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Free agency can bring new hope to a struggling team or put a contending team over the hump of the rest of the pack. It’s a hit or miss time and most of the time, it’s worth it to go all in for that special talent. Hopefully you get the guy you want at a decent price, but usually the general managers will have to comprise and be ready for plan B. Whatever the case may be, lets take a look at how the first month of NHL free agency has gone down and where some of the top players have signed.

John Tavares:

Tavares decided to leave the New York Islanders and sign a seven-year, $77-million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs were his favorite team growing up and now he gets to join the young talent of Auston Matthews. Toronto is probably a cup contender with this move and the only other team to have two centers ranked top-10 in the NHL are the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s great to share a statistic like that with a team that is in Stanley Cup chats every year.

John Carlson:

Carlson resigned with the Capitals for eight years and 64 million dollars. You had a feeling Washington would get Carlson back, who has put together steady points every season. He was clutch for the Capitals during their Stanley Cup run, as Carlson scored 5 goals, had 15 assists, and a plus 11, during the playoffs. The Capitals have always had a solid core built around Alexander Ovechkin, but were always a tease in the playoffs. Now that they finally won, they might as well give back to their key playoff pieces with some great paychecks.

James van Riemsdyk:

Van Riemsdyk signed with his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers, for five years and 35 million dollars. He is returning to the team that drafted him second overall in the 2007 NHL draft. He averaged 25 goals and 49 points in his six seasons with the Maple Leafs. Van Riemsdyk just came off an impressive 36 goal season and this move should help the flyers keep pace with the Capitals and Penguins, in the Metropolitan division.

James Neal:

Neal signed with the Calgary Flames for five years and 28.75 million dollars. Neal played a solid veteran role with the Vegas Golden Knights, as they almost ended up with Lord Stanley last season. He consistently gets 25 goals or so a season and will get the big goal from time to time. The Calgary Flames went cold as ice in the last month of the regular season and dropped out of the tight Pacific division race. With this move, Neal can help keep the Flames scoring consistent throughout the season, and hopefully get them back to the postseason.

Paul Stastny:

Stastny signed with the Vegas Golden Knights for three years and 19.5 million dollars. Stastny made his value go up because of his contribution in the playoffs. The 32 year old had 15 points in 17 games for the Winnipeg Jets playoff run, before the team was eliminated by Vegas in the Western Conference Finals. Stastny can replace James Neals production to an already talented Vegas team.

Mike Green:

Green resigned with the Detroit Red Wings for two years and five million dollars. The Red Wings are actually going though some dark ages for once and if they want to rebuild, you might as well keep your best defenseman. He led all Wings defenseman with 33 points. Also, a good player like this can be used in a trade that fills some holes in the lines and can make the rebuilding process a little quicker.

Ilya Kovalchuk:

Kovalchuk signed with the Los Angeles Kings for three years and 18.75 million dollars. Now the 35 year old hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2012-2013 season. At one point, he was one of the best scorers in the NHL and had six consecutive 40 goal seasons. We shall see if he can bring a little extra boost to a Kings team that has most of its best players in the 30 year old plus range.

Michael Garaventa
Michael Garaventa
Michael is a diehard Bay Area Sports Fan. He loves the San Francisco Giants, San Jose Sharks, Golden State Warriors, and San Francisco 49ers. He has expert knowledge of the MLB, NHL, and NBA. He attended San Francisco State University and graduated in 2015 with a degree in broadcasting. At SFSU, he had a sports radio show, wrote for the KSFS sports page, and also ran Cross Country for the Gators.