The National Hockey League’s 2016-17 salary cap is set at $73.1 million, and teams are looking for quality in the free agent market. Over a 120 free agents have changed teams as of July 11th, and more will follow.
One of the biggest stories thus far in the offseason was not a free agent signing, but a re-signing, as Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed captain Steven Stamkos. In 77 games last season, Stamkos scored 36 goals and logged 28 assists. His new eight-year deal with Tampa Bay takes one of the more sought after players off the market. Yet, there are still players out there that can turn a playoff calibre team into a Stanley Cup winner.
Loui Eriksson – Vancouver Canucks
Swedish left-wing Loui Eriksson traded in Boston for Vancouver for a reported six-year, $36m deal. Eriksson was listed as number two on TSN’s potential top-30 free agent list back in May. With 30 goals in 82 games for the Bruins last season, Eriksson improved his numbers in Boston in each season since arriving in 2013. Vancouver also signed Philip Larsen and Jayson Megna to one-year deals. Will the three signings get the Canucks back into the NHL Playoffs? Anything is possible with this franchise.
Milan Lucic – Edmonton Oilers
Milan Lucic’s new seven-year deal headlines Edmonton Oilers’ summer spending. The 28-year-old will receive $7m a season with the Oilers, as he hopes to revitalize the team’s dreams of making the NHL Playoffs. It has been 10 years of suffer for the club’s fan base, and the memories of Wayne Gretzky are a distant memory. Lucic could help revive those glory years. Last season with Los Angeles, the left-wing scored 20 goals in 81 games, tallying 55 points. Perhaps this time it will be a former King that brings the Oilers to the forefront of the NHL. Edmonton has also signed Mark Fraser, Johas Gustavsson and Taylor Beck to one-year contracts.
Andrew Ladd – New York Islanders
NHL veteran Andrew Ladd has left the Chicago Blackhawks and signed with New York Islanders. Ladd scored 25 goals in 78 games a season ago, and has agreed a seven-year, $38.5m contract. He joins former Washington Capital Jason Chimera, who signed a two-year deal with the Islanders. Together, the two wingers combined for 86 points last term. Their signatures could help the Islanders get back into the playoffs in 2017, and possibly help them go deeper in the competition. The club was also able to re-sign Shane Prince on a contract extension following his debut season with the Islanders in which the 23-year-old scored six goals in 62 games.
Kyle Okposo – Buffalo Sabers
While the Islanders have made moves to shore up the team, New York lost right-wing Kyle Okposo’s 22 goals and 42 assists ahead of the 2016-17 season. The American signed a seven-year, $42m contract with Buffalo, making him the marquee signing for the team this offseason. Buffalo has also added Justin Falk, Taylor Fedun and Derek Grant to one-year deals. Okposo is expected to turn things around in Buffalo after five straight playoff misses.
Mikkel Boedker – San Jose Sharks
Finally, Stanley Cup finalists San Jose Sharks have added the signature of right-wing Mikkel Boedker. The Dane split time between the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche last year, scoring 51 points in 80 games. Boedker is set to make $4m a season for the next four years. David Schlemko also signed for San Jose on a four-year deal, while Michael Haley and Dan Kelly have signed one-year contracts. Aaron Dell and Dylan DeMelo have both signed two-year contracts with the Sharks.
For more on free agent moves this NHL offseason, check out NHL.com’s free agent tracker.
By Drew Farmer