NHL free agent tracking: Claude Giroud to Senators, Vincent Trochek signed a seven-year contract with the Rangers

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Finally this day has come. NHL free agency officially begins at noon Wednesday as teams across the league try to improve their rosters ahead of the 2022-23 season.

Calgary Flames star Johnny Gaudreau named free agent it will be available as he is expected to test the open market. Gaudreau ends the best year of his professional career with 115 (40+75) points. The veteran winger is likely to earn a solid salary in the $10-12 million range per season.

While the Gaudro is by far the largest fish available, many other big names will be on the move. Check below for the latest signings and deals.

Claude Giroud signed with the Senators

Veteran forward Claude Giroud signed a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Ottawa Senators. The amount of the transaction will be 6.5 million dollars per season.

Giroud is from Hurst, Ontario and will now play close to home for the first time in his career. Previously, Giroud spent the first 15 seasons of his NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers before the franchise traded him to the Florida Panthers before last season’s trade deadline. The star forward ends a season in which he scored 65 points (21 goals and 44 assists) between the Flyers and the Panthers.

Since moving to Florida, Giroud has scored three goals and 20 assists to end the 2021–22 campaign. The Senators have been extremely active this offseason. Before the draft, the Senators acquired star forward Alex DeBrinkat from the Chicago Blackhawks. Ottawa now has significant star power in Brady Tkachuk, DeBrinkat and Giroud to bolster their top six hitters.

Mason March to the Stars

Marchment is one of the most charming members of this class of free agents. At age 26, in his third season in the NHL last year, Marchment played a pivotal role with the Panthers and excelled. He scored 18 goals and had 29 assists in just 54 games played, and the Panthers controlled a high percentage of scoring chances with Marchment on the ice. As a result of his incredible performance, Marchment received a four-year, $18 million contract with the Dallas Stars. Marchment will have to play along in Dallas, so it will be interesting to see if he can continue to perform at a high level in an increased role.

Avalanche holding on to Arturri Lehkonen

The Colorado Avalanche continue to try to keep their Stanley Cup-winning team intact. According to Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman, winger Arturri Lehkonen signed a five-year, $4.5 million contract for the season. Avalanche acquired Lehkonen from the Montreal Canadiens on time. Lehkonen, 27, was a huge asset to Colorado in the second half of the season as he scored six goals and provided three assists in 16 regular season games.

Lehkonen really came into his own during the Stanley Cup playoffs. In Game 4 against the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Finals, Lehkonen scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lead the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup Finals. He also scored the Stanley Cup game-breaker in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning when he hit the net in the second period. Having spent the first six seasons of his NHL career with the Canadiens, Lehkonen has indeed found a great place in Colorado and he will now spend the next five seasons with the Avalanche.

Kraken Upgrade Attack with Andrey Burakovsky

The Seattle Craken have money to spend this summer, and after a tough rookie season, they’re getting some offensive help. Kraken have signed former Colorado Avalanche forward Andre Burakowski to a five-year, $27.5 million contract, according to Sportsnet’s Elliot Friedman. Since moving to Colorado ahead of the 2019-20 season, Burakovsky has created great scoring chances and scored 22 goals and 61 points last year. Seattle scored just 216 goals last season, finishing 30th in the NHL. Burakovsky fills the need for a top six striker.

Capitals sign Darcy Kemper

Washington Capitals stabilize the goalie position. They signed former Avs netmeister Darcy Kemper to a five-year, $26.25 million contract. Kemper just finished a season in which he posted a 37-12-4 record, as well as a 2.54 goals against average and a .921 shooting percentage. The veteran goalie also posted a 10-4 record, 2.57 goals against average and a .902 shooting percentage in 16 games during Colorado’s run to the Stanley Cup.

The Avalanche simply did not have the necessary cap space to retain Kemper’s services, so they decided to acquire goaltender Alexander Georgiev from the New York Rangers. The Capitals have been trying to shore up their goaltending position since winning the Stanley Cup in 2018. Earlier in the offseason, the team traded Vitek Vanechek to the New Jersey Devils, and Ilya Samsonov signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs after opening free agency.

Bruins and Devils traded centers

The Bruins acquired Pavel Zaka from the Devils in exchange for Eric Howl. Zacha ends the year with 36 points (15 assists 21) for the Devils. In his seven years with the franchise, Zaka scored 179 points (69 assists, 110 points) after being selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Meanwhile, Howla scored 44 (18 assists, 26 goals) with the Bruins last season. The Devils will be Howla’s seventh team of his NHL career, as in addition to the Bruins, he also played for the Minnesota Wild, Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators. The Bruins are still trying to solidify their position at center as they try to convince Patrice Bergeron to return for a 19th season. In addition, Boston has also been linked with a potential reunion with veteran center David Krejci. Krejci spent the first 15 years of his NHL career with the Bruins and played in Switzerland last season.

Andrew Kopp in Red Wings

As the Detroit Red Wings continue their recovery, they made a small splash in free agency by signing center Andrew Kopp to a five-year, $28.125 million deal. Kopp played all of his first seven NHL seasons with the Winnipeg Jets and earned a reputation as a consistent defensive forward. Kopp showed some offensive muscle last season, especially after he was traded to the New York Rangers. In total, he hit the net 21 times, scoring 53 points between Winnipeg and New York. The Red Wings seem ready to take the next step, and Kopp needs to help with that. The team has already bolstered its goaltending position with the trade of Ville Husso, and young stars like Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond are giving fans in Detroit a reason to hope for the future.

Vincent Trochek signs with Rangers

With Andrew Kopp and Ryan Strom both hitting free agency, the Rangers have prioritized center by adding former Carolina Hurricane Vincent Trochek. The Trocheck deal is a seven-year, $39 million deal with an average annual value of $5.625 million.

In his last two seasons with the Carolinas, Trochek has been an incredibly efficient and underrated player. Last season, Trochek scored 21 goals and had 30 assists, making him a strong second-line center. If the Rangers were looking for someone to play behind Mika Zibanejad in center, they could do a lot worse than Trochek.

Potential destinations for Nazem Kadri

The Avalanche will likely be unable to retain Kadri’s services due to having to pay forward Arturi Lehkonen and defenseman Josh Manson, who are also free agents. The New York Rangers showed interest but appear to have signed former Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck to stabilize their second line. As such, the Detroit Red Wings remain a team that will make a huge difference to Kadri, given their group of young forwards. The Boston Bruins could also be an option if they can’t do something to get Patrice Bergeron back in his 19th season.

Jack Campbell signed with Edmonton

The Oilers fixed the bad goalie by signing former Maple Leaf Jack Campbell to a five-year, $25 million contract. He should be a marked improvement over Mike Smith, who faltered in the postseason. However, Campbell has his own questions. In the first three months of the 2021–2022 season, Campbell looked like the favorite for the Vezina Trophy but fell short over time. If he can bounce back, Edmonton will be a lot better between the pipes.

Gaudreau informs Flames that he is leaving.

On Tuesday night, Johnny Gaudreau told the Calgary Flames that he plans to become a free agent and will not renew his contract with the team. Gaudreau, originally from New Jersey, has been associated with the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers.

“I firmly believe it was a family decision and I have full respect for it,” said Flames general manager Brad Treliving. said Tuesday night. “John has every right and we have nothing but respect for John the player and John the human. I firmly believe that there was nothing more we could do. We respect that… I think it was a really difficult decision for John… I think everyone acted with the right intentions.”

The Flyers will need to clear a significant spot in the cap for the Gaudreau deal to work. On the other hand, the Devils have plenty of headroom to spare if the franchise wants to pair Gaudreau with star center Jack Hughes.

Malkin stays with Penguins

In an unexpected turn of events, Evgeni Malkin re-signs with the Pittsburgh Penguins after stating that he would test leeway. According to a team press release, Malkin signed a four-year, $24.4 million contract to stay with the Penguins.

The average annual value of a new Malkin deal is $6.1 million.

Penguins general manager Ron Hextall was extremely active prior to free agency. Pittsburgh also signed veteran defenseman Chris Letang to a six-year, $36.6 million contract to keep Letang from going free. In addition, the Penguins signed forward Richard Raquell to a six-year contract extension with an average annual value of $5 million.

Malkin spent his entire 16-year career with the Penguins. Only Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby have played more seasons in Pittsburgh, with 17 to their credit. Malkin is a two-time winner of the Art Ross Trophy (2009 and 2012), which is awarded annually to the league’s regular season top scorer. He also won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP back in 2012.

Kane extends contract with Oilers

Veteran striker Evander Kane re-signed with the Edmonton Oilers under a four-year, $20.5 million contract. The average annual value of Kane’s deal will be $5.125 million.

“A lot of my decision to play in Edmonton was due to the opportunity given to me just seven months ago and the chance to be part of a championship team,” Kane wrote in a Twitter post. “I want to win, and I believe that after signing this deal, we can add the right elements together with me to achieve this goal: the championship.”

Kane signed with the Oilers in January 2022 after his contract with the San Jose Sharks was terminated. The veteran winger has been suspended for the first 21 games of the 2021/22 season after attempting to use a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. On January 8, 2022, Kane received an unconditional waiver and ended up with the Oilers that same month.

In 43 regular season games for the Oilers, Kane scored 39 (22 assists, 17) points. He also scored 13 team goals in the postseason that saw the Oilers advance to the Western Conference Finals before being defeated by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.

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