Breaking down the big signings in NHL free agency

Big money gets splashed as NHL salary cap goes up

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Happy Canada Day.

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With free agency in the National Hockey League going into full swing on Monday, we take a quick look at the biggest signings on the day:

Jake Guentzel, W, Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa traded for Guentzel’s rights and got his signature on a seven-year contract with an annual average value of $9 million. It’s pricey — Guentzel’s career-high for goals in a season is 40, done twice — but he has demonstrated he can score in the playoffs with 38 goals in 69 career post-season games.

Sam Reinhart, RW, Florida Panthers

After scoring a career-high 57 goals, the thinking was that Reinhart could get north of $11 million on the open market. Instead, the Panthers re-signed him to the maximum eight years with an AAV of $8.625 million. It’s a win for the Stanley Cup champions.

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Chris Tanev, D, Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs signed Tanev to a six-year pact with an AAV of $4.5 million after acquiring his rights from the Dallas Stars. At 34, the Leafs will have to get his best in the next couple of seasons, because with the engaged manner that Tanev employs, they’ll have to hope he remains healthy. Tanev is the shutdown defenceman that the Leafs desperately needed.

Steven Stamkos, C, Nashville Predators

When you think of the Lightning, you think of Stamkos. Period. It’s hard to believe, still, that it came to this for the now-former Lightning captain. Stamkos gets four years with an AAV of $8 million. He has scored 40 goals in two of the past three seasons, so there is no slowing down at the age of 34. He would have been a good fit with the Leafs had Toronto possessed the cap space.

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Brandon Montour, D, Seattle Kraken

Among the biggest blue-line prizes in free agency, Montour gets seven years with the Kraken at an AAV of $7.14 million. The 30-year-old Montour was a key piece for the Panthers in their run to the Cup, logging a team-high average of 23 minutes 27 seconds ice time a game. Now, to help Seattle get back to the playoffs with new coach Dan Bylsma.

Tyler Bertuzzi, LW, Chicago Blackhawks

Despite the mutual interest between the Leafs and Bertuzzi, the sides couldn’t come to an agreement. The contract that Bertuzzi got in Chicago — four years with an AAV of $5.5 million — went into territory that the Leafs didn’t find appealing. Fact is, Bertuzzi didn’t play to expectations in his lone season in Toronto.

More to come …

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