NHL Free Agent Tracker: Shattenkirk lands with Rangers

Justin Cuthbert

We’ve reached the final checkpoint in this silly stretch of summer days in the NHL.

Free agents officially hit the open market at noon ET and despite the well-known cautions associated with investing on this day, the flurry of transactions was immediate.

Continue to check back here for the latest news, and our take on the moves made.

Lightning nab Kunitz

Contract: 1 year, $2 million
Previous Deal: 3 years, $11.55 million

PD Take: Chris Kunitz helps teams win Stanley Cups. We’re sure that’s the idea here.

Leafs pick up Moore

Contract: 1 year, $1 million
Previous Deal: 2 years, $3 million

PD Take: Dominic Moore isn’t the marquee fourth-line center Brian Boyle was, but is certainly an upgrade compared to the mix of veteran and prospect talent that filled the position before the Maple Leafs shored up the possession for the postseason drive. Good pick-up at $1 million.

Thornton reportedly re-ups with Sharks

Contract: 1 year, $6-6.5 million (TSN’s Bob McKenzie)
Previous Deal: 3 years, $20.25 million

PD Take: There may be no prying Joe Thornton from Northern California. He balked at interest from several fascinating destinations, but it’s not like he made significant concessions to stay put on a one-year deal.

Vrbata now with Panthers

Contract: 1 year, $2.5 million (with bonus potential)
Previous Deal: 1 year, $3.25 million

PD Take: It’s not Marchessault-thrifty, but the Panthers may have secured some inexpensive production with Vrbata – a 55-point scorer from last season – on a no-sweat agreement.

Rangers win Shattenkirk sweepstakes

Kevin Shattenkirk is indeed a New York Ranger. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Contract: 4 years, $26.6 million
Previous Deal: 4 years, $17 million

PD Take: Kevin Shattenkirk to the Rangers, indeed – but on a surprisingly reasonable deal. New York minimized the risk attached to signing the No. 1 free agent in his class, using its leverage (his hometown team) to limit Shattenkirk to four seasons in his prime earnings opportunity. It’s still a significant price for an offensive specialist who did not have a particularly strong postseason, but the term remains a massive win for New York. Shattenkirk has been one of the league’s premier volume scoring defensemen for a few seasons now, and will only enhance an offense that produced the fourth-most goals in the NHL last year.

Wyshynski: Kevin Shattenkirk gives New York discount, Rangers win free agency

Panthers bring back Dadonov

Contract: 3 years, $12 million
Previous Deal: KHL

PD Take: Another reunion, though this one carries a little more intrigue. Florida, which has cut ties with Jaromir Jagr, has lured Evgeny Dadonov back from SKA St. Petersburg with a three-year contract. Dadonov racked up 158 points in 161 games in the KHL over the last three seasons. He had 10 goals and 20 points in 55 games across three seasons with Florida beginning in 2009-10.

Hartnell comes full circle

Contract: 1 year, $1 million
Previous Deal: 6 years, $28.5 million

PD Take: Bought out by Columbus, Scott Hartnell has shifted to chasing a championship. It’s a nice find for the Predators, who will gladly stage the reunion while the Blue Jackets handle most of his annual earnings.

Miller to team up with Gibson

Ryan Miller could be a steal for the Anaheim Ducks. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Contract: 2 years, $4 million
Previous Deal: 3 years, $18 million

PD Take: Ryan Miller is in the declining stages of his career, but he should provide considerable value at $2 million playing behind one of the best defenses in the NHL. A quality option behind John Gibson, it’s hard to poke holes in this one.

Maple Leafs aim to bolster blue line with Hainsey

Contract: 2 years, $6 million
Previous Deal: 3 years, $8.5 million

PD Take: In what works out to essentially a swap of depth defenseman, the Leafs signed Hainsey to a two-year contract after Matt Hunwick slipped into his role with the Stanley Cup champion Penguins. Hainsey played a fairly significant role down the stretch for Pittsburgh, taking on major minutes as injuries took their toll elsewhere. Before that, he helped groom one of the better young defense units in the league with the Hurricanes. He should be an adequate fit at the margins as the Maple Leafs wait on their prospects to develop.

Cammalleri returns to Kings

Contract: 1 year, $1 million
Previous Deal: 5 years, $25 million

PD Take: The Los Angeles Kings will have worse contracts.

Wyshynski: Sharks sign Vlasic, Jones to blockbuster contracts

Lightning make Girardi splash official

Contract: 2 years, $6 million
Previous Deal: 6 years, $33 million

PD Take: The Lightning see something different than the Rangers evidently came to realize. Tampa may be talented enough on the back end to cover up Girardi’s deficiencies, and make use of what he can do well.

Hanzal heads to Dallas

Contract: 3 years, $14.25 million
Previous Deal: 5 years, $15.5 million

PD Take: Hanzal’s value didn’t take a significant hit despite a disappointing stint with the Minnesota Wild when he was dealt from Arizona at the deadline. With size down the middle and value on both sides of the special teams equation, Hanzal is more versatile and much more of an offensive threat than Cody Eakin, who Dallas shed in the expansion process.

Wyshynski: Martin Hanzal to Dallas, trying to do what he couldn’t with Wild

Williams returns to Raleigh

Justin Williams is headed back to the Carolina Hurricanes. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

Contract: 2 years, $9.5 million
Previous Deal: 2 years, $6.5 million

PD Take: If Justin Williams is chasing that fourth ring, he’s playing the long game with the Carolina Hurricanes. Still a nice raise and opportunity for a 36-year-old on an up-and-coming team.

Canucks invest in Gagner

Contract: 3 years, $9.45 million
Previous Deal: 1 year, $650,000

PD Take: Good for Gagner. After essentially settling for the league minimum in late summer with the Blue Jackets, he’s carved out at least another three seasons in the NHL at almost five times the salary from a season ago.

Bonino headed to Nashville

Nick Bonino liked what he saw in Nashville. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Contract: 4 years, $16.4 million
Previous Deal: 3 years, $5.7 million

PD Take: A few weeks after the fact, the Predators match a little better down the middle with the Penguins. After lifting the Stanley Cup in consecutive seasons last month in Nashville, Nick Bonino will stick around for a while on a four-year contract. With pace and middle-six skill, Bonino is an obvious fit in Peter Laviolette’s breakneck system.

Wyshysnki: Can Nick Bonino help push Predators to Stanley Cup?

Jets spend big on Kulikov

Contract: 3 years, $13 million
Previous Deal: 3 years, $13 million

PD Take: It was unmitigated disaster for Dmitry Kulikov in Buffalo last season. This deal might take the cake.

Devils bag Boyle

Contract: 2 years, $5.1 million
Previous Deal: 3 years, $6 million

PD Take: Forget whatever difference Brian Boyle could have made in depth capacity for a contender.

Mason signs in Winnipeg

Contract: 2 years, $8.2 million
Previous Deal: 3 years, $12.3 million

PD Take: Next looking to steady the goaltending position with Steve Mason, the Jets will maintain his $4.1-million salary on a two-year term despite his save percentage falling 20 points in the space of two seasons.

Alzner strikes deal with Canadiens

Karl Alzner is expected to sign a five-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Contract: 5 years, $23 million
Previous Deal: 4 years, $11.2 million

PD Take: Leave it to the Montreal Canadiens to appreciate Karl Alzner for Karl Alzner. Though he excels in a somewhat limited shutdown style and provides essentially no offense, Alzner has cashed in with Montreal, signing his most lucrative NHL contract after nine seasons in the league. The reported $4.6-million cap hit isn’t outlandish, but the risk certainly outweighs the reward.

Sharp reunited with Blackhawks

Contract: $800K base salary plus games played bonuses
Previous Deal: 5 years, $29.5 million

PD Take: Every summer Stan Bowman has to work up a new strategy to help alleviate the constant cap pressure applied to the Chicago Blackhawks. This year, ironically, it’s bringing back those he was previously forced to sell. Unlike Brandon Saad’s return, however, Patrick Sharp is reuniting with the championship core he won three Stanley Cups with at a discounted rate. Sharp was woefully ineffective in a injury-filled final season with the Dallas Stars, but it has to be considered a worthwhile bet that he will strike up some renewed chemistry and deliver value on a modest contract.

Wyshynski: Patrick Sharp rejoins Blackhawks on low-risk deal

McElhinney gets two years from Maple Leafs

Contract: Two years, $1.7 million
Previous Deal: Two years, $1.6 million

PD Take: Curtis McElhinney was perfectly adequate in a backup role after coming over for the Columbus, but the thought was that the Toronto Maple Leafs would try to upgrade this position. Apparently not. McElhinney has struck a two-year extension to serve as Frederik Andersen’s backup, which will surely keep this save in the in-arena staff’s nightly hype montage.

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