HomeSportsNHL free agency: Avalanche, Lightning make flurry of signings

NHL free agency: Avalanche, Lightning make flurry of signings


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The recent Stanley Cup winners spent the first day of NHL free agency re-signing key players to long-term contracts.

The NHL champion Colorado Avalanche brought back great defender Josh Manson and the team they beat in the finals, the Tampa Bay Lightning, extended center Anthony Cirelli and defensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak for eight years each. The St. Louis Blues kept Nick Leddy for four more years and extended talented forward Robert Thomas through 2031.

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Colorado Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson raises the Stanley Cup during a rally in front of the city/county building for the NHL hockey champions after a parade through the streets of downtown Denver, Thursday, June 30, 2022.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Manson received $18 million on a four-year deal that counts $4.5 million against the salary cap.

Acquiring the 6-foot-3, 218-pound defenseman at the deadline was one of several moves that helped Colorado win the Cup for the first time since 2001. He and the Avalanche had eight points to go along with some key hits in 20 games of playoffs.

Tampa Bay, which lost in the final after back-to-back Cup wins, signed Sergachev for $68 million, Cirelli for $50 million and Cernak for $41.6 million, all through 2031. General manager Julien BriseBois said they were his priority when he traded veteran Ryan McDonagh to Nashville earlier this month.

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Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) works the puck off the ice against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Denver.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) works the puck off the ice against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Denver.
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

St. Louis, which won the Cup in 2019 and has renewed its blue line ever since, re-signed Leddy for $16 million over four years. The Blues got Leddy from Detroit at the deadline and plugged him into a unit that has gotten faster and more skilled since he won a championship three years ago.

The Blues signed Thomas, who just turned 23, to a $65 million contract extension that carries a salary cap of $8.125 million.

MORE LIGHTNING MOVEMENTS

The Eastern Conference champions also added defenseman Ian Cole and brought in winger Vladislav Namestnikov on one-year contracts. Cole signed for $3 million and Namestnikov $2.5 million.

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Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev celebrates his goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Denver.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev celebrates his goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Denver.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Along with Philippe Myers, Cole should help fill the void left by the McDonagh trade and the expected departure of Jan Rutta. The veteran left-handed defender won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017 and played last year with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Namestnikov has bounced around the league with five different teams since his first season with Tampa Bay. He was with the Lightning when they reached the Cup final in 2015.



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