John Tavares to Toronto Maple Leafs leads free agent frenzy


The Toronto Maple Leafs landed the biggest available unrestricted free agent this summer by signing 27-year-old centre John Tavares to a seven-year $77 million contract. Tavares was drafted by the New York Islanders with the first overall pick back in 2009 and spent nine seasons with the team The native of Mississauga, Ontario leaves the Islanders with 272 goals and 349 assists for 621 points in 669 regular season games and 11 goals and 11 assists in just 24 career playoff contests. Tavares led the team with 37 goals and 47 assists for 84 points in 82 outings last season.

It's unclear how the acquisition of Tavares will affect the Leafs' payroll situation over the next year or so as the club needs to either re-sign or trade young stars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and/or William Nylander. And while the Leafs gained 37 goals by signing Tavares they lost 47 goals from last year's lineup as free agent centre Tyler Bozak (11 goals) signed with the St. Louis Blues on a three-year $15 million contract and left-winger James van Riemsdyk (36 goals) signed a five-year deal, $35 million with the Philadelphia Flyers.

There was plenty of other activity on July 1st, which was the first day of free agency, and we'll recap the biggest moves of the day.

Anaheim Ducks: Signed defenceman Luke Schenn of the Arizona Coyotes to a year-long deal.

Arizona Coyotes: Signed forward Michael Grabner from the New Jersey Devils to a three-year deal. Defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson was re-signed for two years.

Boston Bruins: Signed goaltender Jaroslav Halak from the New York Islanders to a two-year contract and signed forward Chris Wagner from the Islanders to a two-year deal. They also inked defenceman John Moore of the New Jersey Devils to a five-year contract.

Buffalo Sabres: Signed goaltender Carter Hutton of the St. Louis Blues to a three-year contract and goaltender Scott Wedgewood from the Arizona Coyotes to a one-year deal.

Calgary Flames: Signed centre Derek Ryan of the Carolina Hurricanes to a three-year contract and inked forward James Neal of Vegas to a five-year deal.

Carolina Hurricanes: Signed goaltender Petr Mrazek of the Philadelphia Flyers to a one-year deal.

Chicago Blackhawks: Signed goaltender Cam Ward from Carolina to a one-year contract as well as forward Chris Kunitz of the Tampa Bay Lightning and defenceman Brandon Manning of Philadelphia.

Colorado Avalanche: Signed defenceman Ian Cole and forward Matt Calvert of the Columbus Blue Jackets to three-year contracts.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Signed defenceman Adam Clendening of Arizona to a one-year contract and centre Riley Nash of Boston to a three-year contract.

Dallas Stars: Signed defenceman Roman Polak of Toronto to a one-year contract and goaltender Anton Khudobin of Boston to a two-year contract. Forward Blake Comeau of Colorado was signed to a three-year deal.

Detroit Red Wings: Signed goaltender Jonathan Bernier of Colorado to a three-year contract and forward Thomas Vanek of Columbus to a one-year contract. Defenceman Mike Green was also re-signed to a two year deal.

Los Angeles Kings: Signed forward Ilya Kovalchuk of the KHL to a three-year contract.

Minnesota Wild: Signed goaltender Andrew Hammond of Colorado to a one-year deal and forward Eric Fehr of the San Jose Sharks to a year-long deal. Forward Matt Hendricks of the Winnipeg Jets also signed on for a season. Defenceman Greg Pateryn was signed from Dallas for two years.

Montreal Canadiens: Signed forward Tomas Plekanec from Toronto to a one-year contract and inked
forward Matthew Peca of Tampa Bay to a two-year contract.

New York Islanders: Signed forward Valtteri Filppula of Philadelphia to a one-year contract and forward Leo Komarov of Toronto to a four-year contract. Defenceman Thomas Hickey was re-signed to a four-year deal.

New York Rangers: Re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year contract.

Philadelphia Flyers: Signed forward James van Riemsdyk from Toronto to a five-year contract.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Signed defenceman Jack Johnson of Columbus to a five-year contract, forward Matt Cullen of Minnesota to a one-year contract and forward Jimmy Hayes of New Jersey to a one-year deal.

San Jose Sharks: Re-signed forward Logan Couture to an eight-year deal.

St. Louis Blues: Signed centre Tyler Bozak of Toronto to a three-year contract, goaltender Chad Johnson of Buffalo to a one-year contract and forward David Perron of the Vegas Golden Knights to a four-year deal.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Re-sign defenceman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year contract.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Signed forward John Tavares of the New York Islanders to a seven-year contract as well as forward Josh Jooris of Pittsburgh. Defenceman Martin Marincin was re-signed to a one-year deal and defenceman Jordan Subban of Los Angeles signed for a season.

Vancouver Canucks: Signed centre Jay Beagle of the Washington Capitals to a four-year contract and
forward Antoine Roussel of the Dallas stars to a four-year deal.

Vegas Golden Knights: Signed defenceman Nick Holden of Boston. Forward Paul Stastny of Winnipeg was also signed for three years while forward Ryan Reaves was re-signed.

In addition, there was also a trade between the Buffalo Sabres and the St. Louis Blues as Buffalo sent centre Ryan O'Reilly to the Blues for Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund, prospect Tage Thompson, a first-round draft pick in 2019 and a second-round pick in 2021. O'Reilly was the top faceoff man in the NHL last season and chipped in with 24 goals and 37 assists. Berglund had 17 goals and nine assists with the Blues while Sobotka had 11 goals and 20 assists.