Stamkos returning to Lightning
After many believed that another team would find a way to lure Stamkos away from the Lightning, the star announced that he was staying on an eight-year deal that will give him $8.5 million annually. He has spent his entire eight-year career with Tampa Bay after they selected him No. 1 overall in 2008. In 569 games, he has 312 goals, the second-most in that span behind Alex Ovechkin, which gives him an average of .55 goals per game.
Lightning also keep Hedman
It was announced today that the Lightning were also able to keep defenseman Victor Hedman on an eight-year extension. The extension will kick in for the 2017-18 campaign, giving him $7.825 million annually. The No. 2 overall pick in 2009 had 10 goals and 37 assists last season. The 25-year-old has 49 goals and 180 assists in his seven-year career.
Panthers extend another defenseman
The Florida Panthers also secured their blue line for the next eight years, giving Aaron Ekblad a $60 million contract. This extension will also kick in during the 2017-18 season, after his three-year entry-level is up following this season. The 20-year-old won the Calder Trophy in 2015, and had 15 goals and 21 assists in 78 games last season.
Red Wings hang on to Helm
The Detroit Red Wings kept speed on their side after losing Pavel Datsyuk, extending center Darren Helm five years, giving him $3.85 million per season. The 29-year-old had 13 goals and 13 assists in 77 games last season.
Wings add center Nielsen
After spending 10 years with the New York Islanders, center Frans Nielsen has joined the Red Wings on a six-year, $31.5 million deal. The 32-year-old has 119 goals and 230 assists in 606 NHL games. He is a perennial 20-goal, 30-assist player that New York will surely miss.
Islanders agree with Ladd
After losing out on Nielsen, the Islanders took former Blackhawks left winger Andrew Ladd on a seven-year deal that will pay him $5.5 million annually. He had 25 goals and 21 assists in 78 games this past season in Chicago.
Backes finds new home in Boston
Staying in the theme of centers, former St. Louis Blues center David Backes has agreed to a five-year deal with the Boston Bruins. The contract is worth $30 million, giving him $6 million per season. He played in 79 games last season, recording 24 goals and 21 assists for the Blues. The No. 62 overall pick in 2003 has 460 points in 727 career games.
Lucic joins Oilers
Forward Milan Lucic followed suit with the quick decisions, agreeing to a seven-year, $42 million deal with the Edmonton Oilers. He is now reunited with general manager Peter Chiarelli, who he won a Stanley Cup with during his time with the Bruins in 2011. Lucic had 20 goals and 35 assists in 81 games last season with the Kings.
Eriksson to Vancouver
Another former Boston Bruin is also making the move to Canada, as Loui Eriksson agreed to a six-year, $36 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks. The forward spent the last three seasons in Boston, recording 62 goals and 85 assists. Last season, the 30-year-old had 30 goals and 33 assists, and did not miss a game.
Sabres ink Nelson/Okposo
The Buffalo Sabres began their transaction process days before the free agency period began, signing young star Casey Nelson to a two-year contract extension. After making his NHL debut in March, he had four assists in seven games. Meanwhile, after the free agency period began, the team added Brian Okposo on a seven-year contract. The 28-year-old spent his first nine seasons with the Islanders, leading them to their first playoff series win since 1993. He is a three-time 20-goal scorer, and had 64 points during the 2015-16 regular season.
Predators/Canadiens swap defenseman
The Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens made bold moves before July 1st as well, making a trade that sent defenseman Shea Weber to Montreal, and defenseman P.K. Subban to Nashville. Subban was reportedly not surprised by the move after hearing multiple trade rumors since signing an eight-year deal in summer 2014. The 27-year-old won the Norris Trophy in 2013, and recorded more than 50 points in each of the past three seasons. Weber has also been productive, which lead to the veteran receiving a 14-year offer sheet from Philadelphia in 2012, which Nashville matched. He has spent his entire career with the Predators since making his NHL debut in 2005.
Oilers deal former No. 1 pick
The Edmonton Oilers also made a notable trade, sending former No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall to the Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson. Hall was thrown off by the deal, stating "it's pretty hard not to feel slighted." Hall has been with the team for six seasons, recording 132 goals and 196 assists in 381 games. Larsson played in all 82 games last season, putting up three goals and 15 assists. He has nine goals and 60 assists in 274 career games.
Blackhawks re-sign Campbell
The Chicago Blackhawks were lacking defesemen, and they turned to an old friend, re-signing Brian Campbell to a one-year deal. The 37-year-old won a Stanley Cup with the 'Hawks in 2010. He played with the Florida Panthers last season, scoring six goals and 25 assists in 82 games.