed it would be a huge win for the Bruins to get Krejci back as well to reunite that second line that played so well together. Hard to envision Krejci in a sweater that is not a Bruins sweater.

4. Gabriel Landeskog. You would like to think Colorado can get its captain signed, but those talks have been difficult to this point. Landeskog brings a rare combination of grit, skill, and defensive excellence to the top of any lineup. The Avs want to keep him but it is starting to look like a real possibility that he could leave. [Re-signed with Avalanche: 8-year, $56 million]

5. Philipp Grubauer. Grubauer has been an excellent starter since joining the Avalanche three years ago and took a huge step forward this season, finishing as a Vezina Trophy finalist. If the Avalanche can not get him and/or Landeskog re-signed they are going to have two significant players to replace. [Signed with Kraken: 6-year, $34.5 million]

Moving On For A Bigger Payday

6. Dougie Hamilton. Of the players that actually have a chance of changing teams Hamilton should be at the top of the list given his all around ability on defense. He can play every situation, is a dominant possession driver, and an impact player offensively. Every team should want to sign him. Carolina is going to try, but it will be difficult and it seems likely that he is moving on. [Signed with Devils: 7-year, $63 million]

7. Phillip Danault. An outstanding shutdown center with better offensive skill than he sometimes gets credit for. Along with being a Selke-caliber defender he can also be a 50-point center. Extremely valuable player. [Signed with Kings: 6-year, $33 million.]

8. Blake Coleman. He should get a massive contract on the open market. The rare player that both analytics and eye test people rave over equally, and he also has the Stanley Cup winner reputation (back-to-back Cups as a key player for the Lightning) that GMs love. [Signed with Flames: 6-year, $29.4 million]

9. Zach Hyman. He seems destined to end up with the Oilers. Good player that is about to get a contract that everybody will hate, and probably for good reason. Never want to sign a 29-year-old second-tier free agent to a seven- or eight-year contract. [Signed with Oilers: 7-year, $38.5 million]

Time For A Change

10. Ryan Suter. It was very surprising to see him get bought out along with Zach Parise, not only because of the impact it has on Minnesota’s salary cap, but also because he is still a pretty good player. He is no longer a serious Norris candidate, but he is a legitimate top-four defender in the NHL and will probably be a good value on his next deal. [Signed with Stars: 4-year, $14.6 million]

11. Kyle Palmieri. Very underrated player for most of his career. He will score 25-30 goals over an 82-game season and give you solid play away from the puck. If the Islanders could get him re-signed that would be a nice move for their offseason.

12. Jaden Schwartz. Really good second-line forward that will score 20 goals and help drive possession. A good Plan B for any team that does not get one of the top forwards. [Signed with Kraken: 5-year, $27.5 million.]

13. Tomas Tatar. Tatar has been the top scorer on the Canadiens over the past three seasons, has dominant underlying numbers, and plays great next to Danault and Brendan Gallagher. But he still seemed to fall out of favor in Montreal this season. Some team should try to sign him and Danault together.

14. Brandon Saad. Saad never became the superstar the Blackhawks hoped he would when he first entered the NHL, but he has become an excellent middle-six winger. His underlying numbers are fantastic, and on the right team and in the right situation he could definitely be a 20-30 goal scorer.

15. Paul Stastny. He is not going to be a foundational player anymore but if you have him centering your second or third line you are going to be in pretty good shape. [Re-signed with Jets: 1 year, $3.75 million.]

16. Keith Yandle. At this point you probably need to shelter him a little in a role where he can focus on offense. There is still value in that. [Signed with Flyers: 1-year, $900,000]

17. Zach Parise. Parise is not totally finished, but his production did take a noticeable drop this season when the Wild used him. Still, he is just one year removed from a 25-goal season (in less than 70 games) and can still score a little. Is he a good fit for the Islanders?

18. Alec Martinez. Martinez had one of his best years ever during the 2020-21 season with the Golden Knights, and it could not have happened at a better time for him. Do not expect a repeat of that offensive performance, but he can still contribute. [Re-signed with Golden Knights: 3-year, $15.75 million.]

19. Mike Hoffman. Hoffman is a one-dimensional player that does one thing well: score goals. Fortunately, that is an important dimension. He is not going to make much of an impact without the puck on his stick. [Signed with Canadiens: 3-year, $13.5 million]

20. Tyson Barrie. Barrie signed a one-year deal with the Oilers for this past season and definitely did a lot to help is value for this free agent class. He picked the right team to get a sheltered role, power play minutes, and time on the ice with two of the best offensive players in the world (Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl). Do not let that trick you into thinking he is a top-pairing player, though. Good player. Just needs to be put in the right role. [Re-signed with Oilers: 3-year, $13.5 million]

2021-22 NHL offseason trade tracker

The offseason has arrived and there are plenty of NHL trades that will go down before the 2021-22 season. Check back here for all of the trades that teams will be making in hopes of improving their chances at winning the 2022 Stanley Cup.

2021 NHL offseason trades

July 28 (Link)

Arizona Coyotes: Conor Timmins, 2022 first-round pick, 2024 conditional third-round pick
Colorado Avalanche: Darcy Kuemper

July 28 

Washington Capitals: Vitek Vanecek
Seattle Kraken: 2023 second-round pick

July 28 

Calgary Flames: Daniel Vladar
Boston Bruins: 2022 third-round pick

July 28 

Buffalo Sabres: Will Butcher, 2022 fifth-round pick
New Jersey Devils: Future considerations

July 28 

San Jose Sharks: Lane Pederson
Arizona Coyotes: 2024 fourth-round pick

July 28 

Ottawa Senators: Nick Holden, 2022 third-round pick
Vegas Golden Knights: Evgenii Dadonov

July 28 

Minnesota Wild: Conditional 2022 seventh-round pick (Wild get pick if Menell plays 30 games for TOR in 2021-22)
Toronto Maple Leafs: Brennan Menell

July 28 

Edmonton Oilers: Warren Foegele
Carolina Hurricanes: Ethan Bear

July 28 

Chicago Blackhawks: 2022 third-round pick
Calgary Flames: Nikita Zadorov

July 27 (Link)

Chicago Blackhawks: Tyler Johnson, 2023 second-round pick
Tampa Bay Lightning: Brent Seabrook

July 27 (Link)

Winnipeg Jets: Nate Schmidt
Vancouver Canucks: 2022 second-round pick

July 27

Colorado Avalanche: Kurtis MacDermid
Seattle Kraken: 2023 fourth-round pick

July 27 (Link)

Vegas Golden Knights: Mikael Hakkarainen
Chicago Blackhawks: Marc-Andre Fleury

July 26

Washington Capitals: 2022 second-round pick, 2023 second-round pick
Winnipeg Jets: Brenden Dillon

July 26

Florida Panthers: 2023 seventh-round pick.
Arizona Coyotes: Anton Stralman, Vladislav Kolyachonok, 2024 second-round pick

July 26

Boston Bruins: James Greenway
Toronto Maple Leafs: Future considerations

July 26

New Jersey Devils: Christian Jaros
San Jose Sharks: Nick Merkley

July 24 (Link)

Buffalo Sabres: Devon Levi, 2022 conditional first-round pick (If the pick is in the top 10, the pick will be exchanged with FLA’s 2023 first-round pick)
Florida Panthers: Sam Reinhart

July 24 (Link)

Philadelphia Flyers: Cam Atkinson
Columbus Blue Jackets: Jakub Voracek

July 24

Arizona Coyotes: Bokondji Imama, Cole Hults
Los Angeles Kings: Brayden Burke, Tyler Steenbergen

July 23

Carolina Hurricanes: 2021 second-round pick
Columbus Blue Jackets: Jake Bean

July 23 (Link)

Chicago Blackhawks: Seth Jones, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 sixth-round pick
Columbus Blue Jackets: Adam Boqvist, 2021 first-round pick, 2021 second-round pick, 2022 conditional first-round pick (If CHI wins one of the the 2022 draft lotteries, the pick becomes their 2023 first-round pick)

July 23 (Link)

Arizona Coyotes: Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle, Loui Eriksson, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick, 2023 seventh-round pick
Vancouver Canucks: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Conor Garland (signing rights)

July 23 (Link)

St. Louis Blues: Pavel Buchnevich
New York Rangers: 2022 second-round pick

July 23 (Link)

Philadelphia Flyers: Rasmus Ristolainen
Buffalo Sabres: Robert Hagg, 2021 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick

2021 NHL offseason trades

July 22

Calgary Flames: Tyler Pitlick
Seattle Kraken: 2022 fourth-round pick

July 22 (Link)

Detroit Red Wings: Alex Nedeljkovic
Carolina Hurricanes: Jonathan Bernier (signing rights), 2021 third-round pick

July 22 (Link)

Philadelphia Flyers: Future considerations
Arizona Coyotes: Shayne Gostisbehere, 2022 second-round pick, 2022 seventh-round pick

Trade: Avalanche pay big price to get Kuemper; Coyotes rebuild soars

The Colorado Avalanche balked at a big free-agent price for Philipp Grubauer, but they still made a big goaltending investment on Wednesday. The Coyotes confirmed that they traded Kuemper to the Avalanche, getting Conor Timmins and a 2022 first-rounder in return. There’s also a conditional 2024 third-rounder involved.

Trade: Avalanche receive Kuemper as Grubauer replacement

Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that the Coyotes will retain $1 million of Kuemper’s salary in the trade with the Avalanche.

If true, that means that Kuemper will carry a $4.5M cap hit with the Avalanche in 2021-22. Kuemper, 31, is entering a contract year, and is eligible to become a UFA after this season.

With Kuemper and Pavel Francouz both under contract for 2021-22, the Avalanche have some clarity about their goaltending situation. Will they extend one or the other? If not, free-agent goalie departures could become a recurring theme for the Avalanche as they hope to win a Stanley Cup with Nathan MacKinnon.

[More on the NHL free-agent goalie carousel; Read up on Grubauer with Kraken]

It’s a steep price for the Avalanche to pay, although they might argue that it’s worth it to maintain some roster flexibility. Unlike other teams, they didn’t commit themselves to a medium or long-term free-agent goalie contract.

They also saw up-close how strong Darcy Kuemper can be in net. While he didn’t pull off an upset against the Avalanche during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Kuemper kept the Coyotes in some one-sided games. For all we know, Kuemper could end up being a huge part of what the Avalanche are building.

(Or he could be a useful stopgap. We’ll see.)

Kuemper trade adds more useful building blocks in Coyotes rebuild

It’s remarkable how much rebuilding teams managed to snag from trades for players entering contract years.

The Blue Jackets landed an incredible haul for Seth Jones, who’s expected to sign an extension with the Blackhawks. It sure seems like the Coyotes sold-high on Darcy Kuemper, too.

Between taking on bad contracts and shipping out Kuemper, Conor Garland, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Coyotes are generally saving money in the short-term, while speeding up their rebuild. If they make the right choices in the upcoming drafts, and develop those talents properly, they could be dangerous in the future.

Not bad for a team that lost a ton of futures thanks to that strange recruiting violation under John Chayka.

It remains to be seen if Conor Timmins, 22, will be a key asset. The RFA has struggled with concussion issues, but has been hyped as a prospect. So far, he’s played in 33 regular-season games with the Avalanche, including 31 last season.

Simply enough, Timmins will receive a better chance to prove himself with the Coyotes than he would with the loaded Avalanche.

Overall, strong work from the rebuilding Coyotes, even if they have a very, very long way to go before they can look anything like the Avalanche.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Bruins give Ullmark a surprisingly big free-agent deal with Rask’s future cloudy

With Tuukka Rask‘s future cloudy, it’s not shocking that the Bruins looked to the free-agent goalie market. It’s not even surprising that the Bruins reportedly ended up signing Linus Ullmark, formerly of the Sabres.

Linus Ullmark’s free-agent contract with the Bruins, though? That’s surprising. The Bruins signed Ullmark to a four-year contract with a $5M cap hit, according to reporters including Frank Seravalli and Pierre LeBrun.

(Note that the Bruins haven’t officially confirmed those terms.)

Upon hearing Ullmark’s name come up for the Bruins, it seemed sensible enough. In a miserable Sabres situation, Ullmark showed flashes of brilliance.

But a reported four-year, $20M commitment? That’s baffling, even during a 2021 NHL Free Agency day with some surprising goalie contracts.

For more on 2021 NHL Free Agency, check PHT’s tracker. Trades are a big factor too, so keep track of them here.

Some room for Rask?

TSN’s Bob McKenzie notes that Rask recently underwent hip surgery. With that in mind, it almost certainly takes Rask off of the free-agent market. It doesn’t totally rule out the possibility that Rask might return to the Bruins when he’s healed up — if it all makes sense.

There are a lot of “ifs” there, though.

Does that change considering the term Linus Ullmark received in this free-agent contract with the Bruins, though?

Bruins’ busy day now includes free-agent goalie Ullmark

For the most part, the Bruins focused on supplementing with free-agent signings. (Unless you count keeping Taylor Hall around, of course.)

Here’s a quick reminder of the Bruins’ busy (but not splashy … until Ullmark) free-agent span:

Will all of this translate to a deeper, better Bruins team? Can Boston withstand losing Jaroslav Halak and, most likely, Rask after adding Ullmark and promoting from within?

Also:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Dougie Hamilton signs massive 7-year contract with Devils

The New Jersey Devils entered the offseason with salary cap space to burn and they used a significant portion of it on Wednesday by signing free agent defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a massive seven-year, $63 million contract.

That comes out to a salary cap number of $9 million per season and is the biggest contract signed so far among unrestricted free agents.

It is a significant move for a Devils team that is trying to build something around its recent top picks, Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier.

Hamilton was the top free agent defenseman on the market (and one of the top players in general) and will bring a ton to the Devils defense. And while long-term contracts in free agency are generally massive risks, Hamilton is at least a bonafide top-pairing defender and one of the best players in the league at his position. He is an elite possession driver that can also score a ton from the blue line while playing in every situation. He is a 15-goal, 45-point player over an 82-game season.

Given that his contract is smaller, both in term and average annual value than the contract signed by Seth Jones, is a pretty big win for the Devils given that Hamilton is the better player.

[Related: Every free agent signing by all 32 NHL teams]

He has played a Norris Trophy level the past two seasons, finishing seventh and fourth in the voting respectively. Had he not missed so much of the 2019-20 season due to injury he would have almost certainly been higher in that voting.

Hamilton is the second significant addition to the Devils defense this offseason after the team previous acquired Ryan Graves from the Colorado Avalanche.

The Devils defense in the short-term will now feature Hamilton, Graves, P.K. Subban (final year of his contract), Will Butcher, Damon Severson, Ty Smith, and Jonas Siegenthaler, all playing in front of Mackenzie Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier (also signed on Wednesday) in net.

In related news, the Devils also traded Will Butcher to the Sabres.

Sam Bennett signs 4-year, $17.6M extension with Panthers

Sam Bennett was a great addition for the Florida Panthers at last year’s trade deadline, and they are giving him a significant contract to see if he can duplicate that performance.

The team signed Bennett to a four-year, $17.6 million contract extension on Monday. That contract carries a $4.4 million salary cap hit each year. He would have been eligible for restricted free agency starting on Wednesday.

Florida acquired Bennett from the Calgary Flames just before the trade deadline for a prospect and a second-round pick, hoping that a change of scenery could help him get his career back on track. Prior to the trade he had clearly fallen out of favor with the Flames, to the point that he was a healthy scratch and asking for a trade. The immediate returns were extremely promising.

[Related: NHL Power Rankings, free agent rankings]

Bennett finished the regular season with 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 10 games before recording five points (one goal, four assists) in five playoff games. Just for some perspective on how much of a turnaround that was for him, he had just 12 points in 38 games with the Flames. That followed a 12-point effort in 52 games during the 2019-20 season.

If Bennett can come close to repeating what he did with the Panthers then the contract would obviously be a great deal for the team. But there should probably be at least a little bit of skepticism that he can do that over the course of a full season. A lot of his success with the Panthers was driven by a 15.8 percent shooting percentage that was by far the highest mark of his career. That number will almost certainly drop this season. Perhaps a more consistent and expanded role with a good team around him can help make up for that.

Now that Bennett is re-signed the next order of business for the Panthers this offseason will be dealing with restricted free agent forward Sam Reinhart who was just acquired from the Buffalo Sabres this past weekend.