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Reported contract round-up: What on Earth is happening in free agency?

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Things are getting wacky in the NHL

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Columbus Blue Jackets at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

July 1st sprung a little early this year as many contracts have been reported on and announced by insiders on Twitter. We know where a lot of the players are going, we’re just waiting on official numbers as soon as these UFAs become untethered from their old team.

Who They Missed On

The Colorado struck out on pretty much every big fish they could get their hands on. Despite the initial embarrassment, Joe Sakic should be given some credit for sticking to his guns and refusing to pay too much money or term to players who would’ve become major headaches in the future when this team wants to be a true contender.

Joe Pavelski is taking a three-year contract worth $7 million per season to play with the Dallas Stars (a team in the Central Division). The money would’ve been okay here, but having a 38-year-old Pavelski on the roster when Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar need contracts might not have been something the Avalanche could stomach.

Next up, Mats Zuccarello. The Minnesota Wild (a Central Division team) took him for five years and $6 million per season. For one, the Wild are in steep decline and will be awful. Second, paying Zuccarello for his age-32 to age-37 declining years is scary to just think about, let alone what it would look like when the player inevitably drops off.

Third on the list, Public Enemy #1 Matt Duchene. He’s going to the Nashville Predators on a seven-year, $8 million AAV contract. Sadly, that looks like a good deal for the Preds.

And finally, Artemi Panarin. The Avalanche were serious contenders here until the very end, offering the Russian winger an extraordinary AAV in exchange for a shorter term. Instead, Panarin appears to be heading somewhere East on a max-term deal at a lower AAV. The Columbus apparently offered Panarin $100 million dollars to re-sign, but he turned them down. Harsh. The insiders are still not sure, but the Islanders appear to be the front-runner here.

Panarin didn’t take the offer from Columbus before the end of June so that means the 8th year is now off the table.

Who They Got

Joonas Donskoi is not a flashy name by any means, but he’s a fast, skilled winger on the younger side of the UFA class and is coming to the Avalanche on a very reasonable term and cap hit. We’ll have lots more on Donskoi when the signing becomes official and we get the numbers exactly, but he played well on the San Jose Sharks for several years and is going to be a very good second liner for the team. Offensive depth! Awesome.

The Avalanche are betting on their analytics department finding players who can grow into something more than what their boxcars say, and it’s a very smart tactic to choose following the massive inflation to the free agent market. Go cheap, watch them grow, build something sustainable.

There are also reports that they are in on Ryan Dzingel but that a bidding war is going on. This contract could be really bad so maybe it’s a good thing if they miss out on him.

The Other Teams Signings

Below is a list with all the reported signings that we know of and where they’re going. I’ll loosely sort by division.

Dallas Stars

Joe Pavelski - 3 x $7 million

Corey Perry - 1 x $1.5 million

Minnesota Wild

Mats Zuccarello - 5 x $6 million

Ryan Hartman - 2 x $1.9 million

Nashville Predators

Matt Duchene - 7 x $8 million

Edmonton Oilers

Mike Smith - 1 x $2 million plus $2 million performance bonuses

Calgary Flames

Cam Talbot - 1 x $2.5 million

Vancouver Canucks

Tyler Myers - 5 x $6 million

Florida Panthers

Sergei Bobrovsky - 7 $9.5 million

Brett Connolly - 4 x $3.5 million

Detroit Red Wings

Calvin Pickard - 2 x something

Toronto Maple Leafs

Kenny Agostino - 2 x $700,000

Nick Shore - 1 x $700,000

Tampa Bay Lightning

Luke Schenn - 1 x $700,000

Buffalo Sabres

Curtis Lazar - 1 x something

New York Islanders

Semyon Varlamov - unknown

Washington Capitals

Richard Panik - 4 x $2.5 million

Toronto Maple Leafs:

Jason Spezza - 1 year

And then there’s this:

This would take away any interest the Canucks had in a Tyson Barrie trade.

There are a few trades too

Very early this morning the tow Ontario based teams came together for a pretty big trade:

The picks will be a 2020 3rd originally owned by Columbus.

The two teams are swapping bad right-handed defenders while the Maple Leafs got out from a really bad contract in. Ceci has received a $4.3m qualifying offer and is eligible for arbitration later this summer. It is believed that if he chooses to go this route, Toronto will walk away from any ruling and the trade will be viewed as a straight dump of Zaitsev’s contract. This deal clears about $6.6m off of Toronto’s cap if they choose not to sign Ceci.

In other trade news, the Montreal Canadiens have cleared a bunch of cap space by moving Nicolas Deslauriers to Anaheim and Andrew Shaw to Chicago in exchange for draft picks.

Montreal went hard at Matt Duchene but have now reportedly shifted their sights to Anders Lee who is rumored to be looking for a contract in the $7m range. There has also been a lot of talk that if anyone is seriously considering an offer sheet it would be the Habs. Sebastian Aho and Kyle Connor sound like the most likely targets.