The Latest on the first day of NHL free agency.

By Associated Press
July 01, 2017

The Latest on the first day of NHL free agency (all times local):

1 p.m.

Goaltenders are signing fast and furious early in free agency.

Steve Mason has signed a $8.2 million, 2-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets, an average cap hit of $4.1 million. Jonathan Bernier signed for $2.75 million over one year with the Colorado Avalanche, who lost goalie Calvin Pickard to Vegas in the expansion draft.

12:50 p.m.

The Buffalo Sabres have signed forward Benoit Pouliot to a one-year, $1.15 million deal, two days after the 30-year-old had the remainder of his contract bought out by the Edmonton Oilers.

Pouliot has 11 seasons of NHL experience, including the past three with the Oilers, where he combined for 41 goals and 84 points in 180 games. Overall, he has 117 goals, 127 assists for 244 points in 551 career games, and provides third- and fourth-line depth to a Sabres team under newly hired general manager Jason Botterill.

Pouliot's signing comes a day after the Sabres acquired former captain Jason Pominville in a trade with Minnesota.

The two veteran additions at forward make it less likely Buffalo will re-sign Brian Gionta. An unrestricted free agent, Gionta expressed interest in returning to the Sabres.

12:45 p.m.

The San Jose Sharks have signed long-term contract extensions with shutdown defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and goalie Martin Jones.

The Sharks reached agreements on the deals Saturday to keep both players off the open market next summer. Vlasic gets an eight-year deal and Jones was signed for six years.

Vlasic is one the top defensive defensemen in the league and is usually tasked with shutting down the opposition's top scorers. Vlasic has played all 11 seasons of his career with San Jose and now is under contract for nine more seasons.

Jones has been a rock in goal since being acquired in a trade with Boston two years ago. He helped San Jose reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2016 and won 35 games this past season.

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12:40 p.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes are bringing in another free-agent forward, agreeing to a one-year deal with Josh Jooris.

General manager Ron Francis said Saturday that Jooris will make $775,000.

Jooris, 26, had four goals and eight assists in 54 games while splitting the season between Arizona and the New York Rangers.

The deal with Jooris was announced about 15 minutes after the Hurricanes said they struck a two-year deal with forward Justin Williams, a key member of their 2006 Stanley Cup championship team who earned the ''Mr. Game 7'' nickname for his 7-1 career record in them.

12:35 p.m.

A flurry of signings are done a half-hour into free agency, including a couple of goaltenders with Ondrej Pavelec going to the New York Rangers and Brian Elliott to the Philadelphia Flyers.

A person with direct knowledge of the signing tells The Associated Press that Pavelec agreed to a $1.3 million, one-year deal. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

Elliott signed for $5.5 million over two years to split time in Philadelphia's goal with Michal Neuvirth. Elliott's cap hit will be $2.75 million.

The Washington Capitals also re-signed forward Brett Connolly to a $3 million, two-year deal that carries an annual cap hit of $1.5 million.

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12:30 p.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes are bringing back forward Justin Williams.

General manager Ron Francis say Williams agreed to a two-year deal worth $9 million.

The 2014 playoff MVP had 100 points combined the past two years with Washington and won one Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 and two more with Los Angeles.

Now the player nicknamed ''Mr. Game 7'' for his 7-1 career record in those series-deciding games will try to help Carolina reach a Game 1.

The Hurricanes have the NHL's longest active playoff drought at eight years. Their only postseason appearance since winning the Cup came in 2009.

Francis says Williams ''believes in what we are doing here and is returning to Raleigh to help the Hurricanes take the next step.''

12:25 p.m.

If you can't beat `em, sign `em.

Fresh off losing in the Stanley Cup Final, the Nashville Predators have signed center Nick Bonino to a $16.4 million, four-year deal. The Pittsburgh Penguins' two-year Stanley Cup hero will count $4.1 million against Nashville's salary cap each season.

The Penguins are also losing defensemen Trevor Daley to Detroit and Ron Hainsey to Toronto.

But they have replenished their blue line by signing Matt Hunwick to a $6.75 million, three-year deal. The 32-year-old former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman will count $2.25 million against the cap.

12:20 p.m.

The Detroit Red Wings addressed a desperate need at the start of free agency, signing veteran defenseman Trevor Daley to a $9.5 million, three-year contract.

Daley helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup last month, adding five points in 21 games during the playoffs.

The 33-year-old Daley gives Detroit a much-needed boost on the blue line. The franchise didn't earn a spot in the postseason for the first time since 1990 in part because it struggled on defense.

Daley has 78 goals and 278 points in his 13-year career, spending much of it with the Dallas Stars before playing for the Chicago Blackhawks and Penguins the past two seasons.

12:15 p.m.

The Sabres have reached an agreement to sign goalie Chad Johnson, who returns to Buffalo after spending last season in Calgary. Johnson is a capable backup, but also a journeyman, who joins his seventh team in his eight NHL seasons.

Johnson went 18-15-1 in 36 games for the Flames last season. Overall, he 68-45-12 record in 137 games, including 124 starts.

Johnson is familiar with Buffalo after spending the 2015-16 season with the Sabres, where he formed a close bond with starter Robin Lehner. He also stepped in and went 22-16-4 in a career-high 40 games after Lehner was sidelined by a sprained ankle.

The Sabres addressed a depth need at goalie after prospect Cal Petersen elected to pursue free agency after opting out of his senior season at Notre Dame. Johnson will compete with Linus Ullmark for the backup job with the Sabres.

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12:10 p.m.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Dan Girardi to a $6 million, two-year deal. The 33-year-old will count $3 million against the salary cap the next two seasons.

Girardi was bought out of the final three years of his contract by the New York Rangers in June.

12:05 p.m.

The Montreal Canadiens have their replacement for Alexei Emelin, signing defenseman Karl Alzner to a $23.125 million, five-year deal. Alzner will count $4.625 million against the salary cap each season.

Alzner, 28, had spent his entire career with the Washington Capitals before hitting unrestricted free agency. He's expected to be one of many players to leave Washington, including Kevin Shattenkirk and Justin Williams.

Noon

Patrick Sharp, a high-scoring winger who helped the Blackhawks win three Stanley Cup championships, is returning to Chicago for a second stint.

The 35-year-old veteran agreed to a one-year, $800,000 contract Saturday that includes another $200,000 in performance incentives.

Sharp spent 10 seasons with the Blackhawks from 2005 to 2015 and had 511 points (239 goals). He scored more than 30 goals four times in that span and helped transform Chicago into one of the most successful franchises along with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Sharp got dealt to Dallas in a salary cap move after the Blackhawks beat Tampa Bay for the championship in 2015.

11:55 a.m.

The New Jersey Devils began spending their salary-cap space by signing center Brian Boyle to a $5.1 million, two-year deal.

Boyle was traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the deadline.

Boyle has 169 points in 624 NHL games.

11:45 a.m.

Jaromir Jagr's time in Florida appears to be over, barring a seismic change in his asking price.

A person with direct knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Jagr and the Panthers were ''nowhere close'' on a salary for this coming season, and that Florida has elected to move on without him in its plans. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither side had publicly revealed those details.

The 45-year-old Jagr said earlier this week that no teams had contacted him, something Panthers general manager Dale Tallon refuted by saying he was having regular conversations with Jagr agent Petr Svoboda.

Jagr had 16 goals and 30 assists for Florida last season, appearing in all 82 games. He's No. 2 on the NHL's career points list, and No. 3 in goals, No. 4 in games and No. 5 in assists.

He is the oldest free agent, by far, available this summer - Shane Doan and Matt Cullen are next, both 40.

11:30 a.m.

The Philadelphia Flyers are re-signing another highly touted young forward, one day after saying No. 2 pick Nolan Patrick has had a second abdominal surgery.

The Flyers agreed to terms on a $1.8 million, two-year deal with restricted free agent Mike Vecchione, who will count $900,000 against the salary cap each of the next two seasons.

Vecchione chose the Flyers as an undrafted free agent out of Union College and made his NHL debut late last season.

10:55 a.m.

The Florida Panthers have agreed on a one-year extension with defenseman Alex Petrovic.

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon says Petrovic ''is an important part of our young core and has taken great strides in his development over the past two seasons.''

Petrovic had one goal and 13 assists with the Panthers last season. He has appeared in 161 games, all with Florida.

The Panthers have prioritized keeping their defense mostly intact going into next season, something that Tallon and new Florida coach Bob Boughner have been in concert on since Boughner was hired last month.

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10:50 a.m.

Before the start of free agency, several teams took care of re-signing their own players. The Toronto Maple Leafs re-upped goaltenders Curtis McIlhenney and Garret Sparks for two years.

McIlhenney's deal is worth a salary-cap hit of $850,000 per season and Sparks' is worth $675,000.

10:30 a.m.

Though not a free agent, Ilya Kovalchuk has taken one step closer to returning to the NHL after spending the previous four seasons playing in his native Russia.

The start of the league's new business year at noon Saturday places the Devils in a position to sign Kovalchuk to have him either stay in New Jersey or - more likely - trade him to another team. The Devils own the rights to the 2001 No. 1 draft pick after Kovalchuk left the team to play in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Since expressing an intention to return to North America in May, Kovalchuk has had the Devils' permission to meet with teams and negotiate the framework of a contract. New Jersey would then have to sign Kovalchuk to the agreed upon deal and negotiate a trade with the team.

Devils GM Ray Shero has previously said he's keeping all of his options open regarding the 34-year-old Kovalchuk, who was a nine-time 30-goal scorer in 11 NHL season

The expectation is for Kovalchuk to narrow his options based on what teams might be the best fit for him following the first few days of free agency.

 

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