NHL Free Agency Tracker: JVR back to Philly; Tavares a Leaf | Pittsburgh Hockey Now
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NHL Free Agency Tracker: JVR back to Philly; Tavares a Leaf

Keep it here all day as the staff of Pittsburgh Hockey Now does its level best to keep you up to date.

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James Van Riemsdyk, in his previous Flyers life. - By Michael Miller - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

News is already sprouting up on this first day of NHL free agency, with word spreading that James van Riemsdyk will be returning to Philadelphia as the clock struck midnight Saturday. The market opens officially at noon Eastern today (Sunday), but news will surely be leaking through the morning.

The Penguins’ signing of Jack Johnson is a mere formality at this point. More on all that in a moment, but keep it here all day as the staff of Pittsburgh Hockey Now does its level best to keep you up to date on all the pertinent happenings around the league.

Matt GajtkaDan Kingerski and Shelly Anderson will be chiming in throughout the day here, although look for separate posts if the Penguins do anything of note. Go to the bottom for the earlier posts, FYI.

3:30 p.m.: One last thing. The Penguins have made a host of minor signings, headed by former Blackhawk, Panther, Bruin and Devil Jimmy Hayes. Zach Trotman, who played a handful of games on the Pens’ blue line last year, also returns.

2:15 p.m.: Winger Tobias Rieder was linked to the Penguins in various reports, but he’s going to the Oilers for one year and $2 million. Dreger on it first.

2:05  p.m.: Separate post from Gajtka on the twin Penguins signings. Anderson will handle the coverage from the scene in Cranberry.

1:30 p.m.: This came out of nowhere. Matt Cullen is apparently coming back to Pittsburgh, reports Dreger:

1:20 p.m: Defenseman John Moore to the Bruins for five years, reports Frank Seravelli of TSN. It’s at a $2.75 million average annual value.

1:10 p.m.: The Leafs didn’t even break the bank for Tavares, as it turns out. They’ll pay him $11 million per year. The max average annual value for a player is just shy of $16 million, with the cap having risen this summer.

1:05 p.m.: Meanwhile, across the pond …Malkin doesn’t give a bleep about anything going on over here. His Russian team is on to the quarterfinals of the World Cup on home soil.

1:02 p.m.: We only had to wait an hour! Mr. Friedman, take it away …

For entertainment purposes, hard to imagine a better landing spot. If you’re trying to compete against the Leafs, though, that’s a tough one.

12:48 p.m.: Staple has confirmed that the Isles are out on Tavares, while Mark Spector reports that the sweepstakes is down to two teams: Leafs and Sharks.

12:30 p.m.: Michael Grabner to the … Coyotes? And at a semi-reasonable number, too. Wonder how hard the Penguins were after the speedster?

12:25 p.m.: We’ve heard that Jim Rutherford will speak to the press around 1:30 p.m. up in Cranberry, so Johnson might be it for the Penguins today.

In other local news, Josh Jooris is outta here …

Injured? You need a lawyer. Call Joshua R. Lamm.

12:20 p.m.: Some housekeeping on earlier signings. Tomas Plekanec goes back to Montreal (one year, $2.25 million) after a couple months in Toronto, while Jared McCann re-signs in Florida for two years. McCann was a restricted free agent.

12:18 p.m.: Chicago was in on Ian Cole, but he goes to Colorado for three years and $12.75 million, total. Josh Yohe of the Athletic had the report first.

12:15 p.m.: Remember Valeri Nichushkin? He’s back from Russia to rejoin the Stars …

12:10 p.m.: Another established defender locked down long-term: The Lightning have extended Ryan McDonaugh for seven years at $6.75 million per season. That’ll kick in for the 2019-20 season … and that probably means Tampa Bay is out on Tavares.

12:08 p.m.The Coyotes have officially signed franchise defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year extension. This was reported previously.

12:04 p.m.: Well there’s one we were tracking. The Blackhawks have announced that Kunitz has signed a one-year contract.Powers reports it’s a $1 million salary.

12:01 p.m.: Someone ring the dinner bell! TSN’s Darren Dreger has noted former Penguin Blake Comeau signing with Dallas for three years at $2.4 million each. That’s the one we were all waiting for.

11:55 a.m.: Maybe the last bit of news before the deadline? The Athletic’s Scott Powers reports that Cam Ward is headed from Carolina to Chicago on a deal that’ll pay the 2006 Stanley Cup goalie $2.5 million annually. Ironic, in that the ‘Canes brought in former ‘Hawks backup Scott Darling last summer.

11:39 a.m.: Blackhawks are pursuing Chris Kunitz, per Chicago Sun-Times beat writer, awesome guy, and overly political Mark Lazerus. Love ya, Laz!

11:38 a.m.: Tyler Bozak will be a St. Louis Blue. 3×5

11:31 a.m.: Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports the Islanders have signed … Thomas Hickey. The back-pairing defenseman will get $10 million over four years.

11:16 a.m.: Per The Hockey News, the San Jose Sharks have agreed to an eight year extension with Logan Couture. Couture, 29, is entering his 10th season.

10:39 a.m.: The Red Wings have re-signed Mike Green for two years.

10:33 a.m.: Paul Statsny will be a Vegas Golden Knight. Some reports have the deal as three-year, $7 million. UPDATE: $6.5 million

10:27 a.m.: From Pierre LeBrun of the Athletic … some Ryan O’Reilly news:

10:05 a.m.: Minnesota is adding depth. Defenseman Greg Pateryn, forward Eric Fehr, and goalie Andrew “Hamburglar” Hammond are MN bound.

9:54 a.m.: Eric Gryba will join the New Jersey blue line per Bob McKenzie of TSN. Gryba, 30, was bought out last month by Edmonton.

9:43 a.m.: Arthur Staple of the Athletic reports the Islanders are all but out of the John Tavares sweepstakes.

9:39 a.m.: Aaron Portzline of the Athletic tweeted Jack Johnson is traveling to Pittsburgh today to sign a contract valued at $16.25 million.

9:37 a.m.: JVR is Philly bound. For fan reaction, check out Broad Street Hockey (BSH)

In case you missed it elsewhere on PHN, Gajtka took a look at one reason why the Penguins have never had to hit a free-agency home run in the Sidney CrosbyEvgeni Malkin era:

Gajtka: Crosby, Malkin Spared Penguins So Much Free Agency Stress

9:30 a.m.: If you want to talk about ‘Silly Season’ stuff, how about the two contracts the Canucks are prepared to give out to bottom-six forwards Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel. How about four years each for Beagle and Roussel, with Beagle getting $3 million a year and Roussel set to collect $3.25 million per?

9:15 a.m.: In goalie news, Jaroslav Halak is off to Boston for two years, Carter Hutton will sign with Buffalo, Anton Khudobin is expected to be in Dallas for the next two seasons, and Andrew Hutchison will be looking for South Florida real estate.

9 a.m.: In addition to the anticipated JVR return to Philly — five years at $7 million per is the report per ESPN’s John Buccigross — we will also see former Penguin David Perron go back to familiar territory. The one-time Golden Knight will return to St. Louis on a four-year, $16-million pact, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Derek Ryan won’t be coming back to Carolina, but he’ll be keeping at least one aspect of his environment the same, as the center will chase coach Bill Peters to Calgary. Friedman has it at three years and just over $9 million total.

Wrapping up the déjà vu crew, winger Thomas Vanek is headed back to Detroit. The Athletic’s Michigan-based Craig Custance had this one first, with the Wings set to pay the handsy 34-year-old $3 million in a one-year agreement.

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