NHL | The salary cap steals the show!

Who stole the show in this opening of the free agent market?

The salary cap! General managers who had savings robbed the shelves, like attendees of Crazy grocery store. Others ? They tried to free up some leeway by selling off their big contracts. Without success.

The Vegas Golden Knights literally gave Max Pacioretty to the Carolina Hurricanes for nothing. Pacioretty who, I emphasize, has averaged almost a point per game for three years. It gives you an idea of ​​the market for the overpaid players of the Canadian, and the stakes of Kent Hughes to divest themselves of their contracts.

Who were the winners and losers of the day?

The envelope, please.

Today’s winners

Defensive Attackers

The proliferation of advanced statistics in baseball has created a market for players who excel in defense. The same phenomenon is happening in hockey. Clubs value players who, like Phillip Danault, manage to keep the puck against the best opponents. The Evolving Hockey site has quantified this defensive work by assigning a percentile rank to each NHL player. The higher the number, the better the player. See how they were rewarded.

  • Anthony Cirelli, Lightning (98): 50 million/8 years
  • Mason Marchment, Stars (98): 18 million/4 years
  • Valeri Nichushkin, Avalanche (96): 49 million/8 years
  • Artturi Lehkonen, Avalanche (88): 22.5 million/5 years
  • Andrew Copp, Red Wings (83): 28 million/5 years
  • Vincent Trocheck, Rangers (68): 39.3 million/7 years


Artturi Lehkonen

Most Improved Club

Washington Capitals

The Capitals acquired two goaltenders, Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren. These hires could be the difference between making the playoffs and being shut out. According to Evolving Hockey, Kuemper and Lindgren saved 20 goals last season. Quite a contrast to the Capitals goalies, who allowed 15 what’s more they should have. This differential of 35 goals should be enough for the Capitals to stay among the best teams in the Metropolitan Division. Special mention to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the unexpected acquisition of Johnny Gaudreau.


Darcy Kuemper

The most transformed club

Detroit Red Wings

In reconstruction for six years, the Red Wings want to return to the playoffs. They marked their intentions on Wednesday by hiring five veterans. These new employees will be particularly useful on special teams – one of the big weaknesses of the Wings. Last season, David Perron excelled on the power play. At what point ? Judge for yourselves.

Points per 60 excess minutes *

  • Artemi Panarin, Rangers 9.90
  • Nikita Kucherov, Lightning 9.85
  • Connor McDavid, Oilers 8.86
  • Chris Kreider, Rangers 8.74
  • David Perron, Blues 8.66

* At least 100 minutes of play

Andrew Copp and Ben Chiarot will stabilize the worst shorthanded unit in the NHL. Will that be enough to qualify for the playoffs? I do not believe. But the Wings will be better, no doubt.

The weakest club

Calgary Flames

The Flames finished the season with a better goal differential (+85) than Stanley Cup finalists the Colorado Avalanche (+78) and Tampa Bay Lightning (+54). Their window of opportunity was wide open. The shutters have just fallen back, with the departure of Johnny Gaudreau, author of 115 points. No contingency plan has yet been deployed. Under the circumstances, will Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane want to stay long term?

The best contract

Ilya Mikheyev, Vancouver Canucks

The Russian forward was not spoiled with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He mainly evolved on the third line, with David Kampf and Pierre Engvall. He was most of the time sent on the ice during face-offs in the defensive zone. Even so, he still scored 21 goals. Only Cole Caufield, at the Canadian, did better. The Canucks gave him just under $20 million for four years. If Mikheyev finds himself on an attacking line, his production could explode – and make his new bosses look like geniuses.


Ilya Mikheyev

The worst contract

Erik Gudbranson, Columbus Blue Jackets

In 11 years in the NHL, how many 40-point seasons has defenseman Erik Gudbranson had?


How many 30 point seasons?


How many 20 point seasons?


His record: 17 points, last winter. The Blue Jackets rewarded him with an incredible 16 million four-year deal. I’m looking for a statistic to justify this astonishing expense, but I can’t find one.

The losers of the day

Chicago Blackhawks fans

Finally, the Blackhawks were not bluffing. They really make a clean sweep. Their reinforcements? Max Domi, Andreas Athanasiou and Colin Blackwell. All players who have made it to their fourth team in three years. It promises. Oh, they also found a backup goalie. It will be Alex Stalock, 34, who has played only one NHL game since the pandemic. He allowed… 6 goals… in 46 minutes.

The winter will be long in Chicago.

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