All eyes on Tavares as NHL free agency arrives
The Latest from NHL free agency (all times Eastern):
A person with direct knowledge of the trade tells The Associated Press the Buffalo Sabres acquired two draft picks, including a 2019 first-rounder, and three players in dealing center Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues.
Buffalo also acquired a second-round selection in 2021.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the trade had not been announced.
– AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow
A person with direct knowledge has told The Associated Press that the Buffalo Sabres have traded center Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues.
The person spoke to the AP on Sunday on the condition of anonymity because the trade has not been announced. It was not immediately clear what other players were involved in the trade.
TSN.com first reported O’Reilly had been traded.
The move was completed before the Sabres were due to pay O’Reilly a $7.5 million contract bonus by the end of the day.
O’Reilly completed his third season in Buffalo since being acquired in a trade with Colorado, after which the Sabres signed him to a seven-year, $52.5 million contract. He’s a dependable, two-way forward, who set the NHL record by winning 1,273 faceoffs last year.
– AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow
Moore is a 10-year veteran who spent the last three seasons with the New Jersey Devils. He got a five-year deal with an annual cap hit of $2.75 million.
General manager Don Sweeney also added goaltender Jaroslav Halak to back up Tuukka Rask. Forwards Joakim Nordstrom and Chris Wagner each got two-year deals. Defenseman Cody Goloubef and forward Mark McNeill got one-year, two-way contracts, and defenseman Axel Andersson was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract.
The Bruins were in the running for forward John Tavares, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sweeney says he was pleased to have been considered by the former New York Islanders captain, but wishes he had left the division.
After losing John Tavares to Toronto, the New York Islanders have agreed to a four-year, $12 million deal with former Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov.
The 31-year-old Komarov had seven goals and 12 assists in 74 games last season. For his career, he has 52 goals and 70 assists in 327 games over five seasons, all with Toronto.
Komarov will fill the agitator/penalty-killing role for the Islanders previously held by free-agent Nikolay Kulemin.
New York also re-signed defenseman Thomas Hickey to a four-year, $10 million deal.
Hickey is coming off a season in which he had a career-high 25 points in 69 games, finishing with five goals -one shy of his career high- and matching his best with 20 assists. He has 22 goals and 89 assists in 409 regular-season games, all with the Islanders.
The 32-year-old Stastny had 53 points last season plus 15 more in 19 playoff games with the Winnipeg Jets, who lost to Vegas in the Western Conference final.
The 29-year-old Nash had a career-high 41 points last season with Boston. He’ll count $2.75 million against the salary cap in Columbus.
The 30-year-old Grabner had 27 goals and nine assists in 80 games with the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils last season. The Austrian forward has scored 20 or more goals four times in nine seasons, including 27 each of the past two.
Grabner has 158 goals and 91 assists with five teams since being selected with the 14th overall pick of the 2006 draft by Vancouver.
Cole gets $12.75 million and Calvert gets $8.4 million. The moves are general manager Joe Sakic’s latest attempts to try to improve on last year’s playoff appearance. The Avs traded for goaltender Philipp Grubauer at the NHL draft.
The 28-year-old Calvert had nine goals and 15 assists for the Blue Jackets in the regular season. The 29-year-old Cole had 20 points for Columbus and Pittsburgh, and he won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins.
The New York Rangers have agreed to terms on an $8 million, two-year deal with restricted free agent forward Vladislav Namestnikov. The team announced the contract a few hours into the start of unrestricted free agency.
New York acquired Namestnikov from the Lightning at the trade deadline when it sent J.T. Miller and Ryan McDonagh to Tampa Bay. The 25-year-old forward had 44 points in 81 games with the Lightning and Rangers last season.
Namestnikov will count $4 million against the salary cap each of the next two seasons. Agent Dan Milstein on Twitter earlier in the day refuted rumors about Namestiknov being interesting in playing in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, saying they’re not true.
Comeau is a 12-year NHL player who spent the past three seasons with Colorado. The 32-year-old forward had 13 goals and 21 assists last season, including three short-handed goals.
Since making his NHL debut with the New York Islanders in 2006-07, he has also played with Calgary, Columbus and Pittsburgh. He was the Islanders’ second-round draft pick in 2004.
The Stars have also signed free agent goaltender Anton Khudobin to a two-year, $5 million contract as the likely backup to Ben Bishop. And they are bringing back winger Valeri Nichushkin on a two-year, $5.9 million contract after their 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft spent the past two seasons playing in his native Russia.
The deal signed Sunday begins in the 2019-20 season and keeps the 29-year-old Couture under contract in San Jose through the 2026-27 season. The sides agreed to the deal Saturday but couldn’t sign it until Couture entered the final year of his $30 million, five-year contract on Sunday.
Couture was a first-round pick by San Jose in 2007 and has said he never wants to leave the franchise. He has developed into one of the Sharks’ top forwards since making his debut in 2009 and is coming off a career-high 34-goal season.
The 29-year-old has 213 goals and 224 assists in 582 career games. He also has been a postseason standout, leading the NHL with 30 points in 2016 when he helped San Jose reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history before losing to Pittsburgh in six games.
– Josh Dubow in San Jose
The Dallas Stars have signed free agent goaltender Anton Khudobin to a two-year, $5 million contract as the likely backup to Ben Bishop.
The 32-year-old Khudobin had the backup role Tuukka Rask in Boston last season. He made his NHL postseason debut in relief of Rask in Game 5 of a first-round series against Toronto, playing 27 scoreless minutes in a 4-3 loss.
The addition of Khudobin should mean the end of Kari Lehtonen’s nine-year run in Dallas. Lehtonen was the starter his first six years with the Stars, shared No. 1 duties for two seasons with Antti Niemi and played behind Bishop.
Khudobin has played in 147 games with 135 starts over nine seasons. Dallas will be his fifth team, and he had two stints with the Bruins.
The native of Kazakhstan was 16-6-7 last season and has a career record of 67-51-16 with a 2.47 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.
The 32-year-old Beagle won 60 percent of his faceoffs in helping the Capitals win their first title in franchise history. He will count $3 million against Vancouver’s salary cap each season.
A year after letting several players go in free agency, the Pittsburgh Penguins are loading up. The Penguins brought back veteran center Matt Cullen on a $650,000, one-year deal and signed defenseman Jack Johnson to a $16.25 million, five-year deal.
Cullen won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017 before going home to play for the Minnesota Wild. The 41-year-old Cullen had 22 points last season with Minnesota.
Johnson, who will count $3.25 million against the salary cap through the 2022-23 season, leaves Columbus after seven-plus seasons.
Superstar center John Tavares is going home, agreeing to terms on a $77 million, seven-year contract with his childhood team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tavares announced his intentions on Twitter on Sunday, posting a picture of himself as a child in Maple Leafs bedding. The team says the deal is worth $11 million a season for seven years.
The 27-year-old point-a-game playmaker met with the Leafs, New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars over the past several days in Los Angeles to hear their pitches for his services.
A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Tavares had 37 goals and 47 assists for 84 points in 82 games for the Islanders last season. He has 621 points in 669 career regular-season games.
Losing Tavares is a crushing blow to the Islanders, who have undergone an organizational makeover in recent months under still relatively new owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky. They hired Lou Lamoriello as president of hockey operations and fresh Stanley Cup winner Barry Trotz as coach.
Goalie Michael Hutchinson has signed a one-year contract with Florida.
Hutchinson will be asked to provide depth behind Roberto Luongo and James Reimer, and it was well-known that Florida would be looking to add another goalie in free agency. He’s gone 43-39-11 in 104 NHL appearances over five seasons with the Winnipeg Jets.
Hutchinson spent most of last season with Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba, going 17-5-4 with a 2.08 GAA.
The Stanley Cup champions are making some moves with long-time fourth-line center Jay Beagle expected to leave for a lucrative, long-term contract elsewhere.
The Arizona Coyotes have signed All-Star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year contract extension that averages $8.25 million per year.
The contract, announced on Sunday, comes on the heels of a six-year, $33 million contract Ekman-Larsson signed in 2013.
The 26-year-old Swede was an All-Star for the second time in his career last season, finishing with 14 goals and 28 assists. Ekman-Larsson is second among Arizona defensemen with 102 career goals and 290 points since being selected with the sixth overall pick of the 2009 NHL draft.
Arizona also has agreed to a two-year contract with Niklas Hjalmarsson, locking up its top two defensemen.
The contract includes an additional bonus clause valued at up to $1.25 million, the team announced shortly after the NHL’s free-agency signing period opened.
Selected in the third-round of the 2001 draft by Montreal, Plekanec spent his first 13-plus seasons with the Canadiens before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in February. He struggled in Toronto, where he managed just two assists in 17 regular-season games, before adding two goals and four points in seven playoff games against Boston.
Overall, he has scored 232 goals and 607 points in 998 career NHL games. His 605 career points with Montreal rank 13th on the team list.
Perron signed a $16 million, four-year deal. Bozak got $15 million over three years. Johnson signed for $1.75 million on a one-year deal.
Perron returns to St. Louis after setting career highs with 50 assists and 66 points last season with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
General manager Don Waddell says he expects ”healthy competition” for the starting position, and the Hurricanes were looking for help this offseason.
Scott Darling opened last season as the starter but lost the job to Ward, and his save percentage of .888 was the NHL’s worst. Darling enters the second year of a four-year, $16.6 million contract.
Mrazek started in Detroit but was traded to Philadelphia in February for two draft picks. He has a career record of 78-64-23 with a goals-against average of 2.66 and a .911 save percentage.
Jared McCann is staying with Florida.
The Panthers signed the restricted free agent center to a $2.5 million, two-year deal on Sunday. McCann had nine goals and 19 assists last season for Florida, which fell short of making the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon says McCann’s versatility and improvement over his two years with Florida were part of the impetus for keeping him for another two seasons.
McCann came to the Panthers in the deal that sent Erik Gudbranson to Vancouver.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a $47.25 million, seven-year contract extension. The deal begins with the 2019-20 season.
General manager Steve Yzerman announced the contract Sunday, minutes after the Lightning and McDonagh were eligible to ink the extension. Tampa Bay acquired McDonagh from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. He’ll count $6.75 million against the salary cap.
The Dallas Stars are bringing back winger Valeri Nichushkin on a two-year, $5.9 million contract after their 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft spent the past two seasons playing in his native Russia.
The 23-year-old Nichushkin made his NHL debut as a teenager in 2013 and spent three years in Dallas. His two years in Russia were with CKSA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League, where he had 51 points (27 goals, 24 assists) over 86 games.
This past season, Nichushkin helped the club reach the KHL championship series with nine points (three goals, six assists) in 19 playoff games.
Nichushkin has appeared in 166 NHL games, registering 64 points (23 goals, 41 assists). He was on the only two playoff teams Dallas has produced in the past 10 years in 2014 and 2016.
Ward and Kunitz each signed one-year deals. Ward’s agreement is worth $3 million. Manning got a two-year deal.
In signing Ward, Chicago grabbed a veteran goalie on the first day of free agency after Corey Crawford missed most of last season with an upper-body injury.
The Blackhawks think Crawford will be ready for training camp, but upgrading their situation in net was one of their top priorities after missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
A person with direct knowledge of the move says the Philadelphia Flyers have signed left winger James van Riemsdyk to a $35 million, five-year deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
Van Riemsdyk is back with the team that picked him second overall behind Patrick Kane in the 2007 draft. Now 29, he scored a career-best 36 goals last season and had a career-best 62 points two years ago. He will count $7 million against the salary cap through 2022-23.
This is by far general manager Ron Hextall’s biggest free agent signing and Philadelphia’s richest since giving goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov $41.9 million on a nine-year deal in 2011. The 6-foot-3, 217-pound forward provides the Flyers with scoring punch on the power play and could be a long-term replacement for Wayne Simmonds, who has one year left on his contract.
– AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno
Veteran free-agent defenseman Jack Johnson has agreed to sign a five-year, $16.25 million deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
A person with direct knowledge of negotiations confirmed the agreement and terms of the contract to The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be announced until after the free-agency signing period opens at noon Sunday.
The 31-year-old Johnson spent the past six-plus seasons playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he had 36 goals and 118 assists for 154 points in 445 games. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience after being selected by Carolina with the No. 3 pick in the 2005 draft. The Hurricanes then traded Johnson to Los Angeles the following year.
– AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow
A person with direct knowledge of discussions tells The Associated Press the Wild agreed to a $700,000 contract with the 37-year-old Hendricks. A second person with direct knowledge of talks says the Wild have also agreed to a deal with Fehr.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the contracts cannot be signed until the free agent signing period opens later Sunday.
Hendricks gets a raise from the $650,000 he was making with the Winnipeg Jets. He had 13 points in 60 games last season in largely a fourth-line role. The 32-year-old Fehr finished last season with San Jose and had four points in 14 regular-season games.
– AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno
The Buffalo Sabres have reached an agreement to sign free-agent goalie Carter Hutton to a three-year, $8.25 million contract.
A person with direct knowledge with negotiations confirmed the deal to The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because contracts cannot be announced until the NHL’s signing period opens later Sunday. FoxSportsMidwest.com first reported the deal.
The 32-year-old Hutton has six seasons of NHL experience, including the past two with the Blues, where he split starting duties with Jake Allen. He finished with a 17-7-3 record and a 2.09 goals-against average in 32 games last year.
The Sabres have needs at goalie after electing not to re-sign third-year starter Robin Lehner and veteran backup Chad Johnson.
Hutton would form a tandem with Linus Ullmark, who is pegged to make the jump to the NHL level on a full-time basis after spending the past three years developing in the minors.
– AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow
Star center John Tavares did not sign with the New York Islanders before midnight, taking an eight-year deal out of the equation and eliminating his old team’s biggest advantage.
As of Sunday morning, Tavares had still not announced a decision on where he will sign on what could be a seven-year deal worth upward of $70 million. The 27-year-old playmaker and his representatives met with the Islanders, his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, the San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning last week.
Paul Stastny, who was traded from St. Louis to Winnipeg and produced 15 points in 17 playoff games, and Toronto’s Tyler Bozak are the next-best centers available.
The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity Sunday because talks are still ongoing, and teams are not allowed to announce deals until the signing period opens at noon Eastern.
Vanek is a 13-year NHL veteran and will return to Detroit, where he spent a portion of the 2016-17 season. He’s an 11-time 20-goal-scorer, and opened last year playing in Vancouver before closing the season with Columbus.
Vanek became the highest drafted Austrian-born player when the Buffalo Sabres selected him with the No. 5 pick in 2003.
Overall, he has 357 goals and 396 assists for 753 points in 965 career NHL games.
The top draw of free agency is forward John Tavares of the New York Islanders.
– AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow
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