The madness of NHL Free Agency Frenzy is gone as the NHL Offseason has hit its dog days. Signings are slowly trickling in each day. There are still notable UFAs out there that may have to settle for PTOs once training camp starts. While notable RFAs are getting deals done before their arbitration hearings.
Right after the NHL Trade Deadline, we here at NHLRumors.com looked at the most impactful moves from both the Eastern and Western Conferences. Our new series will look at the best signings from this year’s NHL Free Agency Class.
Again, NHL Free Agency is so hit or miss because GMs tend to make a lot of mistakes on July 1st. But there will be time to dissect those another time.
Anyway, it is time to reveal some of our best signings from NHL Free Agency from the Western Conference.
Western Conference NHL Free Agency Best Signings
Ivan Barbashev – F – Vegas Golden Knights
One of the best signings in the Western Conference this free agency period belongs to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas was able to re-sign Ivan Barbashev to a five-year contract worth $25 million. That is an annual average value of $5 million.
Barbashev was acquired from the Blues in a trade at the deadline and made an impact right away. His presence was felt mostly in the playoffs. He recorded 18 points (seven goals and 11 assists) in 22 playoff games playing alongside Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault en route to Vegas’s first Stanley Cup and his second.
Vegas knew what he brought to the lineup and as documented here on NHLRumors.com Vegas was going to do everything in their power to keep him. They did on Day 1 of the NHL Draft. Keeping Barbashev makes Vegas a Stanley Cup contender for a long time.
Ryan O’Reilly and Luke Schenn – D – Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators made some bolds move to start the offseason as Barry Trotz took over as general manager. He is reshaping the Predators in his vision by making tough decisions and trying to keep the team competitive.
Bringing in Ryan O’Reilly and Luke Schenn are excellent additions to the Predators roster. Both have won Stanley Cups and bring leadership necessary to win. Not to mention both guys are good for the locker room. O’Reilly is still a top center in the league and Schenn is an excellent defenseman paired with the right player.
O’Reilly had 30 points (14 goals and 16 assists) between the Blues and Maple Leafs last season. His four-year deal at $4.5 million is a solid deal for both sides. Not to mention he will be a good leader for the younger players coming up.
Schenn signed a three-year deal at $2.75 million a season. He split time between the Vancouver Canucks and Maple Leafs last season. He is just a solid defenseman. He will not put up the points but is excellent in his own zone.
Matt Duchene – F – Dallas Stars
People will wonder why Matt Duchene is on this list. After being bought out by the Predators, the Dallas Stars signed him to a one-year deal at $3 million.
Dallas is looking for more offense this season. Duchene can still play in the league, but he just did not fit the direction of the Predators anymore. Stars GM Jim Nill is betting on Duchene to be the guy he was a couple of seasons ago. Duchene is betting on himself with the one-year deal.
Last season in 70 games with the Predaotrs, Duchene recorded 56 points (22 goals, 34 assists). Year before he had 86 points (43 goals and 43 assists) in 78 games. If he hits between 20 and 30 goals this season, this becomes even better.
Honorable Mention Move Of Free Agency
Jason Zucker – F – Arizona Coyotes
Going through the free agent list one name stands out and that is Jason Zucker. Like Duchene, Zucker is betting on himself signing a one-year worth $5.3 million with the Arizona Coyotes.
His veteran presence will add stability to a young team. Last season, Zucker had a bounce back year recording 48 points (27 goals and 21 assists) in 78 games with the Penguins. This was after having injuries the prior two seasons.
He is a consistent 20-goal scorer and if he does well could see himself signing a bigger deal with a contender when the cap goes up next season.
Sometimes there are gems and with a lot of one-year deals being thrown out, Zucker’s name is one of them.
We all know NHL Free Agency is hit or miss. Sometimes these contracts work out and other times teams regret it right away. And again like the NHL Trade Deadline we saw a lot of the bigger names go to the Eastern Conference in free agency.
But as we just went through the Western Conference did have it share of big signings this free agency period.