NHL Free Agent Tracker 2012

NHL GMs started their spending spree to round out their rosters on July 1. Who went where for how much and what does it mean? THN had start-to-finish coverage of the players who switched teams with analysis by Ken Campbell, Ryan Kennedy and Adam Proteau. 

To keep track of who signs, and re-signs, this off-season check out our “Transactions” section, where you can track the movements by day, team and get an alphabetic list of all the UFAs.


9:49 EST
Washington Capitals
Joey Crabb, RW/LW (from Toronto) TERM: $950,000/1 year

ANALYSIS: The Caps brought in some nice two-way talent last year in Troy Brouwer and Joel Ward and now they add to their depth with Crabb, an energy guy with some offensive touch. Last season with the Maple Leafs, the Alaskan hit NHL career totals in games played (67), goals (11) and points (26). He was also a threat shorthanded, where he potted two of his goals. This is a fourth-line signing for Washington, but a deft one at less than $1 million. – RK

9:42 EST
Buffalo Sabres
John Scott, W/D (from Rangers) TERM: $600,000/1 year

ANALYSIS: While the Sabres aren’t completely devoid of heft, there were certain incidents last season that led to some questioning their toughness. Scott, the 6-foot-8 behemoth who can sort of also play defense, takes care of that department. He’s a premier heavyweight fighter and though he can nominally suit up on the wing as well, his position doesn’t tend to dictate his role in a game. At $600,000, he comes cheap on a day where the fighting breed is getting paid large. Expect only limited minutes from the big man. – RK

8:04 EST
Vancouver Canucks
Jason Garrison, D (from Florida) TERM: $4.6 million per/6 years

ANALYSIS: So Garrison got the big payday after all. Now it’s time to show his wicked campaign in Florida was no fluke and not completely dependent on Brian Campbell’s simpatico skills. In Vancouver, Garrison will face a lot more heat, but fans will fall in love with his Howitzer point shot – which will look deranged to goalies who had been following the Sedins cycle the puck before dishing it back to him on the man advantage. Will the Canucks regret signing a player who has only put up one big year to a six-year pact? Garrison has always been a hard worker, so unless the money goes to his head the effort will be there every night. And it’s not like Vancouver’s blueline is threadbare; he’ll get his support and won’t have to play outside him comfort zone. Only two NHL defensemen had more goals than Garrison last year: Shea Weber and Erik Karlsson. – RK

8:03 EST
Anaheim Ducks
Sheldon Souray, D (from Dallas) TERM: $3.7 million per/3 years

ANALYSIS: When the salary cap has crested the $70 million mark, it’s hard to get upset with a deal that with a cap hit of $3.7 million, but in an objective sense the Ducks overpaid a little for Souray. At this stage of his career, he’s a bomb shot from the point that can help with the man advantage, but his production really tailed off last season with Dallas. Specifically, 13 of his 21 points came in the first 14 games and the battle-hardened vet played 64 total. Having said that, the Ducks have a pretty versatile ‘D’ corps going now with Souray and Bryan Allen in the fold. Whether Souray’s body holds up for the duration of the contract remains to be seen. – RK

7:19 EST
Dallas Stars
Aaron Rome, D (from Vancouver) TERM: $1.5 million per/3 years

ANALYSIS: History has been unkind to Rome lately – his name is synonymous with the open-ice hit on Boston’s Nathan Horton that led to the rugged defenseman’s suspension and the swinging of momentum away from the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup final. So perhaps it’s better for all involved that Rome gets a fresh start in Dallas, where he can contribute toughness and even a little offense to the blueline corps. Rome is likely a third-pairing kinda guy, but that’s OK in Dallas, where the Stars’ depth chart on the back end wasn’t deep enough last season. – RK

6:37 EST
Detroit Red Wings
Jordin Tootoo, RW (from Nashville) TERM: $1.9 million per/3 years

ANALYSIS: Nashville fans better hope this signing isn’t the tipping point for Ryan Suter heading to Detroit. Even if it’s not, Tootoo is one of the best agitators in the NHL thanks to his punishing physical style and willingness to drop the gloves with bigger opponents. Now the Predators fan favorite hops over to a division archrival that has often been accused of lacking sandpaper. Talent-wise, Tootoo is best suited to a fourth line role, but in Detroit that’s still a plum assignment. Between Tootoo and Darren Helm, opponents will have to be quick when retrieving the puck, as the Wings’ forecheck just got a lot feistier. – RK

6:21 EST
Detroit Red Wings
Mikael Samuelsson, RW (from Florida) TERM: $3 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: Turns out you can go home again. After a couple years outside the Motor City with Vancouver and Florida, Samuelsson returns to the franchise that earned him his Stanley Cup ring in 2008. Once again in Detroit, he’ll be counted on for secondary scoring and solid two-way play. Though he was effective last year for the Panthers, the veteran Swede was also vulnerable to injury and at 35 years old, that’s not going to improve. The $3 million stipend is not too onerous, so even though the Wings probably shouldn’t expect 164 games out of Samuelsson over the duration of the contract, there’s little risk in the signing. – RK

6:01 EST
Anaheim Ducks
Bryan Allen, D (from Carolina) TERM: $3.5 million per/3 years

ANALYSIS: The Ducks’ defense corps is in transition and though the future is wrapped up in Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa, the present incarnation could use Allen’s talents. Size and experience are the most obvious of those and when mixed in with Anaheim stalwart Francois Beauchemin and vet Toni Lydman, all of a sudden Anaheim’s looking pretty set on the back end (despite dealing away Lubomir Visnovsky to the Islanders recently). Allen will be a shutdown man for the Ducks, leaving the derring-do to other blueliners such as Fowler. Anaheim got the veteran big man at a reasonable price, to boot. – RK

5:36 EST
Tampa Bay Lightning
Sami Salo, D (from Vancouver) TERM: $3.75 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: Tampa Bay’s blueline is certainly a work in progress and Salo injects some nice experience and a cannon shot into the corps. A pessimist will point out, however, that he is essentially a more injury-prone version of Mattias Ohlund, whom the Bolts already employ. Another former Canuck, Ohlund was brought in partly to help squire along phenom Victor Hedman and no doubt Salo will help in that respect as well. But the last time the Finn played a full 82 games in the NHL was, well, never – so the Bolts are taking a risk on an older player who may be a part-time contributor. If he stays healthy, he’ll be another excellent threat to add to Tampa’s power play. – RK

5:31 EST
Toronto Maple Leafs
Jay McClement, C (from Colorado) TERM: $1.5 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: The Leafs ditched a bottom-six forward in Colby Armstrong and picked up another in McClement, who brings great penalty-killing acumen to Toronto. For the price, the veteran is a nice pickup, but he doesn’t really shake the foundations of a Maple Leafs squad that needs top-end talent down the middle more than anything. At the least, McClement will be a good voice in the room and does fill a need on special teams. And hey, he’s even from Ontario. – RK.

4:36 EST
Columbus Blue Jackets
Adrian Aucoin, D (from Phoenix) TERM: $2 million/1 year

ANALYSIS: The trade that sent Marc Methot out of Columbus for Nick Foligno was one of the reasons the Blue Jackets signed greybeard blueliner Adrian Aucoin to a one-year, $2-million deal. The 38-year-old – now on his seventh NHL franchise – took about a 10 percent pay cut (down from $2.2 million he made in Phoenix last season), but he’s going to a team that can use his physicality and veteran savvy at least as much as the Coyotes did. – AP

4:26 EST
Nashville Predators
Chris Mason, G (from Winnipeg) TERM: $1.25 million/1 year

ANALYSIS: Mason returns to the place where he experienced the lion’s share of his career success and the Nashville Predators acquire a stopgap after trading backup Anders Lindback to Tampa for three draft picks. Mason can serve well in the backup role and has displayed an ability to take over during an injury to the No. 1 man, but simply doesn’t play with the consistency necessary to be a go-to goaltender. – KC

4:12 EST
Colorado Avalanche
P-A Parenteau, RW (from Islanders) TERM: $4 million per/4 years

ANALYSIS: Avalanche GM Greg Sherman continued his free-spending ways July 1, signing former Isles right winger P-A Parenteau to a four-year, $16-million deal. The 29-year-old Parenteau emerged as a scoring threat on Long Island the past two years and was clearly wise not to accept Islander GM Garth Snow’s hometown-discount offer. But the reality is, over the past few weeks, Sherman has committed $8 million in salary cap space to two guys (Parenteau and fellow winger David Jones) who have combined to hit the 20-goal plateau just three seasons. Either or both may yet up to their salary level, but it’s a significant risk for a team that takes a lot of them (see the Semyon Varlamov trade last summer). -AP

4:08 EST
New York Islanders
Eric Boulton, LW (from New Jersey) TERM: TBD/1 year

ANALYSIS: The Islanders never get beaten up in the alley, even when the scoreboard has been a different matter in recent years, but with the addition of Boulton, New York will once again be ready for those anarchic Atlantic Division battles. The veteran battler is best known for his epic throwdown with Washington’s John Erskine while he was a member of the Thrashers and is an NHL heavyweight at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds. He’ll be New York’s go-to enforcer now. – RK

4:04 EST
Florida Panthers
George Parros, RW (from Anaheim) TERM: $925,000 per/2 years

The Florida Panthers added size and intimidation to their lineup by signing former Anaheim Ducks enforcer George Parros to a two-year, $1.85 million contract. Parros played just 46 games last year, but the 32-year-old still racked up 85 penalty minutes (and 171 the season before that) and his 6-foot-5 frame is sure to help the Panthers cast a longer shadow on the opposition. He gets a slight raise on the $875,000 he earned last year in a relatively low-risk deal for the Cats. -AP

4:01 EST
Winnipeg Jets
Alex Ponikarovsky, LW (from New Jersey) TERM: $1.8 million/1 year

ANALYSIS: Ponikarovsky has been reunited in Winnipeg with Nik Antropov, where the two of them can once again team up to become two very large, frustratingly ineffective players. Ponikarovsky was actually reasonably productive in his short stint with the New Jersey Devils, something that undoubtedly earned him a $300,000 raise on a one-year deal with the Jets. He’s very good in his own end and works hard off the ice, but his inability to create any modicum of offense limits his effectiveness. – KC

3:54 EST
Chicago Blackhawks
Sheldon Brookbank, D (from Anaheim) TERM: $1.3 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: A rugged defenseman who will provide the Blackhawks with some depth, Brookbank enjoyed a career season with the Anaheim Ducks. Don’t look for him to repeat those kinds of numbers in Chicago, but he will stand up for his teammates and make the Blackhawks that much more difficult an opponent. Mobility is definitely an issue, but his defensive play has improved over the years. – KC

3:53 EST
Colorado Avalanche
Greg Zanon, D (from Boston) TERM: $2.25 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: The Colorado Avalanche picked up an expert shot-blocker when they signed defenseman Greg Zanon to a two-year, $4.5 million contract. The 32-year-old missed 26 games last year splitting the season between Minnesota and Boston, but still had 136 blocks. The season before, when he played a full 82 games, Zanon was second in the league with 212. He’s a smart positional player who’ll make Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov a much happier man. -AP

3:33 EST
Montreal Canadiens
Brandon Prust, LW/RW (from Rangers) TERM: $2.5 million per/4 years

ANALYSIS: Just to recap here: So far, the Montreal Canadiens have committed $3.5 million next season for two players who combined for six goals and 20 points. Harsh? Perhaps. But the Canadiens obviously have put a premium on toughness and character after being criticized by almost everyone in the hockey world for being too small and too soft. With the likes of the re-signed Travis Moen, along with Prust and Armstrong, that won’t be the case anymore. None is a behemoth by NHL standards, but all three punch well above their weights. – KC.

3:33 EST
Anaheim Ducks
Brad Staubitz, LW/RW (from Montreal) TERM: $638,000 per/2 years

ANALYSIS: With longtime enforcer George Parros an unrestricted free agent being pursued by a number of teams, the Ducks paid for tough guy insurance with the signing of former Canadiens right winger Brad Staubitz to a two-year contract. The 27-year-old split last season between Minnesota and Montreal, racking up 121 penalty minutes. He also had 173 PIM for Minnesota in 2010-11 and though he isn’t huge physically (6-foot-1), he’s a more than willing combatant. -AP

2:49 EST
Montreal Canadiens
Francis Bouillon, D (from Nashville) TERM: $1.5 million per/1 year

ANALYSIS: Bouillon is an anomaly in today’s game. He’s a small defenseman who excels in the physical and defensive sides of the game. But that attitude and style of play has come at a cost to Bouillon, who has worn down over the years and has been reduced to accepting a one-year contract. But it’s not exactly salad days for the Canadiens either, the glory franchise that can only seem to attract second-tier free agents. (We reserve the right to withdraw this comment if Jaromir Jagr signs with the team.) – KC

2:41 EST
Florida Panthers
Filip Kuba, D (from Ottawa) TERM: $4 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: The Florida Panthers realized somebody else was going to overpay Jason Garrison, so they went out and replaced him by overpaying Filip Kuba. He has good size and mobility and actually had a very good year for the Ottawa Senators, but he’s also 35 years old. It will be interesting to see whether this has any adverse effect on his former defense partner and Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson in Ottawa. If Karlsson misses Kuba’s veteran presence and suffers, the $4 million a year the Panthers paid will look like chump change. – KC

2:41 EST
New York Rangers
Arron Asham, LW/RW (from Pittsburgh) TERM: $1 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: Veteran right winger Arron Asham completed the feat of playing for each of the five Atlantic Division teams when he signed a two-year, $2-million deal with the New York Rangers. The 34-year-old played the past two seasons in Pittsburgh and has had trouble staying healthy thanks to repeated concussions, but is exactly the type of intense player coach John Tortorella adores. -AP.

2:40 EST
Pittsburgh Penguins
Tanner Glass, LW (from Winnipeg) TERM: $1.1 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: The Penguins didn’t have enough grit against Philly in their second-round playoff loss, but addressed that need with the signing of left winger/enforcer Tanner Glass to a two-year, $2.2 million contract. The 28-year-old, five-year NHL veteran set a career high in goals (five), assists (11) and points (16) last season with Winnipeg, but it’s his willingness to mix things up that secured him this deal, not his offense. – AP.

2:13 EST
New York Islanders
Matt Carkner, D (from Ottawa) TERM: $1.5 million per/3 years

ANALYSIS: This is why the New York Islanders are the New York Islanders. They give more than a 100 percent raise on a three-year contract to a declining asset who is 31 years old. Carkner is a willing soldier and a very good teammate, but it speaks volumes when the Ottawa Senators, who are usually solid on talent evaluation and have watched him for the past five years, were willing to offer him only $700,000 on a one-year deal. The big contracts can be killers for teams, but it’s these little ones that often end up being the most outrageous. – KC

2:05 EST
New York Islanders
Brad Boyes, C/RW (from Buffalo) TERM: $1 million per/1 year

ANALYSIS: It’s official, Brad Boyes has become a journeyman. Taking a $3 million pay cut from his last deal, Boyes had few options and it showed. Boyes is a terrific kid and can produce offense, the only problem is that he hasn’t done it with any sort of consistency over the past couple of seasons. And when Boyes is not scoring goals or setting up plays, he pretty much becomes a liability. He won’t face a lot of scrutiny or expectation on Long Island and that might bring out the best in him. – KC.

2:05 EST
San Jose Sharks
Adam Burish, LW/C (from Dallas) TERM: $1.8 million per/4 years

ANALYSIS: Adam Burish won a Stanley Cup in Chicago and set a new (if modest) career high on offense last season in Dallas before hitting the free agent market this summer. He’s continued on that upward trajectory, scoring a four-year, $7.2 million contract to join the San Jose Sharks. The 29-year-old had a career-best 13 assists and 19 points in 65 games with Dallas last year, but Sharks GM Doug Wilson values his toughness and ability to agitate as much as anything. Four years sure seems like a long term for someone of his stature, but Wilson is known for entering into lengthier deals with players if he sees a good fit. This is likely one of them. -AP.

1:50 EST
Ottawa Senators
Guillaume Latendresse, LW (from Minnesota) TERM: $1.25 million per/1 year

ANALYSIS: It was only a few years ago Guillaume Latendresse was an up-and-coming left winger who scored at least 25 goals in two straight seasons. Unfortunately for the 25-year-old, health woes – including a concussion that knocked him out of Minnesota’s final 50 games in 2011-12 – limited him to 27 games the past two years and drove down his free agent asking price. So it was no real surprise to see Latendresse sign a one-year, $1.25-million contract – a more than 50 percent drop in salary – with Ottawa. He’s a smart gamble at that price and could give them the scoring depth they’re looking for if he can stay in the lineup. -AP

1:40 EST
Dallas Stars
Ray Whitney, LW (from Phoenix) TERM: $4.5 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: Well, this was a bit of a surprise. Most observers thought Whitney would land in Carolina, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2006. But the Stars obviously stepped up big-time with a contract that will look great if Whitney is as productive in the next two seasons as he was this past season. It won’t look so good, however, if Whitney suddenly falls off in his level of performance the way it inevitably happens with players who are 40 years old. But he gives the Stars an offensive creativity that they lacked. – KC

1:40 EST
Montreal Canadiens
Colby Armstrong, RW/LW (from Toronto) TERM: $1 million per/1 year

ANALYSIS: Colby Armstrong is now the rarest of NHL creatures – someone who’ll be paid $1-million from arch-rival teams in both Toronto (which bought him out Saturday) and Montreal (which signed him Sunday). An immensely popular and lighthearted presence in the locker room, the 29-year-old right winger makes the Habs tougher to play against – that is, when he’s healthy. One of the biggest reasons the Maple Leafs chose to cut him loose in the final year of his three-year, $9-million contract was that he played just 79 games in two seasons and couldn’t be counted on to remain in the lineup. The Canadiens get him at a bargain rate and his arrival will ease the tension and pressure that overwhelmed elements of the team last year. -AP

1:34 EST
Minnesota Wild
Torrey Mitchell, RW/LW (from San Jose) TERM: $1.9 million per/3 years

ANALYSIS: As the Minnesota Wild chased down both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter for the top end of their lineup, they were also taking care of the bottom end by signing players such as Mitchell and Zenon Konopka. There was a fair bit of interest in Mitchell, who skates well, kills penalties and is good on faceoffs. But make no mistake, the Wild are paying him a bottom-six salary for three years and there’s little chance he’ll be anything more than a third- or fourth-line center for them. – KC

1:19 EST
Minnesota Wild
Zenon Konopka, C (from Ottawa) TERM: $925,000 per/2 years

ANALYSIS: The Minnesota Wild aren’t regarded as the most physical of teams, but that will change somewhat with their signing of center/bruiser Zenon Konopka to a two-year deal. The 31-year-old was third in the NHL in penalty minutes (193) in 55 games with the Senators last season and was tied for second in fighting majors (19). Having amassed more than five points just twice in his seven NHL seasons, Konopka is no threat to score, but will add edge to a lineup not exactly brimming with it. – AP

1:19 EST
Carolina Hurricanes
Joe Corvo, D (from Boston) TERM: $2 million per/1 year

ANALYSIS: There is certainly a comfort level between Corvo and the Carolina Hurricanes, who have served notice they intend to regain their status as contenders in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes are still pretty thin on the blueline and Corvo will help, but those who are expecting miracles should realize that Corvo is 35 years old and a declining asset. His days as a 40-point man are almost certainly behind him, but he’s still capable of contributing quality, top-four minutes. – KC.

1:17 EST
Colorado Avalanche
John Mitchell, C/W (from Rangers) TERM: $1.1 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: Colorado adds a depth forward to its ranks with Mitchell, a hard worker who is quite adept at winning faceoffs. On a team that already employs Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly, Mitchell is looking at fourth line duty tops, but he earned the respect of Rangers coach John Tortorella while in New York and that’s no easy task. Offense will be limited, but Mitchell knows his role. – RK

1:15 EST
Ottawa Senators
Mike Lundin, D (from Minnesota) TERM: $1.15 million per/1 year

ANALYSIS: Expected to lose the services of UFA veteran Filip Kuba, the Senators made a smart, affordable blueline pickup when they signed Mike Lundin to a one-year, $1.15 million contract. The 27-year-old defenseman played just 17 games for Minnesota (after spending the previous four in Tampa Bay) and had sports hernia surgery in March, but he’s a steady-if-unspectacular performer who should fit in well and help Ottawa’s penalty kill. – AP.

12:40 EST
Phoenix Coyotes
David Moss, RW/C (from Calgary) TERM: $2.1 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: David Moss is precisely the kind of player the Phoenix Coyotes are becoming noted for employing – a reclamation project with the ability to contribute something meaningful to a franchise that can’t overspend. Although no monetary terms were immediately disclosed, it’s tough to imagine he’ll get a huge raise on the $1.3 million he made in Calgary the past three seasons, as he’s been sidelined with injuries much of the past two years.  But he did have 17 goals in 58 games in 2010-11 and scored 20 in 81 games in 2008-09. Coyotes GM Don Maloney was likely able to offer him opportunity and an environment relatively pressure-free compared to the Flames’ cauldron he departs. A bounce-back season isn’t out of the question at all for the 30-year-old. -AP.

12:40 EST
Detroit Red Wings
Jonas Gustavsson, G (from Winnipeg) TERM: $1.5 million per/2 years

ANALYSIS: You can bet Red Wings European scout Hakan Andersson had an enormous hand in this signing. It’s obvious he believes that Gustavsson is a better NHL goaltender than he showed in Toronto. Watch for Gustavsson to improve under the tutelage of goalie coach Jim Bedard, who will allow Gustavsson to be the stand-up blocker that he is and will play to his strengths instead of insisting on him being a butterfly goalie the way Leafs goalie coach Francois Allaire did. Gustavsson will undoubtedly have a comfort level among all the Swedes on the Red Wings. – KC.