The big fish in the free agent pool was lured from Dallas to Broadway by a nine-year, $58.5 million contract and the chance to reunite with coach John Tortorella, with whom he won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004. Richards, 31, is a topflight playmaker and powerplay quarterback who is expected to jumpstart sniper Marian Gaborik on a high-octane first line.
2 of 21Stephen Dunn/Getty Images/Tom Szczerbowski/US Presswire
One of the most shocking moves of the offseason was the June trade that sent the Flyers captain to the Kings for forwards Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a 2012 second-round pick. Richards departed Philadelphia under a cloud of allegations about late-night partying affecting his play after signing a 12-year deal with Philadelphia in 2007, but the Kings are confident the two-time 30-goal scorer, who is plus-39 for his six-year NHL career, will juice their offense. "We felt at this stage of the franchise it was time to make a significant move for an impact player," Kings GM Dean Lombardi said in a statement. "Mike Richards is not only one of the top players in the league, he's also universally recognized as one of the finer leaders in the game and one of its elite competitors. Additionally, given that he's only 26-years-old and he's on a long-term contract, he fits our plan now and for the long-term future."
3 of 21Bill Streicher/Rich Kane/Icon SMI
Long bedeviled by less-than-championship-quality goaltending, the Flyers hope they've found the answer in Bryzgalov, a dependable 31-year-old veteran who signed a nine-year, $51 million deal after being widely credited with helping the underdog Coyotes reach the playoffs two seasons in a row.
4 of 21Rob Grabowski/US Presswire/Gene J. Puskar/AP
Still seeking a Stanley Cup-caliber netminder, the Caps invested one year and $1.5 million in the 35-year-old veteran, who's spent the last four years of his 12-season NHL career laboring to make the woeful Florida Panthers respectable. Vokoun is expected to start while competing with youngsters Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby. "We're always going to play who we think is the best," coach Bruce Boudreau told the Washington Post . "But if you've got to give Vokoun the respect that he's coming in and he's going to be the number one guy. We'll see where it goes from there."
5 of 21Jack Dempsey/AP/James Guillory/US Presswire
One of the most intriguing offseason acquisitions, the Avalanche traded their 2012 first-round pick -- a potential lottery choice given their outlook for the season -- and a second-rounder in either 2012 or 2013 to Washington for the young Russian netminder. Varlamov, who impressed with the Capitals during the 2009 playoffs, was 11-9-5 with a 2.23 goals-against average for them last season. ''In Semyon Varlamov we are acquiring a highly touted NHL goaltender,'' Avs GM Greg Sherman told AP. ''At 23 years old, he is regarded as a solid and talented netminder by our staff. We definitely feel we have addressed our top priority this offseason and for many years to come.''
6 of 21Kelley L. Cox/US Presswire/Alex Gallardo/AP
After yet another postseason disappointment, the Sharks shook up their roster by acquiring the All-Star blueliner from Minnesota for forward Devin Setoguchi, prospect Charlie Coyle, and a first-round pick in the 2011 draft. Burns is coming off career-high totals in goals (17), assists (29) and points (46) and is expected to bring leadership and a solid two-way game to San Jose.
7 of 21Wilfredo Lee/AP/Jason O. Watson/US Presswire
Panthers GM Dale Tallon's Chicago connection (he's credited with helping build the Blackhawks' 2009-10 Stanley Cup championship team) convinced the veteran puck-moving blueliner to waive his no-trade clause. The deal sent Campbell, 32, and the remaining five years of his huge contract ($7.1 million per) to the rebuilding Panthers for winger Rotislav Olesz. "I brought Soupy into Chicago and he's willing to come down to help us turn this franchise around and that speaks volumes,'' Tallon told the Palm Beach Post . "He brings us credibility.''
8 of 21Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images/Jeff Conner/Icon SMI
The Kings added firepower by signing the seven-time 20-plus goal-scorer to a two-year, $7 million deal with the hope that his familiarity with former Flyer teammate Mike Richards will help them create a potent new line. Gagne and Richards were key figures on the Philadelphia team that reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.
9 of 21Tom Olmscheid/AP/Jay Kopinski/Icon SMI
Looking to shed their longtime image as a deathly dull trapping team that scores almost by accident, the Wild traded right winger Martin Havlat to San Jose for Heatley, 30, a top regular-season sniper who has a reputation for vanishing in the playoffs. Heatley's acquisition came less than two weeks after the Wild acquired his former Sharks teammate Devin Setoguchi and prospect Charlie Coyle from San Jose in a trade for defenseman Brent Burns. Of concern: Heatley's 2010-11 season was a decidedly down campaign for him: only 26 goals and 64 points in 80 games.
10 of 21Christopher Szagola/US Presswire/Jessica Cotsonas/Zuma Press
Once one of the NHL's premiere scorers, Jagr, 39, returned to the NHL after three seasons in Russia's KHL by signing a surprise one-year deal with Philadelphia worth $3.3 million. "Jaromir Jagr is one of the better players at the cycle game that there is in the game," said Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, who gave his team a dramatic offseason makeover by trading stalwart forwards Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, acquiring goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and assigning the captaincy to defenseman Chris Pronger. "He's a big, strong guy who can really control the puck in the offensive zone, and he's a big body in front of the net, too." The question is, how much does Jagr have left?
11 of 21Andy Mead/Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI
After winning the Stanley Cup with the Bruins, the veteran blueliner, 33, grabbed a three-year deal with the 'Canes worth $12.75 million. "Tomas is one of the top puck-moving defensemen in the NHL and a power-play specialist," said Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford in a statement. The 'Canes hope that Kaberle regains his form after struggling at times in Boston: one goal and eight assists in 24 regular-season games after being traded by Toronto, and 11 assists in 25 playoff games despite a diminished role.
12 of 21Terry Gilliam/AP, Lou Capozzola (inset)
Shake-ups in Philadelphia and Columbus brought the six-year Flyers pivot and his 11-year, $58 million contract to the Blue Jackets where he will team with sniper Rick Nash on the first line. Giving up young forward Jakob Voracek and 2011 first- and third-round picks, the Jackets hoped the trade would inject some excitement into their fan base. "Anytime a franchise acquires a player of this status it energizes the franchise," said Jackets GM Scott Howson. Carter scored 36 goals for the Flyers while leading them in game-winning and power play tallies last season and was a key member of their team that reached the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.
13 of 21Jean-Yves Ahern/US Presswire/Jeff Roberson/AP
Terry Pegula, the Sabres' deep-pocketed new owner, has vowed to spend whatever it takes to bring the Stanley Cup to Buffalo, and one of the first pieces of evidence is the10-year, $40 million deal he gave this blueliner who skated in the final for Vancouver last season. About to become an unrestricted free agent, Ehrhoff was traded by the Canucks to the New York Islanders, but turned down a six-year, $30 million deal. The Isles then dealt him to Buffalo. "I was originally going to wait and see what was available on the free agent market," Ehrhoff said in a team release. "After the Sabres acquired my rights and I spoke with Terry Pegula and (GM) Darcy Regier, I did my due diligence on the team and I was very impressed."
14 of 21John E. Sokolowski/US Presswire/Chris Schneider/AP
Needing a puck-moving backliner to key the power play after the departure of Tomas Kaberle to Boston last season, the Leafs swung a June trade with Colorado for seven-year veteran Liles, 30, who scored six goals and 46 points in 2010-11. (The Leafs gave up a 2012 second-round pick.)
15 of 21David Stobbe/Reuters/Timothy T. Ludwig/US Presswire
Four years after his tearful departure from Edmonton via a deadline trade to the New York Islanders, the heart-and-soul forward -- a central figure in the Oilers' surprise run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final -- returned in June when he was traded by the LA Kings for center Colin Fraser and a 2012 seventh-round pick. Smyth, 35, who appeared in 82 games last season for LA, scoring 23 goals and 47 points, brings much-needed veteran leadership to the young Oilers.
16 of 21Andrew Dieb/Zuma Press/David Zalubowski/AP
Once one of the league's premier offensive defensemen, Souray, 35, spent a lost 2010-11 season in Hershey of the AHL before being placed on unconditional waivers by the Oilers. The Stars snapped him up with a one-year deal worth $1.65 million, their hope being that he can generate some scoring to help replace the departed Brad Richards and add some experience and physicality to their blueline mix. "I feel great," he told ESPN. "I've had a tough couple of years as far as injuries, but it was nice to have a long summer this year and put the pieces back together. I feel better than I have in four or five years. I'm looking forward to starting the season healthy and ahead of the eight-ball."
17 of 21Alan Diaz/AP/Ron Chenoy/US Presswire
After losing netminder Tomas Vokoun to the Capitals via free agency, the Panthers gave Theodore a two-year, $3 million deal. Known mainly for failing to live up to the promise shown by his Vezina- and Hart Trophy-winning campaign with Montreal in 2001-02, the journeyman netminder (he's now with his fifth NHL team) played well in the backup role for Minnesota last season.
18 of 21John E. Sokolowski/US Presswire/Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI
Though his career has been marred by injuries, the Leafs are gambling $9.5 million over two years that the veteran pivot will click on their top line with star winger Phil Kessel. Connolly, 30, scored 13 goals and 42 points in 62 games for the Sabres last season, but Buffalo did not make him an offer to return.
19 of 21Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI/Tom Szczerbowski/US Presswire
Looking for more offense, the Canadiens signed Cole to a four-year, $18 million deal, but have to hope that the 32-year-old winger can produce for a team other than Carolina. The long-time Hurricane, who scored 26 goals and 52 points for the 'Canes last season, was a disappointment for Edmonton in 2008-09, the only campaign of his 10-year NHL career that he hasn't played in Carolina.
20 of 21Ron Chenoy/Luc Leclerc/US Presswire
After a disappointing season in Toronto, the 2003 Conn Smythe-winner (as an Anaheim Duck) will try to revive his career in Colorado, where he received a two-year deal worth $2.5 million to help stabilize the young Avs' netminding situation as a reliable, veteran backup to Semyon Varlamov. Giguere, 34, has a career record of 231-195-67 with a 2.53 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and 34 shutouts. His 231 wins rank ninth among active goaltenders.
21 of 21Matt Kartozian/US Presswire/Chris O'Meara/AP
The departure of cornerstone netminder Ilya Bryzgalov to Philadelphia left the Coyotes scrambling to find a reliable starting goaltender. Their solution was to reunite Smith via a two-year, $4 million deal, with Dave Tippett, his former coach in Dallas. The 2001 fifth-round pick spent last season as backup in Tampa Bay where a demotion to the AHL steeled his resolve. "Mad is a nice way to put it," Smith told The Arizona Republic. "Obviously, feeling like you can be an NHL goaltender and getting sent to the minors and having to play some games down there, it was a frustrating time. But there's two ways to look at it -- you can give up, say you're never gonna play again or you can buckle in and work really hard and play well down there, and when you do get another chance take advantage of that."
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