Several teams acquired players with superpowers on the first day of the NHL’s free agent signing period, but the Dallas Stars landed Captain America.
Joe Pavelski, the player with a superhero nickname, signed a three-year deal worth $21 million with the Stars because he believes they are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
“We wanted to feel the team was close to winning,” Pavelski told NHL Network. "They check off a lot of boxes. It seemed like a perfect fit.”
Realizing their Stanley Cup window is open, Stars general manager Jim Nill dived aggressively into the marketplace and signed Pavelski, right wing Corey Perry and defenseman Andrej Sekera.
Pavelski’s presence on the second lines means that the Stars should have a more balanced offensive attack than they had last season, when they ranked 29th in scoring.
Pavelski will be 35 at the beginning of next season, but he scored 38 goals last season. He remains a dangerous, skilled offensive performer in traffic.
Joe Pavelski had spent his entire career with the San Jose Sharks before he signed with the Dallas Stars on July 1. (Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie, USA TODAY Sports)
Meanwhile, the Perry signing is a reasonable roll of the dice. He signed for $1.5 million plus bonuses. He still could be capable of scoring 20 goals and playing with fire and grit. Sekera is a dependable two-way defenseman.
Nill was one of the winners on July 1. Here are other winners and losers early in the free agent signing process.
They won the big prize by signing Artemi Panarin to a seven-year deal worth $81.5 million. The Islanders offered more money, but Panarin wanted to play in Manhattan. The signing of Panarin, coupled with the trade for Jacob Trouba and the drafting of Kaapo Kakko, puts their rebuilding ahead of schedule. They could still use another proven center, but they could compete for a playoff spot if everything goes well.
Last summer, they lost John Tavares and Lou Lamoriello transformed this team into a playoff team. Now as a playoff team, they couldn’t persuade Panarin to come aboard. It’s especially difficult to lose him to the rival Rangers.
It’s about time we had another offer sheet. The Hurricanes will likely match the one made to Sebastian Aho and the hockey world won't end. The main reason we don’t see offer sheets is that they don’t usually work and are matched quickly. But it’s fun for fans when a team hauls out an offer sheet now and then. These are not bad for the game.
No one wanted to see Pavelski leave San Jose, including Pavelski. He was a fan favorite and a key figure in the San Jose dressing room. He’s known far and wide as an exceptional teammate and leader.
Winner: NHL goalies
You can imagine the glee that goalies felt when they heard the Florida Panthers gave Sergei Bobrovsky $10 million per season. He has won two Vezina trophies but doesn’t have a Stanley Cup.
Not every goalie will benefit. But this raises the salary bar for the league’s better goalies, such as Washington’s Braden Holtby, who can be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
At least fans who thought all the action would be on July 1. Many of the key decisions about where players were headed were reported on social media the night before. The addition of the interview period has simply changed how the process works. The decisions are made the day before and the signing happens on July 1.
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