Free Agent Frenzy wasn't as crazy as usual, but we still had some massive moves around the NHL. I will be using Vizzes in this article from JFresh Hockey, Evolving-Hockey, Dom Luszczyszyn, Andy & Rono, and HB Analytics. Let's get right into it.
Wayne Simmonds, TOR, 1 year, $1.5m
Simmonds is no longer much of an NHL player. Last year, he signed a 1 year, $5M deal with the Devils to try to reinvigorate his career, it didn't work. He was moved at the deadline to Buffalo, and he didn't make much of an impact. For the Leafs, it's highly likely that they're signing him for a leadership role in the locker room.
Bobby Ryan, DET, 1 year, $1M
Bobby Ryan is beloved in Ottawa, but they needed to move on, he had 2 years left at over 7 million dollars, so they bought him out, and he signed a one year deal with Detroit. He probably still has something left in the tank, and something to teach to a rebuilding Detroit team.
Pat Maroon, TB, 2 years, $900k
In terms of pure value for money, this might be the signing of the year. Hockey Nerd twitter is convinced that Maroon must hate money, because pretty much every model has him at worth significantly more than the $900k that he took over two years to stay in Tampa. Good on you Lightning!
Radko Gudas, FLA, 3 years, $2.5M
Some models have Gudas' value a lot higher than I'd imagine, I just don't know how much he has left in the tank, but many models suggest that it wasn't a good fit for him in Washington, and he should do just fine in Florida. At age 30, Gudas takes a 3 year deal with the Panthers, and I'm interested to see how this plays out.
Jon Merrill, DET, 1 year, $925k
Jon Merrill's 2018-19 season, pictured above, will not happen again offensively, but the defensive value is there, as pictured in the HB Analytics model down below.
That model suggest his value at $4.3 million, while JFresh has his value at $2.7 million, either way, it implies a steal at the cheap price under 1 million that Detroit signed him for.
Carter Verhaeghe, FLA, 2 years, $1M
Carter Verhaeghe didn't get too much ice time in Tampa, he needs opportunity, because he's by no means a bad player. In Florida, he'll get that opportunity and will be able to show over the next two years that he's worth more than the $1M price tag.
Henrik Lundqvist, WSH, 1 year, $1.5m
Hank is still a good goaltender. It's super hard to say goodbye to a legend, and New York has now said goodbye to the entirety of the last generation of heroes, including Eli Manning, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, David Wright, Carmelo Anthony, and now, Henrik Lundqvist. Hank's contract was just too much to keep on for a Rangers team trying to compete, and he'll slot in well as a cheap backup to the young Ilya Samsonov in Washington.
Cam Talbot, MIN, 3 years, $3.667M
$3.7 mil a year for three years until he's 36 for a guy that just played in 37% of games is not great. Especially when you consider the goaltending situation in Calgary and now Minnesota. The Wild's three man defensive monster of Spurgeon, Suter, and Brodin certainly helps a goaltender, but I'm not confident that Talbot is the right play. Corey Crawford and Thomas Greiss are both better goaltenders that got similar AAV over 2 years, I'd have gone for one of them instead of Talbot if I were Bill Guerin.
Kyle Turris, EDM, 2 years, $1.65M
Exactly what the Oilers did not need, another forward that sucks defensively. I'm very disappointed in Edmonton for doing this.... and as I'm writing this part they signed Tyson Barrie... more on Edmonton later.
Braden Holtby, VAN, 2 years, $4.3M
If I told you on July 1st 2019 that Braden Holtby would get a 2 year deal worth 4.3M AAV, I'd have said you were crazy. He won a cup in 17-18, had a good season in 18-19, and was on track to make 7-8 million dollars, and then this season. It was a trainwreck, the less said about it the better. For Vancouver, a 40-40 platoon with Thatcher Demko seems to make sense, and they can expose him to Seattle in the expansion draft next year if it doesn't work out or they need the cap space.
Matt Murray, OTT, 4 years, $6.25M
Murray was pretty much the same story as Holtby, except he'd been less consistent through the years. This is a massive overpay after the trade. It was a good trade to acquire him, but the 6m price tag is way too much for an inconsistent goaltender. Here's what Dom Luszczyszyn had to say about it.
Anton Khudobin, DAL, 3 years, $3.33M
Anton Khudobin is only going to make 10 million over the next three years combined, despite putting up back to back elite seasons as a 1B goaltender. He proved in the postseason that he can carry the load, and I expect him to carry the load next year in Dallas, but this is a steal of a contract for the Stars.
Alex Wennberg, FLA, 1 year, $2.25M
Alex Wennberg is not a bad player. This is a low-risk, high-reward contract for the Panthers that I'm really a huge fan of. If it doesn't work, it's gone in a year, if it does, you get good production, we'll see how this plays out.
Tyler Pitlick, ARI, 2 years, $1.75M
Pitlick isn't a bad player, and I think that the 1.75 million price tag is fair for him. I like this deal for the Coyotes, I think it's something that certainly isn't high risk, but doesn't have super high reward.
Mark Borowiecki, NSH, 2 years, $2M
The JFresh model is clearly higher on Borocop than I am, as I did not like this signing from Nashville's perspective.
This RAPM chart explains where I see him, as a well below average player, but his physicality, (199 hits this season) will help a Nashville team that needs third pairing help.
Jack Johnson, NYR, 1 year, $1M
I have no idea how this man was able to get an NHL job.
Kevin Shattenkirk, ANA, 3 years, $3.9M
The Ducks badly needed a defenseman that can have value at both ends, and they get that in Shattenkirk, at a deal that I think is a bargain. I expected Shattenkirk to fetch a 4.5-5 million AAV, but the way the market played out, it didn't really benefit his wallet, but he's headed to an Anaheim team that badly needs his services.
Justin Schultz, WSH, 2 years, $4M
I am not high on Schultz, his RAPM is disgustingly bad, and he's now getting more AAV than Kevin Shattenkirk. The Capitals will pay Brendan Dillon and Justin Schultz a combined 7.9 million next year, and neither of them is in the top two highest paid defensemen on roster. The Caps now have 6 defensemen being paid at least $2.5 million AAV, and none of them will have their contract expire after 2020-21.
Jacob Markstrom, CGY, 6 years, $6M
Jacob Markstrom is an elite goaltender, however, he's 30 years old, and he's getting paid for the next 6 years. The other goaltenders with that much term or more: Jonathan Quick (10), Carey Price (8), Andrei Vasilevski (8), Tuukka Rask (8), John Gibson (8), Sergei Bobrovsky (7), Connor Hellebuyck (6), Martin Jones (6), Ben Bishop (6), and Devan Dubnyk (6). Only Bishop and Bobrovsky were at or older than Markstrom at signing date, and Bishop has injury problems and Bobrovsky's deal is looking horrendous after just one year. I'm not sure this contract ends well for Calgary, but there's no denying that they filled their need.
Vinnie Hinostroza, FLA, 1 year, $1M
I have no idea how Hinostroza gets a contract this cheap. He's a very good piece to stick in a bottom 6, and he's just 26 years old. Bill Zito continues to fill out an interesting roster, but he does have to deal with the Bobrovsky contract, so it's unlikely that they'll be able to bring back Hoffman or Dadonov.
TJ Brodie, TOR, 4 years, $5M
I like TJ Brodie the player, but as alluded to by the first graphic under his name, the contract could be a bit pricey on the back end. In the interim, pairing Rielly with Brodie finally gives Rielly the partner he needs. Rielly is a guy that some in the analytics community claim to be a top 10 defenseman in the entire league despite his horrible defensive play, and giving him a solid, two-way partner will absolutely help his production. I'd like to use this moment as a way to remind you that over the last 5 years, Morgan Rielly's main defensive partners were: Cody Ceci, Ron Hainsey, Nikita Zaitsev, Matt Hunwick, and Roman Polak, you think Rielly is excited about the Brodie signing?
Nick Cousins, NSH, 2 years, $1.5M
This is an absolute steal of a contract for Nashville. They replace one analytical darling, Craig Smith, with another one, in Nick Cousins, on a team friendly deal. I don't have a clue as to why the Knights didn't qualify him, as he is a great young piece, surely they could've gotten something for him in a trade if they were set on him leaving.
Torey Krug, STL, 7 years, $6.5M
Dom Luszczyszyn's model loves Krug, as you can tell, but he admits that it overvalues his power play prowess, given that he won't share the ice with Pastrnak, Bergeron, and Marchand anymore, but that doesn't mean that he's not a great player.
Krug takes over Alex Pietrangelo's role as the best defenseman in St. Louis, but it will be very interesting to see how Vince Dunn's contract talks play out. Krug is a fantastic offensive defenseman that doesn't shy away from the big hits, just ask Robert Thomas. As a diehard Bruins fan, it pains me to see Krug leave, but I understand the move from his perspective after learning that the Bruins had no communication with him.
Chris Tanev, CGY, 4 years, $4.5M
Chris Tanev's production took a dive these last two seasons, and yet, the Flames grossly overpay to sign him to a deal that will pay him 18 million dollars over the next 4 years. Tanev offers little to no offensive production, and with his defense falling off a cliff, this will certainly be one of the worst contracts handed out during this free agency period.
Corey Crawford, NJD, 2 years, $3.9M
Crawford has somehow flown under the radar over the last few seasons, likely due to him being on mediocre Chicago teams. His production is still well above average, but I'm not sure why a team with a pretty good goalie already would want to bring him in as a 1b, he's too expensive for that. This free agency, we saw Holtby and Crawford both get around $4m AAV from teams with young goalies that they seem to like. I don't know why Chicago didn't bring him back, he's a legend in the city, and Malcolm Subban cannot replace his production.
Andre Burakovsky, COL, 2 years, $4.9M
Burakovsky is one of the best finishers in the league, but in Colorado, he's not on the top line, so the $4.9M AAV price tag seems a bit hefty, and with the Saad trade, the Avs now have 6 forwards with a cap hit above 4.5 million this season. I don't think this will come back to bite them however, because the term is not long, and the Avs could move this contract if they wanted to.
Thomas Greiss, DET, 2 years, $3.6M
Thomas Greiss is an upgrade on Jimmy Howard, the contract isn't crazy, and based on how Islanders fans treat him, has fan favorite potential. Having Greiss in net isn't having a brick wall, but it's going to give you a chance to win games. He's like an equivalent of a mediocre but consistent NFL QB, he's not gonna lose the game for you, but he won't win it for you either. Seeing the contracts some other goalies are getting, and knowing that Greiss will be option number 1 in Detroit, fans should be pleased, but not excited with this signing.
Craig Smith, BOS, 3 years, $3.1M
If you couldn't tell, I'm pretty excited about the Bruins signing Craig Smith. He is my twitter profile picture right now and all Bruins fans should be this excited as well. To be able to get Smith on just 3.1M AAV, when models have his market value upwards of 9 million is a stroke of genius from Don Sweeney. His contract projection from Evolving-Hockey had him at 3 years for 4.4M AAV, further illustrating how much of a steal this is. Smith is one of the most underrated players in hockey, and he should slide right in to that Bruins middle 6.
Tyson Barrie, EDM, 1 year, $3.75M
Why Oilers, why? Why do you, a team that badly needs defensive help, sign Kyle Turris and Tyson Barrie? Barrie is one of the worst defensive defensemen in hockey, and he just put up a poor season in Toronto that had fans calling for his head every game.
I don't see this working out for Edmonton, they're taking an extremely strange route to team building known as "I don't care about defense, I just want to score." There's a possibility that Barrie puts up 50-60 points playing on a PP with McDavid and Draisaitl, but that will be cancelled out by this team's inability to defend, and they still don't have a reliable goaltender.
Valeri Nichushkin, COL, 2 years, $2.5M
We kind of knew that Nichushkin was going to go back to Colorado on a bargain deal, so I really only threw him in here to show off his absolutely ABSURD charts.
Taylor Hall, BUF, 1 year, $8M
From Taylor Hall's perspective, I completely understand this move, I'll explain, but that's not to say I wasn't absolutely shocked when it happened. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, saw this coming. Hall is coming off of a down year in a contract year with a flat cap, and he takes a one year, prove it deal to play on a line with Jack Eichel. Hall is setting himself up to make 8-9 million for the next 5-6 years barring injury.
Erik Gustafsson, PHI, 1 year, $3M
There is no problem for the Flyers in getting an offensive defensemen, but they still have yet to address their main need, getting a top tier goalscorer. Gustafsson is the defenseman equivalent of a top tier goal scorer, as indicated by his 92nd %tile shooting grade last year, and he's horrible defensively, but for Philly, they'll have the toughness and defense, I'm concerned about their goalscoring.
Tyler Toffoli, MTL, 4 years, $4.25M
I can not believe that the Canucks decided not to bring back Toffoli. He played very well last year, they traded a second rounder for him, and the price isn't too steep. They may be saving a little bit too much money for the Pettersson and Hughes extensions when they need to happen. For the Habs, this is exactly what they need, Toffoli is a good offensive forward with decent defensive play and is a good power play threat. He's not great by any stretch, but he's well above average in most things, and at the end of the day, that's what you need.
Alex Pietrangelo, VGK, 7 years, $8.8M
I wrote an article on Pietrangelo a month ago, and I said he'd go to Vegas, and I did a detailed breakdown of his play, so I won't do that again. I will say though, that Vegas somehow didn't trade Fleury, extended Lehner, and signed Pietrangelo, what did it cost them? A solid defensemen in Nate Schmidt, losing Jon Merrill, and losing Nick Cousins, is it worth it? Time will tell, but the full NMC may make this an albatross 5 years down the road.