The Islanders announced they had agreed to terms with Varlamov on a four-year contract. He spent the past eight seasons with the Colorado Avalanche.
Varlamov becomes part of a tandem with Thomas Greiss for the Islanders, who let Lehner depart after a stirring run to the playoffs.
The 27-year-old Lehner agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract with Chicago, giving the Blackhawks one of the best goaltender tandems in the league. He posted a career-high 25 wins last season with the Islanders. He also had a 2.13 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and six shutouts.
Lehner also won the Masterton Trophy this year as the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. He became a Vezina finalist after revealing during training camp that he has struggled with addiction and bipolar disorder.
The Blackhawks also have Corey Crawford, who was in goal for Stanley Cup titles in 2013 and 2015 but has struggled with injuries in recent years.
In North Carolina, the Hurricanes re-signed goalie Petr Mrazek to a $6.25 million, two-year deal.
After losing two of their top forwards to free agency, the Columbus Blue Jackets have added one in free agent in Gustav Nyquist.
The 29-year-old Nyquist, who has posted 40 or more points in all six of his full NHL seasons and scored 20 or more goals four times, was signed to a four-year contract by the Blue Jackets.
Nyquist was selected by Detroit in the fourth round, 121st overall, at the 2008 draft. The Red Wings dealt him to San Jose on Feb. 25.
Anders Lee isn’t going anywhere.
A year after the New York Islanders lost captain John Tavares to Toronto in free agency, his successor chose to stay.
A person with knowledge of the move says the team agreed to terms with Lee on a $49 million, seven-year deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the contract.
Lee joins fellow forwards Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle in re-signing with the Islanders this offseason.
Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell says team officials will discuss whether to match the offer sheet the Montreal Canadiens tendered to restricted free agent forward Sebastian Aho.
Waddell says Carolina has seven days to match the offer sheet worth $42.3 million over five years. He joked he was ”surprised it wasn’t more.”
Waddell said last week that the Hurricanes would match any offer that was made to them.
If the Hurricanes don’t match it, the Canadiens must send Carolina a first-, second- and third-round pick.
It’s the first offer sheet in the NHL since 2013, when the Calgary Flames tried to acquire then-Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly only to have Colorado match the contract. The last offer sheet not matched in the NHL was in 2007.
The 32-year-old Stralman had two goals and 15 assists in 47 games for Tampa Bay last season. He has also played for Columbus, Toronto and the New York Rangers over a 10-year NHL career.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon says Stralman ”brings a wealth of experience and leadership to our lineup.”
– In Detroit, the Red Wings added depth they desperately need on defense by signing Patrik Nemeth to a two-year contract.
Nemeth had one goal and 10 assists last year in Dallas. The 27-year-old Swede has four goals and 35 assists over six seasons with the Stars and Colorado Avalanche. Detroit may have to replace Niklas Kronwall, a key player on the blue line. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has said 38-year-old defenseman can take his time this summer to decide whether he wants to return to play for the Red Wings or retire.
Detroit also signed goaltender Calvin Pickard to compete with Jonathan Bernier to be Jimmy Howard’s backup. Pickard is 32-50-9 with a 2.93 goals-against average during his five-season career with Colorado, Toronto, Philadelphia and Arizona. The 27-year-old Canadian was winless in four starts last season with the Coyotes.
– In Nashville, forward Daniel Carr has signed a one-year contract with the Predators after a season in which he was named the American Hockey League’s most valuable player. Carr’s deal is worth $700,000.
The 27-year-old Carr collected 30 goals and 41 assists for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves this season. His 71 points tied him for third in the AHL.
Carr has appeared in 100 career NHL games with the Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens. He has 15 career goals and 20 assists in the NHL.
San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson says Joe Pavelski‘s impact on the franchise will be felt for years to come after he left in free agency for Dallas.
Wilson called the decision to let Pavelski leave to sign a three-year, $21 million deal with the Stars was a difficult one. Wilson says the two sides couldn’t find common ground on both the length of a contract and the dollar amount.
Pavelski developed from an unheralded seventh-round pick in 2003 to one of the greatest players in Sharks history, ranking second in team history in goals (355), third in points (761) and fourth in games played (963).
He has been captain the past four years when the Sharks won six playoff series for their most successful four-year run in franchise history.
A person with knowledge of the move says the Colorado Avalanche have agreed to sign winger Joonas Donskoi to a $15.6 million, four-year deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $3.9 million.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
Donskoi set a career high last year with 37 points, his fourth NHL season, all with the San Jose Sharks. San Jose is up against the cap after re-signing defenseman Erik Karlsson to a long-term contract and have also lost captain Joe Pavelski to Dallas.
The Stars signed Pavelski to a $21 million, three-year contract, adding another scoring threat to their leading duo of Tyler Seguin and captain Jamie Benn.
Pavelski led Western Conference finals qualifier San Jose with 38 goals in 75 regular-season games while adding 26 assists for 64 points. The 34-year-old also led the Sharks with 12 power play goals.
The addition of Pavelski comes after the Stars lost Mats Zuccarello to Central Division rival Minnesota in free agency. Dallas traded for Zuccarello before the deadline last season. The Stars lost to the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in Game 7 in the second round of the playoffs.
Pavelski is second in San Jose franchise history with 355 goals while ranking third in points (761) and assists (406). He played his first 13 NHL seasons with the Sharks.
– In Minnesota, the Wild have agreed to terms with free agent right wing Ryan Hartman on a two-year, $3.8 million contract.
Hartman had a combined 12 goals and 24 assists last season for the Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers, setting a career high with 39 blocked shots. The Wild will be his fourth NHL team, since he debuted in 2015. He was a first-round draft pick in 2013 by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Hartman will likely help shore up the fourth line for the Wild, who also agreed to terms with right wing Mats Zuccarello on a five-year, $30 million contract to bolster their top-six forward group.
– In Detroit, the Red Wings have signed center Valtteri Filppula to a two-year contract, reuniting him for a third time with Steve Yzerman.
The 35-year-old Finn played with Yzerman in Detroit and was signed by him in Tampa Bay.
Yzerman is in his first year as the Red Wings’ general manager and he didn’t waste any time adding a familiar player to his roster, making the move in the opening hours of free agency.
Filppula had 17 goals and 31 points last season with the New York Islanders. He has scored 185 times and has 494 points over 14 seasons with Detroit, Philadelphia the Lightning and the Islanders.
– AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed.
The New York Rangers have landed the biggest fish in free agency by agreeing to terms with winger Artemi Panarin.
The team announced the contract with Panarin on Monday, about an hour after the market opened. The New York Islanders and Florida Panthers were among the other teams bidding for Panarin’s services.
Panarin has 116 goals and 204 assists for 302 points in 322 regular-season games with the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets. Panarin recorded a career-best 87 points last season with Columbus.
The Florida Panthers have signed goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year contract.
A person with knowledge of the signing says Bobrovsky’s deal is worth $70 million for a salary-cap hit of $10 million per season. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the team did not announce the terms of the contract.
Bobrovsky was Florida’s top free-agent target this summer, especially after last week’s retirement of longtime goalie Roberto Luongo. Bobrovsky has a 2.46 goals-against average over nine NHL seasons, the last seven of those with Columbus.
The two-time Vezina Trophy winner was second in the NHL with 37 victories last season and led the league with nine shutouts.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon says Bobrovsky ”is an elite starting goaltender who has consistently proven to be one of the best in the NHL.”
– AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed
A person with direct knowledge of the agreement says the Nashville Predators have added free agent forward Matt Duchene after agreeing to terms on a seven-year contract worth $56 million.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been officially announced.
Nashville is investing heavily to improve its scoring attack after posting the NHL’s worst power play and making a first-round playoff exit this past season.
In Chicago, the Blackhawks have agreed to a three-year contract with free-agent forward Ryan Carpenter.
The 28-year-old Carpenter spent the previous two seasons with Vegas. The deal with Chicago has an average annual value of $1 million. Carpenter had five goals and 13 assists in a career-high 68 games last season. He also won a career-best 52.6 percent of his face-offs, an area of concern for the Blackhawks.
Chicago has been active since missing the playoffs for the second straight year. It traded for defensemen Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan, and brought back pesky forward Andrew Shaw in another deal with Montreal.
The Blackhawks also agreed to a two-year contract extension with forward David Kampf. The deal has an average annual value of $1 million.
– AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow contributed
The Minnesota Wild have signed free agent right wing Mats Zuccarello to a five-year, $30 million contract, seeking more consistent production from their top two lines after their streak of six straight trips to the playoffs was snapped this spring.
Zuccarello has 355 points in 511 NHL regular season games, including a combined 12 goals and 28 assists in 48 games for the New York Rangers and the Dallas Stars while averaging a career-high 19:51 of ice time per game in 2018-19. The 31-year-old also has 42 points in 73 career playoff games.
Zuccarello, a 5-foot-8, 184-pound Finn, played the first eight-plus seasons of his career with the Rangers. He signed with them as a 23-year-old free agent in 2010 and tallied 113 goals and 239 assists in 509 games, until he was traded in February two days before the deadline as the Stars stocked up for the postseason.
The Wild scored just 210 goals in 2018-19, the fifth-fewest in the league.
– In Columbus, the Blue Jackets have re-signed defenseman Ryan Murray to a two-year contract. The 25-year-old Murray, a restricted free agent, was a key blue-liner last year for Columbus despite missing the last 24 games with an injury. He set career highs for in assists (28), points (29) and plus-minus rating.
Murray has registered 13 goals and 88 assists in 320 career games since making his NHL debut in 2013-14.
– In Pittsburgh, the Penguins used some of their wiggle room under the salary cap created by trading Phil Kessel to Arizona to land Winnipeg forward Brandon Tanev during the opening day of NHL free agency.
Tanev signed a six-year deal with an average annual value of $3.5 million. The 27-year-old is coming off a career season with the Jets. Tanev collected 14 goals and 15 assists for Winnipeg, both career highs.
Tanev also brings a defensive element the Penguins are searching for after getting ousted by the New York Islanders in the opening round of the playoffs. Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford talked about the need for a culture change after the franchise’s earliest postseason exit of the Sidney Crosby era. Sending the productive but enigmatic Kessel to the Coyotes was step one. Bringing in Tanev to work in the bottom six forward group is step two.
NHL free agency has begun with a flurry of deals.
The San Jose Sharks have agreed to a deal with restricted free agent forward Timo Meier.
Locking up Meier was one of the top priorities in free agency after re-signing defenseman Erik Karlsson to an eight-year, $92 million contract last month.
Meier is coming off a breakthrough season when he became a fixture as a top six forward in San Jose. He had 30 goals and 36 assists in 78 games, making a major jump from his first full season when he had 36 points in 81 games.
In Canada, a former Oilers goaltender is going to Calgary and a former Flames goaltender is going to Edmonton. Another person with knowledge of the move says Calgary has agreed to sign Cam Talbot to a $2.75 million, one-year deal while Edmonton agreed to sign Mike Smith to a $2 million, one-year deal with incentives.
Talbot spent three-plus seasons with Oilers until being traded to the Flyers at the deadline. Philadelphia opted to re-sign Brian Elliott instead of Talbot.
Smith spent the past two seasons with the Flames.
– AP Hockey Writers Stephen Whyno and John Wawrow contributed
NHL free agency is under way with all eyes on Russian winger Artemi Panarin.
Panarin told the Columbus Blue Jackets a year ago he would not sign an extension and wanted to test free agency. The Florida Panthers and New York Rangers are among the teams that brought Panarin in for a free agent visit.
The 27-year-old recorded 28 goals and 59 assists for a career-high 87 points last season.
Jimmy Vesey will be a member of the Buffalo Sabres, after all.
The Sabres gave up a 2021 third-round draft pick to acquire the third-year forward in a Monday trade with the New York Rangers. Vesey joins the Sabres three years after he turned down an opportunity to sign with Buffalo upon completing his college career at Harvard.
Buffalo acquired Vesey’s rights in a trade with Nashville in June 2016 in hopes they could sign college hockey’s 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner before he was eligible to become a free agent. He instead signed with the Rangers.
The Predators selected Vesey in the third round of the 2012 draft.
Vesey scored 17 goals and had a career-best 35 points in 81 games last season. Overall, he has 50 goals and 40 assists for 90 points in 240 NHL career games.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have re-signed goalie Joonas Korpisalo to a one-year contract.
The 25-year-old Korpisalo was a restricted free agent who had a 10-7-3 record and 2.95 goals-against average in 27 games backing up Sergei Bobrovsky last season.
The signing comes at a time when the Blue Jackets are in jeopardy of losing Bobrovsky once the NHL’s free-agent signing period opens.
General manager Jarmo Kekalainen says the upcoming season will provide Korpisalo ”a great opportunity to prove himself,” and is confident the goalie is ready for that challenge.
The Blue Jackets selected Korpisalo in the third round of the 2012 out of Finland. He has a 41-31-9 record in 90 career NHL games.
The Dallas Stars have moved quickly to restore their forward depth.
A person with knowledge of the decision says the Stars have agreed to a deal with veteran winger Corey Perry. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the contract has not yet been signed. The NHL permits contracts to be signed beginning at noon Eastern.
The 34-year-old Perry was bought out by the Anaheim Ducks after a knee injury limited him to 10 points in 31 games.
Dallas will likely lose trade-deadline acquisition Mats Zuccarello, and the team let veteran center Jason Spezza walk in free agency. A person with knowledge of the move tells The AP that Spezza agreed to a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Stars may also be looking to sign center Joe Pavelski, the longtime San Jose Sharks captain.
– AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno
A person with knowledge of the move tells The Associated Press the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to sign veteran center Jason Spezza to a one-year contract when free agency opens.
The 36-year-old Spezza is expected to sign for roughly the $700,000 NHL minimum salary. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because contracts cannot be signed until noon Eastern time.
Spezza is a Toronto native entering his 17th season after spending the first 11 in Ottawa and past five in Dallas. He gives the Maple Leafs veteran depth. He had 27 points last season.
– AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno
Two NHL rivals helped each other out of a jam by way of a trade in the hours before NHL free agency opened.
The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Cody Ceci, a 2020 third-round pick and minor leaguers Ben Harpur and Aaron Luchuk from the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, forward Connor Brown and minor leaguer Michael Carcone. The teams announced the trade early Monday.
The deal represents a much-needed change of scenery for Ceci, Zaitsev and Brown. Zaitsev had asked to be traded and waived his no-trade clause to complete the move across Ontario.
Salary cap-strapped Toronto, which still needs to sign restricted free agent forward Mitch Marner to a new contract, clears $6.6 million in space. Ceci is a restricted free agent who needs a new contract and has arbitration rights, but the Maple Leafs likely need him on their thin blue line.
Zaitsev is signed for $4.5 million a season through 2023-24. Brown has one year left on his contract and should get more ice time in Ottawa than in Toronto with its glut of talented young forwards.
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