x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Summer shopping season

An estimated 70 deals were made on the first day of the NHL's shopping season as nearly all 30 of the league's clubs signed a free agent, made a trade or both.

An estimated 70 deals were made on the first day of the NHL's shopping season as nearly all 30 of the league's clubs signed a free agent, made a trade or both.

As has been the case in recent years, the new Stanley Cup champions found themselves raided by jealous competitors as the Boston Bruins lost their big forward, Michael Ryder, to the Dallas Stars on a two-year, US$7 million (Dh25.7m) deal.

The Bruins fought back by signing Benoit Pouliot, also a forward, from the Montreal Canadiens.

Clubs were particularly active because the NHL salary cap has been raised by $4.9m to $64.3m.

"You saw quite a bit of money spent today," said Peter Chiarelli, the Boston general manager.

Brad Richards of the Stars, considered the most attractive of the free agents, did not sign on Friday, but plenty of others did.

"I've always used the term 'irrational exuberance' of July 1 and I think it might have exceeded that today, not just with dollars but terms," said Doug Wilson, general manager of the San Jose Sharks.

"That just tells you about supply and demand."

Columbus started the signing frenzy when it locked up the defenceman James Wisniewski with a six-year, $33m deal.

San Jose signed forward Michal Handzus to a $5m, two-year deal and defenceman Jim Vandermeer to a $1m, one-year deal.

The biggest name to find a new home was Jaromir Jagr.

The 39 year old is returning to the NHL from Russia's Kontinental Hockey League after a three-season stint there following his time with the Rangers.

The Flyers also signed the gritty forward Max Talbot away from Pittsburgh for $9m over five years.

Pittsburgh also lost rugged forward Mike Rupp, who left for another division rival, the New York Rangers, for three years and $4.5m. Pittsburgh recovered by re-signing forward Tyler Kennedy for two years and $4m, and added 36-year-old Steve Sullivan, who left Nashville for one year and $1.5m.

Philadelphia lost forward Ville Leino, coming off a career-best 53-point season, to the Buffalo Sabres on a six-year, $27m deal.

It was a good day for defencemen. Ed Jovanovski left Phoenix and signed with Florida, his original team, for four years and $16.5m. Sami Salo signed a one-year, $2m deal to stay with the Stanley Cup runners-up Vancouver; Cam Barker agreed to a two-year, $2.25m contract with Edmonton; Adam Pardy went from Calgary to Dallas for two years and $4m.

In other notable moves, goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere left Toronto for Colorado Avalanche; Marco Sturm went to Vancouver from the Washington Capitals; Erik Cole left the Carolina Hurricanes to sign a four-year, $18m deal with Montreal; Joel Ward signed a four-year, $12m deal to go to Washington from Nashville; and Ben Eager moved to Edmonton from San Jose for three years and $3.3m.

Raffi Torres said goodbye to the Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks and agreed to a two-year deal worth $3.5m with the Phoenix Coyotes, who lost veteran forward Vernon Fiddler to Dallas on a three-year, $5.4m deal.