NHL teams doled out a half a billion dollars on the first day of free agency. Here’s a look at the best and worst contracts (all dollar figures U.S.):
Minnesota Wild sign Thomas Vanek for $19.5 million over three years
Call it a going-home discount, as Vanek took less money and a shorter term to play where he lives and where his wife is from in Minnesota. Vanek, a consistent 20-goal scorer, is considered a bargain at a cap hit of $6.5 million and fits in with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter on the Wild.
Pittsburgh Penguins sign Christian Ehrhoff for $4 million over one year
Bought out of the final seven years of his previous contract by the Buffalo Sabres, the 31-year-old defenceman didn’t need term or even a raise in free agency. Ehrhoff provides a veteran replacement for Brooks Orpik, who left for big money in Washington.
Vancouver Canucks sign Ryan Miller for $18 million over three years
Miller didn’t have a strong market for his services, even as the best goaltender available. That allowed the Canucks to bring the 33-year-old in at a reasonable price without giving him too many years like the previous regime did with Roberto Luongo.
Pittsburgh Penguins sign Thomas Greiss for $1 million over one year
Greiss left the Arizona Coyotes for an opportunity to compete for a No. 1 job, general manager Don Maloney said, and if he manages to do that with Marc-Andre Fleury he’ll be a steal for Pittsburgh. Greiss was arguably better than Mike Smith last season.
Chicago Blackhawks sign Brad Richards for $2 million over one year
Richards took a major pay cut from what he was making before being bought out by the New York Rangers and gives the Blackhawks a centre they needed. The 34-year-old joins a top Stanley Cup contender and is a nice place-holder for stud prospect Teuvo Teravainen.
Calgary Flames sign Deryk Engelland for $8.7 million over three years
When word of Engelland signing for three years at $2.9 million came out, many thought that was the total price. No, it was the average value of the deal for a bruising, 32-year-old defenceman who previously made less than $600,000 with the Penguins.
Washington Capitals sign Brooks Orpik for $27.5 million over five years
At age 33, Oprik got a raise to $5.5 million a year from the Capitals, who were desperate to bone up on defence. The term is more scary than the price, but it doesn’t look so bad if it was a table-setter for ex-Penguins teammate Matt Niskanen’s $40.25-million, seven-year deal.
Florida Panthers sign Dave Bolland for $27.5 million over five years
The Toronto Maple Leafs would’ve liked to keep Bolland, but not at the price the Panthers were willing to pay. Bolland is an excellent No. 3 centre if he manages to bounce back from a severed tendon in his ankle that disrupted his 2013-14 season.
Colorado Avalanche sign Jarome Iginla for $16 million over three years
Iginla showed in his one season with the Boston Bruins that he could still play a prominent role on a winning team and produce. But the Avalanche took a bit of a risk by giving the power winger a three-year deal on his 37th birthday.
Edmonton Oilers sign Benoit Pouliot for $20 million over five years
Pouliot earned some more money by playing well during the Rangers’ run to the Stanley Cup final, and he got even more by bringing the kind of size the Oilers need. Edmonton has to overpay in free agency, but that doesn’t make this deal a good value.
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