NHL Free Agency: Predators All-In, Hurricanes Miss

Vince Carbonneau
July 4, 2024  (12:17)

Arizona vs Predators
Photo credit: Arizona Sports

Port Town Tranquility and Free Agency Frenzy

Port Town Tranquility and Free Agency Frenzy
The serene port town may be calm when sailors are at sea, but it bursts with life and excitement upon their return, ready to sip and spend. Similarly, the NHL free agent market, once constrained by a stagnant salary cap, has reawakened. The pandemic forced general managers to exercise unprecedented restraint, leading even high-profile free agents to accept one-year deals in hopes of better offers in the future.
Now, with the cap rising, the market is lively again. Veteran players are securing long-term contracts, signaling a return to the free-spending days of old. Chris Tanev, at 34, signed a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs extending to age 40. Chandler Stephenson, 30, secured a seven-year deal with Seattle despite only having one 20-goal season. Sean Monahan, previously on a one-year deal due to injury history, signed a five-year contract with the Blue Jackets.
Every situation and team rationale varies, but the overall takeaway is that free agency is fun again as GMs open their wallets.
Winners and Losers of Free Agency
Nashville Predators
The Predators surprised many by signing veteran center Ryan O'Reilly, two-time goal-scoring champ Steven Stamkos, and 2023 post-season MVP Jonathan Marchessault. Additionally, they secured defenseman Brady Skjei and extended franchise goalie Juuse Saros' contract.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Despite losing Steven Stamkos and trading Mikhail Sergachev, the Lightning signed premier forward Jake Guentzel and extended Victor Hedman's contract. The additions of Ryan McDonagh, J.J. Moser, and Conor Geekie bolstered the team's roster.
Washington Capitals
The Capitals made bold moves by acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois and Jakob Chychrun, and signing Logan Thompson and Matt Roy. These moves reinvigorated a team previously focused on Alex Ovechkin's goal chase.
Boston Bruins
The Bruins signed center Elias Lindholm and defenseman Nikita Zadorov, addressing key needs. Extending Jeremy Swayman's contract also strengthened their lineup.
Edmonton Oilers
Jeff Skinner joined the Oilers, offering a promising fit for both player and team. Retaining Adam Henrique further solidified their roster.
Rebuilding Teams: Sharks and Blackhawks
San Jose and Chicago added veterans like Tyler Toffoli, Alexander Wennberg, Barclay Goodrow, Tyler Bertuzzi, Teuvo Teravainen, Alec Martinez, T.J. Brodie, and Laurent Brossoit, supporting their rebuilding efforts without jeopardizing long-term cap space.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils improved their lineup by trading for Jacob Markstrom and signing Brett Pesce and Brenden Dillion. Avoiding last season's injury woes could lead to a strong comeback.
Seattle Kraken
Seattle addressed key needs by signing Chandler Stephenson and Brandon Montour, enhancing their roster's depth and experience.
Winnipeg Jets
The Jets lost Sean Monahan and Laurent Brossoit, creating gaps in their lineup. Despite potential trade chips, the team is not as strong as before free agency.
Carolina Hurricanes
Losing Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei weakened their blue line, and missing out on top goalies and Jake Guentzel further set them back. They face a likely step backward this season.
Los Angeles Kings
Overpaying for Joel Edmundson and committing to injury-prone Darcy Kuemper raised concerns. While trading Pierre-Luc Dubois was a positive move, the Kings didn't make significant improvements and face tough competition for playoff spots.
NHL Free Agency: Predators All-In, Hurricanes Miss

Do you think the Nashville Predators made the best free agency moves this offseason?

Yes555.6 %
No444.4 %
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