The NHL summer shenanigans get going July 5 with the opening of free agency. Teams have had two days to talk to pending free agents and now the time has come when contracts can be offered and signed. David Clarkson, Nathan Horton, Mike Ribeiro, Mikhail Grabovski, Jarome Iginla and Jaromir Jagr are among the most talented players available to the highest bidder: where will they end up?
THN presents you with our free agent coverage, with analysis of all the day's signings. Check out what each team has done to this point in the off-season, our full list of all the free agents available and our Top 10 Potential UFA bargains list. They may be rare, but bargains can still be had today.
For any signings after 5:00 Eastern on Friday, follow through here for a full list of transactions.
And don't miss Ryan Kennedy's analysis of the blockbuster Bobby Ryan trade to Ottawa.
T.J. BRENNAN TO TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: ONE YEAR, $600,000 CAP HIT
Analysis: T.J. Brennan has bounced around quite a bit lately. The Nashville Predators, in fact, chose not to extend him a qualifying offer after acquiring his rights from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Bobby Butler a few weeks ago. Which is why it is a little surprising that the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have some decent depth on defense, offered him a one-way contract. Brennan is clearly a depth guy who provides them with a buffer should things go sideways in negotiations with restricted free agents Carl Gunnarson, Cody Franson and Mark Fraser. But should all those players re-sign with the Leafs, Brennan will likely be a fill-in guy who will either be an extra defenseman or making frequent trips between the Air Canada Centre and the Ricoh Coliseum, where the Toronto Marlies play. -KC
JEFF SCHULTZ TO LOS ANGELES KINGS: ONE YEAR, $700,000 CAP HIT
Analysis: Certainly a depth option for the Kings after being bought out by the Capitals, Schultz isn't going to replace what Rob Scuderi brought, but he brings the same style. A cheap, short deal, the Kings can't lose on this minor add.
ERIC NYSTROM TO NASHVILLE PREDATORS: FOUR YEARS, $2.5 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: The Preds continued their makeover at forward by signing left winger Eric Nystrom to a four-year contract. The 30-year-old Nystrom had his best NHL season for Dallas in 2011-12 with 16 goals and 21 points in 74 games. He'll play a role on Nashville's third or fourth line and provide speed and grit. -AP
ANTON KHUDOBIN TO CAROLINA HURRICANES: ONE YEAR, $800,000 CAP HIT
Analysis: We may look back in five years at one of the least significant deals of the 2013 free agent sweepstakes and point to this one as the best of the bunch. Getting Anton Khudobin for one year at $800,000 could be the coup of the summer for Carolina. And we're serious here. Khudobin is a very good goalie, with some outstanding NHL potential, who has been stuck behind some very good No. 1 goalies in Boston. That's still the case in Carolina, but the uncertain health status of Cam Ward could lead to Khudobin finally getting the chance to be a No. 1 for an extended period of time. If he does that and shines, we might just have the next Tim Thomas on our hands. Remember, you heard it here first. -KC
DOMINIC MOORE TO NEW YORK RANGERS: ONE YEAR, $1 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: Dominic Moore's year-long hiatus from the NHL ended Friday when he signed a one-year contract with the New York Rangers. Moore, who lost his wife Katie to cancer in January, gives the Rangers speed that new coach Alain Vigneault likes to work with. He's 32, but still has something left. -AP
VALTTERI FILPPULA TO TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: FIVE YEARS, $5 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: Well, he’s younger than Lecavalier…
In all seriousness, though $5 million is an overpay for the former Red Wing, it’s not exorbitant in this free market and Filppula does slide in nicely behind Steven Stamkos as Tampa’s second-line center. At 29, the Finn will be a solid player for the entirety of this five-year deal and now the question becomes one of linemates, particularly if Ryan Malone is on the outs, as has been suggested in media circles. There is some decent youth to try out with Filppula, however. -RK
CARTER HUTTON TO NASHVILLE PREDATORS: ONE YEAR, $550,000 CAP HIT
Analysis: The Predators are known as an NHL goaltending factory – and after he was signed by Nashville Friday, former Blackhawks netminding prospect Carter Hutton is hoping Preds goalie guru Mitch Korn can work wonders with his career as well. The 27-year-old has played for Chicago's AHL affiliate the past two seasons and posted decent numbers, but the best he can hope for in Nashville is a chance to back up clear No. 1 Pekka Rinne. -AP
DAN ELLIS TO DALLAS STARS: TWO YEARS, $900,000 CAP HIT
Analysis: Bit of a statement signing by new Stars GM Jim Nill here. Dallas has a trio of prospects in goalies Jack Campbell, Richard Bachman and the older Cristopher Nilstorp, but in nabbing Ellis, the Stars have essentially protected those up-and-comers in the short term. Not a bad idea since Bachman and Nilstorp got knocked around in their NHL starts behind Kari Lehtonen, who is the No. 1, but remains a goalie always in danger of getting injured. -RK
MATT HENDRICKS TO NASHVILLE PREDATORS: FOUR YEARS, $1.85 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: The Predators continued adding forwards with the signing of former Capitals center Matt Hendricks. The 32-year-old Hendricks has never had more than nine goals and 25 points in a season, but he's not coming to Nashville to play on the first or second line. He's there to improve the Preds' bottom six. -AP
STEPHEN WEISS TO DETROIT RED WINGS: FIVE YEARS, $4.9 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: Some of the conventional wisdom suggested that Stephen Weiss in Florida was a star surrounded by players who were not of his caliber, but that most certainly will not be the case now. The Detroit Red Wings opened the vault for Weiss, but did not pay an outrageous amount or term for a player who missed most of last season with a lingering wrist issue that required season-ending surgery. Weiss will fit in quite well with the skill players the Red Wings have and should improve on his usual production of 60 points a season. He'll also have to adjust to playing in the playoffs. -KC
MATT CULLEN TO NASHVILLE PREDATORS: TWO YEARS, $3.5 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: Preds GM David Poile said at the draft that offense was going to be the order of the day come free agency, which was made more obvious by the fact the defensively staunch team had blueliner Seth Jones fall in its lap with the fourth overall pick. Cullen helps in that regard thanks to his speed and ability to play both center and wing, though he’s not the elite guy they need. Still, at $3.5 million, it’s a low-cost move that can’t hurt. -RK
VIKTOR STALBERG TO NASHVILLE PREDATORS: FOUR YEARS, $3 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: The Predators have traditionally lacked for offense and by no means are a marquee destination for free agent NHLers. That background should help you understand why they took a significant gamble on former Blackhawks winger Viktor Stalberg, signing him to a reported four-year, $12-million contract. Yes, the 27-year-old has been a 20-goal, 40-point man (at least, in a projected capacity this past season) the last two years, but that was on a supremely talented Hawks squad. Can he do as well on a far less offensively productive Preds team? We'll see. -AP
DAVID CLARKSON TO TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: SEVEN YEARS, $5.25 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: The worst thing Toronto Maple Leaf fans could do at this point is look at David Clarkson's contract and expect him to be a perennial 30-40-goal scorer over the course of his contract. Know this: David Clarkson has not changed one iota as a player. Expectations likely have, given the term and the money for which Clarkson signed. What Clarkson does give the Leafs is a power forward who can drive the net and consistently score 15-20 goals a season and get 150 penalty minutes. That's a very good addition if you ignore the numbers. But given the bidding war that had developed involving the Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers, it was a given that the Maple Leafs were going to overpay. No matter what the quality of the free agent crop is this season, the crown jewel is the crown jewel. -KC
Toronto can use a big, physical, 20-goal winger. Problem isn't that Clarkson won't help Leafs, just that he won't score like a $5.25M guy.
— Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) July 5, 2013
TYLER BOZAK RETURNS TO TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: FIVE YEARS, $4.2 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: It was never a matter of the Maple Leafs not wanting Bozak; everything came down to paying him an appropriate stipend for his talents. At $4.2 million per year, GM Dave Nonis has that deal. Bozak is not a top-line center, but he is, at heart, a very good second-line center who can win faceoffs and be an effective player. Not only does this contract keep expectations intact, but it gives Toronto depth down the middle, where Bozak fits in with Nazem Kadri and Dave Bolland. -RK
$4.2 million cap hit for Bozak completely reasonable. Shocking.
— Rory Boylen (@THNRoryBoylen) July 5, 2013
ROSTISLAV OLESZ TO NEW JERSEY DEVILS: ONE YEAR, $1 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: Unable to reach his potential as a seventh overall pick in Florida and bought out by the Chicago Blackhawks, Olesz is a long-shot project for the Devils. Olesz did not play a single game in the NHL this season, scoring 19 points in 14 games with AHL Rockford. – RB
SCOTT HANNAN RETURNS TO SAN JOSE SHARKS: ONE YEAR, $1 MILLION
Analysis: If there's one thing Doug Wilson is known for in San Jose, it's his loyalty to Sharks players. Wilson showed how well-earned that reputation is Friday when he repatriated defenseman Scott Hannan into the organization by signing him to a one-year, $1-million contract. The 34-year-old Hannan is close to the end of his NHL effectiveness, but as a veteran member of a deep, balanced blueline corps, he won't be put in a position where he can fail. -AP
CLARKE MACARTHUR TO OTTAWA SENATORS: TWO YEARS, $3.25 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: When you lose the best right winger in team history, you’re going to need a bounce-back. MacArthur is no Daniel Alfredsson, but he has proven to be a decent second-line scoring option in the past. His totals have taken a hit lately and $3.25 million might be a bit of an overpay, but he is an experienced scorer and the Sens need some stubble in that dressing room now. – RK
ROB SCUDERI TO PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: FOUR YEARS, $3.375 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: The Penguins never wanted to let Rob Scuderi go after winning the Stanley Cup with him in 2009, but had no choice when the Los Angeles Kings came through with a big offer. Getting Scuderi back on a four-year deal at $13.5 million gives the Penguins a defensive presence that their recent playoff failures have proved they so sorely need. Scuderi offers the Penguins a calming, veteran presence in their own end and has since added another Cup since leaving the Penguins. It's another big contract for the Penguins, but GM Ray Shero has proved to be a master manipulator when it comes to the cap. Look for some exits from the Penguin blueline to fit Scuderi into the mix. – KC
RYANE CLOWE TO NEW JERSEY DEVILS: FIVE YEARS, $4.85 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: Consigned to losing gritty winger David Clarkson, the New Jersey Devils moved swiftly to sign a similar-if-older player in former Rangers and Sharks left winger Ryane Clowe. The 30-year-old Clowe split a disappointing regular season between San Jose and Manhattan, but when he’s healthy, he can play a robust physical game and chip in 15-20 goals. A five-year contract may be too long for someone who plays his kind of game, but the Devils live to compete in the here and now; Clowe will help them do so. – AP
PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD TO NEW YORK ISLANDERS: ONE YEAR, $2 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: The Islanders seem to be using this free agency period to tweak with short-term solutions rather than surround John Tavares & Co., with big names and long-term contracts. That continued with the acquisition of Pierre-Marc Bouchard on a one-year deal worth $2 million. Bouchard has never scored more than 20 goals in a season and has been severely limited by concussions and other injuries. Several of the Wild's young prospects had clearly moved ahead of him and now Bouchard gets an opportunity to prove he can still contribute on a team where he'll get some prime ice time. – KC
NATHAN HORTON TO COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: SEVEN YEARS, $5.3 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: The cap hit isn’t horrible, but seven years is a long time to employ Horton. There’s the injuries to begin with and it sounds like his shoulder surgery will prevent him from starting the season in Columbus, but the Jackets targeted the powerful winger and won the race. Putting him in a top-six with Marian Gaborik is a tantalizing proposition and Columbus is the quiet market Horton desired. On the flip side, is it a black flag that an NHLer doesn’t want pressure on him? The Jackets are rising and Horton will help, but for how long – and whether he’ll justify the contract – remains to be seen. – RK
JASON LABARBERA TO EDMONTON OILERS: ONE YEAR, $1 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: In LaBarbera, Edmonton gets a good soldier who will play his backup minutes and not let the team down. He’s an upgrade from Nikolai Khabibulin in the sense that he’s younger and healthier, but can he push Devan Dubnyk enough? Edmonton has bolstered its defense with Andrew Ference and checking center Boyd Gordon, so maybe we finally see what Dubnyk is made of, no excuses. If Dubnyk falls short, LaBarbera should not be expected to take the lion’s share of starts; that’s not his role. -RK
MIKE RIBEIRO TO PHOENIX COYOTES: FOUR YEARS, $5.5 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: Just a few days ago, the Phoenix Coyotes were wards of the state with their long-term future hanging in the balance. Sure didn't take long for them to spend like drunken sailors, did it? Picking up Mike Ribeiro for four years with an average salary of $5.5 million gives the Coyotes a point-producing centerman who works best when he has wingers who can convert his soft passes. Ribeiro's wife, Tamara, was apparently “pissed beyond belief” that her husband was leaving Washington. Going to Phoenix will undoubtedly go a long way to soothing those feelings. – KC
Curious to see if Ribeiro declines in Phoenix. Will have his weakest supporting cast ever, arguably.
— Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) July 5, 2013
BOYD GORDON TO EDMONTON OILERS: THREE YEARS, $3 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: The Oilers pick up a player who we yesterday mentioned as this year's Jay McClement. Strong defensively and unheralded, Gordon will provide a steady influence to Edmonton's depth lines. The Oilers have all the star potential in the world on their top lines and needed an addition like this for balance. Between Gordon and Andrew Ference, July 5 has started out strong for the Oil. -RB
Gordon and Ference good unheralded pickups for Oilers. They're a lot more than just roster-fillers.
— Brian Costello (@bcostellothn) July 5, 2013
THOMAS GREISS TO PHOENIX COYOTES: ONE YEAR, $750,000 CAP HIT
Analysis: Jason LaBarbera had barely departed Phoenix for Edmonton when GM Don Maloney signed former Sharks netminder Thomas Greiss to be his replacement as backup to Mike Smith. The 27-year-old Greiss was projected to be San Jose’s goalie-of-the-future for many years, but never ascended to the position. He gets a year’s contract to prove he can handle limited minutes behind the newly-resigned Smith. – AP
MIKE KOMISAREK TO CAROLINA HURRICANES: ONE YEAR, $700,000 CAP HIT
Analysis: This is the type of contract that makes sense for both sides. Komisarek has his buyout money from Toronto, so he’s looking for a Wade Redden-esque second chance, not a big number on the check. The Canes need blueline depth and Komisarek can be serviceable if put in the right situation. Carolina has enough there not to overburden him, so this is a low-risk, smart signing. – RK
JOEY CRABB TO FLORIDA PANTHERS: TWO YEARS, $600,000 CAP HIT
Analysis: He’s not going to shake any foundations with his appearance, but Crabb will provide bottom-six minutes and an honest night’s work for the Panthers. A quick and dogged competitor, he has been serviceable throughout his young NHL career and comes at an easy price tag. – RK
DANIEL ALFREDSSON TO DETROIT RED WINGS: ONE YEAR, $5.5 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: Ottawa fans are still in a state of shock that the face of their franchise hightailed it for the marquee Red Wings, but the true surprise is the dollar amount. Detroit doling out $5.5 million for a 40-year-old with a history of injuries seems risky, though the Wings are uniquely situated. Cap-wise, they have about $7 million to still play with, but most of the integral pieces are locked up. Restricted free agents such as Gustav Nyquist, Joachim Andersson and Brendan Smith need deals, but that’s attainable. Now the question becomes how an older Detroit team will fare over an 82-game schedule with (most likely) and Olympic break compressing matters. – RK
POLL: Are you surprised Alfredsson left the Senators?
It's going to be weird seeing Alfie in a Red Wings sweater next year, almost as weird as seeing Borje Salming in one in 1989.
— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) July 5, 2013
RAY EMERY TO PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: ONE YEAR, $1.65 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: Ray Emery realized a dream when he won a Stanley Cup with Chicago last season – now he’ll try to re-establish himself as a No. 1 goalie with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Emery, who signed a one-year pact with Philly, will battle Steve Mason for the Flyers’ starting job. His rebuilt hip will be a concern for the rest of his career, but the solid numbers he posted with the Hawks (17-1-0, .922 save percentage, 1.94 goals-against average) were enough to entice the Flyers to take a second chance on him. Smart, low-risk move by GM Paul Holmgren. –AP
I like Ray Emery in Philly. Underrated goalie and he's already played there, so he knows what the deal is.
— Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) July 5, 2013
PETER REGIN TO NEW YORK ISLANDERS: ONE YEAR, $750,000 CAP HIT
Analysis: The Islanders lost out in the Daniel Briere Sweepstakes, but picked up some decent bottom-six depth in signing Peter Regin to a one-year deal worth $750,000. Regin can play either center or on the wing and is a very good skater with real problems finishing. He’ll never put up big numbers, but he is a versatile player who won’t hurt you and comes in at reasonable money and term. – KC
EVGENI NABOKOV RETURNS TO NEW YORK ISLANDERS: ONE YEAR, $3.25 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: The Islanders kept an important veteran piece in re-signing Nabokov, who helped the squad to its first playoff berth since 2006-07. Was the New York brain trust looking elsewhere first? Based on the timing, it’s possible. But Ray Emery reportedly signed with Philadelphia and the Isles officially had no NHL goalies under contract heading into today, so retaining the well-liked Nabokov for a reasonable $3.25 million (the Isles have tons of cap space) is a win for the emerging team. -RK
ANDREW FERENCE TO THE EDMONTON OILERS: FOUR YEARS, $3.25 MILLION CAP HIT
Analysis: The Edmonton Oilers knew they had to improve their defense and experience – and in newly-signed blueliner Andrew Ference, they address both those issues. Ference never has scored more than six goals and 31 points in a single season, but he is a smart, edgy D-man who is only a couple years removed from a Stanley Cup championship and will help stabilize Edmonton’s still-young defense corps. A four-year deal is a lot of time to invest in someone who is 34 years old, but GM Craig MacTavish talked like a man of action when he took over for Steve Tambellini – and thus far, he’s walking the walk of one. – AP
Ference makes sense for Edmonton. Oil desperate for some defensive stability and veteran leadership.
— Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) July 5, 2013