John Tavares Signs Seven-Year Deal with Toronto Maple Leafs; Other Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings

The free-agent period in the NHL began this morning on July 1st and several notable players were signed.

John Tavares (C) – Toronto Maples Leafs

The big fish was caught by the Toronto Maple Leafs, who signed former-New York Islanders first-round pick John Tavares to a seven-year, $11 million AAV (Average Annual Value) contract. Tavares was easily the most heavily sought after free-agent this offseason with six teams, including the Maples Leafs, Boston Bruins, and Tampa Bay Lightning, meeting with him this past week in Los Angeles.

Tavares is known as an ironman simply for the fact that he usually is never injured and rarely misses time. He’s only missed more than five games once in a single season (2013-14, 59 games played) and is almost a point/game player (.93 points/game) over the course of his nine-year career.

According to Darren Dreger of TSN, Tavares will play alongside Mitch Marner, who is coming off a phenomenal rookie season and also led the Leafs in points. The potential of having Marner and Tavares playing on the same line should make rival Atlantic Division teams nauseous.

John Carlson (D) – Washington Capitals

Career-long Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson signed an eight-year, $64 million contract with his own team, keeping together and d-core that helped the Caps win the Stanley Cup.

Carlson was not only a great defenseman for Washington, but he was also an offensive juggernaut, garnering 68 points during the regular season. He also contributed 20 points in 24 games during the playoffs en route to the Capitals first Cup victory in franchise history.

Paul Stastny (C) – Vegas Golden Knights

The Stanley Cup Finalists just improved upon their already talented roster by adding the ex-St Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets centerman Paul Stastny. Stastny is a thirteen-year veteran who had a combined 53 points for the Blues and then the Jets, who acquired him in a trade last season.

Stastny will join fellow centermen William Karlsson and Erik Haula and try to help a team that no one thought had any chance of making the playoffs, let alone a Cup Final, get over the hump.

James van Riemsdyk (W) – Philadelphia Flyers 

James van Riemsdyk finds himself back with the team that drafted him 2nd overall back in the 2007 NHL draft. Over six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, JVR had 294 points in 413 games (with an astonishing -47 rating) and was overall one of the team’s better players during his time there.

JVR joins a Flyers team that will most likely slot him in on one of the top two lines and other top-wingers Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, and Travis Koency.

Other Notable Signings

  • Ilya Kovalchuk (LW) – Los Angeles Kings – 3 years, $18.75 million
  • Carter Hutton (G) – Buffalo Sabres – 3 years, $8.25 million
  • Mike Green (D) – Detroit RedWings – 2 years, $10.75 million
  • Tyler Bozak (C) – St Louis Blues – 3 years, $15 million
  • Thomas Vanek (RW) – Detroit Red Wings – 1 year, $3 million 
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