A look at the biggest deals from Day 1 of NHL Free Agency

Nashville Predators Steven Stamkos
Photo credit:Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
17 days ago
It was a busy free-agent frenzy day on Monday.
Some star players moved teams, a Pacific Division got better, and a young star re-signed to a big contract.
Let’s take a look at the biggest moves from Day 1 of NHL Free Agency.

Nashville drastically improve their offence

Out of any team in the past few weeks, the Nashville Predators have been one of the busiest. For starters, they re-signed Juuse Saros to an eight-year extension, which had been reported a few days before Monday.
On top of that, they brought back right-shot defenceman Alexandre Carrier, who was coming off a career-high of four goals along with 44 points. He was a good fit for the Oilers, but alas, the Predators are looking great.
The team has always had good defencemen, but scoring has been an issue throughout their franchise’s history. Well, that may change for the 2024-25 season, as they signed long-time Tampa Bay Lightning centre Steven Stamkos to a four-year, $32 million deal with an annual average of $8 million.
Last season, Stamkos scored 40 goals and 81 points in 79 games as a 34-year-old. He’s getting up there in age, but he’s still among the game’s elite scorers. After that, it was also announced that the Predators were signing Jonathan Marchessault to a five-year, $27.5 million deal with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million.
Marchessault scored a career-high 42 goals, along with 69 points in 82 games for the Vegas Golden Knights in 2023-24. The right-winger also scored 13 goals and 25 points in 22 postseason games during the 2023 postseason, capturing the Stanley Cup as well as the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Although both players are in their mid-30s, the Predators added 82 goals without losing a player. That’s good business. But there’s more, the Predators signed left-shot defenceman Brady Skjei to a seven-year, $49 million deal with an annual cap hit of $7 million. 

Seattle added two key players

On Monday, the Seattle Kraken added a defenceman and a centre.
First off, they signed former Florida Panthers’ defenceman Brandon Montour to a seven-year, $50 million deal with a cap hit of $7.143 million. Last season, the right-shot defenceman scored eight goals and 33 points, down from 16 goals and 73 points (and 107 penalty minutes) he had in 2022-23. The past two postseasons, Montour scored 11 goals and 24 points in 43 games.
Sticking with signing former Stanley Cup champions, the Kraken signed left-shot forward Chandler Stephenson to a seven-year, $43.75 million deal with an annual cap hit of $6.25 million. Last season with the Vegas Golden Knights, he scored 16 goals and 51 points in 75 games. The season prior, he scored 16 goals and 65 points, along with 10 goals and 20 points in 22 games en route to his second Stanley Cup.
Seattle is looking to make their second postseason in four seasons in 2024-25, this is a good start.

Toronto adds to their defence

The Toronto Maple Leafs have always had a good offence core, but their defence was a big reason why they struggled to make an impact in the postseason during their window of contention.
Well, after trading a 2026 sixth-round pick for Chris Tanev’s rights, they signed the 34-year-old right-shot defenceman to a six-year, $27 million deal worth an annual cap hit of $4.5 million. Of course, this signing may bite the Leafs in the butt in the future, but for now Tanev is a perfect second pair defenceman. Last season, he scored twice with 19 points in 75 games.
Like the Kraken, the Maple Leafs signed a 2024 Stanley Cup champion, as they signed Oliver Ekman-Larrson to a four-year, $14 million deal worth $3.5 million a season. The 2023-24 season was his best in a long time, scoring nine goals and 32 points, along with two goals and six points in 22 postseason games.
The Leafs also re-signed Max Domi to a four-year, $15 million deal with an annual cap hit of $3.75 million. Last season, he scored nine goals an 47 points in 80 games, far worse than the 20 goals and 56 points in 80 games in 2022-23.

Juraj Slafkovský signed an eight-year extension with Montréal

Sticking with the Atlantic Division teams, the Montréal Canadiens signed 2022 first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovský to a eight-year, $60 million deal worth $7.6 million.
Slafkovský had a rough rookie season, scoring four goals and 10 points in 39 games and was labelled as a bust by some. He silenced the doubters in 2023-24, scoring 20 goals and 50 points in a full 82-game season, looking like one of the brightest stars in the league.
The Canadiens also may have had the steal of the draft, selecting Ivan Demidov with the fifth-overall pick. Demidov was considered by most to be the second-best player available in the 2024 draft.
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