this Dec. 13, 2014, file photo, Toronto Maple Leafs'
Phil Kessel skates during second period NHL hockey
action against the Detroit Red Wings in Toronto. The
Maple Leafs sent 27-year-old Kessel to the Pittsburgh
Penguins on Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in a blockbuster
deal that gives the Penguins a needed boost in its top
six and gives the Maple Leafs some flexibility as they
begin to retool under new coach Mike Babcock.
first day of NHL free agency, a blockbuster trade stole the
Pittsburgh Penguins acquired high-scoring winger Phil Kessel
from Toronto on Wednesday in the biggest move of the day,
while a handful of prominent defenseman found new homes in
signed a multiyear deal with Detroit, Andrej Sekera signed a
$33 million, six-year contract with Edmonton, Paul Martin
inked a $19.4 million, four-year deal with San Jose and
Francois Beauchemin got a three-year deal with Colorado.
notable players to sign with teams on a busy opening day of
free agency were right wing Justin Williams to a two-year,
$6.5 million contract with Washington; forward Michael
Frolik, who got a $21.5 million, five-year deal from
Calgary; forward Matt Beleskey, who got a $19 million,
five-year deal from Boston; forward Blake Comeau, who signed
a three-year deal with the Avalanche; and forward Daniel
Winnik, who signed a two-year contract with Toronto.
won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup MVP with the Kings
A pair of
players who helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup left as free
agents with Brad Richards signing a one-year deal in Detroit
and Antoine Vermette going back to Arizona four months after
being traded to the Blackhawks.
biggest move was clearly the one that teamed up Kessel with
former MVPs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins sent forward prospect Kasperi Kapanen, forward
Nick Spaling, defenseman Scott Harrington and a 2016
third-round pick to the Maple Leafs for Kessel, forward
Tyler Biggs and defenseman Tim Erixon. Conditional draft
picks are also involved.
247 goals and 273 assists in nine seasons between Boston and
Toronto, including 25 goals and 36 assists for the Maple
Leafs in 2014-15.
was always the guy, he was a guy that was blamed when things
weren't going well, and he doesn't have to be the guy
here," Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford said.
"We have a bunch of them, and so I believe that he's
going to fit in very well."
presence will provide Crosby and Malkin with a capable
scorer still in his prime. Injuries devastated Pittsburgh's
depth last season. The Penguins struggled to score goals for
long stretches and fell to the New York Rangers in five
games in the opening round of the playoffs.
top players hitting the market as unrestricted free agents,
the busiest action was on the blue line, where a handful of
teams made some big upgrades.
the Red Wings a quarterback for their power play after
posting 10 goals, 35 assists and 17 power-play points last
season with Washington. Green is one of the most offensively
skilled defensemen in the league and has registered 113
goals and 247 assists in 10 seasons with the Capitals.
who had 12 goals and 25 assists for Stanley Cup champion
Chicago last season, also gives the Red Wings another
a great day for the Red Wings today," general manager
Ken Holland said. "I think we've added two players
today that provide some really important ingredients we were
and Sharks both filled voids on defense with their deals
with Sekera and Martin. Sekera had three goals and 20
assists over 73 games with Carolina and Los Angeles last
signing with San Jose comes a day after the Sharks acquired
Martin Jones to be their starting goaltender as general
manager Doug Wilson has made a strong play to fix a leaky
defense that led to the franchise missing the playoffs for
the first time since 2003.
feel good we got these two pieces off our checklist,"
Wilson said. "Now it allows us to look at some other
things and explore. But we don't feel like there's any rush.
These two pieces needed to be addressed. They have been and
we'll go forward from here."
losing Richards and Brandon Saad, the Blackhawks were able
to lock up one of the players they got in the seven-player
deal that sent Saad to Columbus on Tuesday.
Artem Anisimov agreed to a $22.75 million, five-year
contract extension Wednesday with Chicago. The 27-year-old
Anisimov had seven goals and 20 assists in 52 games for the
Blue Jackets last season. The contract extension begins with
the 2016-17 season.
a really good team, like really good talented players,"
Anisimov said. "They play the game so well. The past
six years, three Stanley Cups, it's really good. I'm really
excited to join this team."
busier teams Wednesday were the Nashville Predators, who
re-signed forward Mike Ribeiro to a two-year, $7 million
contract, signed free agent defenseman Barret Jackman and
forward Cody Hodgson, and acquired forward Max Reinhart in a
trade with Calgary for a conditional fourth-round draft
news, Carolina officially bought out forward Alexander
Semin's contract. The Hurricanes owe Semin $14 million over
the next six years and he is now a free agent.
also traded forward Zack Kassian and a 2016 fifth-round pick
to Montreal for forward Brandon Prust.
busy weekend of goalie movement at the draft, a handful of
backups got deals. The Kings signed Jhonas Enroth to a $1.25
million, one-year deal, Philadelphia signed Michal Neuvirth
to a multiyear deal and Thomas Greiss got a two-year
contract from the Islanders.
also kept Kari Ramo with a $3.8 million, one-year contract.