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Ranking the Canadian Teams by Their 2020 NHL Free Agency Moves

Of the seven Canadian teams, which did the best in 2020 NHL free agency and who did the worst?

This year’s NHL free agency looks a lot different from previous years. In this article, we take a look at how this uniquely odd open market impacted the Canadian teams. Most teams made moves and one team made a lot of them. We’ll order the most impactful by ranking their free agency moves from best to worst.

With news the NHL might be looking at an all-Canadian division next season, what these teams did/will do in the offseason could wind up being critical decisions since they’ll be playing each other an awful lot.

No. 1. Montreal Canadiens

Re-signings:

  • F Jake Evans (2 years, $1.45m)
  • F Jake Lucchini (1 year, $700,000)
  • G Michael McNiven (1 year, $700,000)
  • D Victor Mete (1 year, $750,000)
  • D Xavier Ouellet (2 years, $1.475m)
  • D Jeff Petry (4 years, $25m)
  • F Lukas Vejdemo (1 year, $700,000)
  • F Brendan Gallagher (6 years, $6.5m)

Free Agent signings:

  • F Josh Anderson (acquired from CBJ and signed to 7 year, $38.5m contract)
  • F Brandon Baddock (1 year, $700,000)
  • F Joseph Blandisi (1 year, $700,000)
  • D Joel Edmundson (acquired from CAR and signed to 4 year $14m contract)
  • F Tyler Toffoli (4 year, $17m)
josh Anderson Canadiens

Remaining free agents: F Charles Hudon (RFA), D Christian Folin (UFA), and F Dale Weise (UFA).

The Canadiens’ main concern going into Free Agency was adding a top-six forward to the roster, which GM Marc Bergevin addressed twice by acquiring Josh Anderson and signing Tyler Toffoli.

They have also bolstered their defense by re-signing Jeff Petry and acquiring Joel Edmundson.

With the additions of Anderson, Edmundson, and Toffoli the Canadiens have greatly improved the team at both the offensive and defensive positions.

Related: Montreal Canadiens News & Rumors: Gallagher, Allen, Toffoli & More

2. Calgary Flames:

Re-signings:

  • F Byron Froese (2 years, $1.45m),
  • F Justin Kirkland (1 year, $700,000), and
  • F Zac Rinaldo (1 year, $700,000)

Free Agent signings:

  • G Louis Domingue (1 year, $700,000)
  • G Jacob Markstrom (6 years, $36m)
  • D Chris Tanev (4 years $18m)

Remaining Free agents: F Glenn Gawdin (RFA), D Travis Hamonic (UFA), D Oliver Kylington (RFA), F Andrew Mangiapane (RFA), G Tyler Parsons (RFA), and D Michael Stone (UFA).

The Flames instantly made themselves better with the signings of goaltender Jacob Markstrom and defenseman Chris Tanev. Markstrom went 23-16-4 with a 2.75 GAA and .918 sv% in 43 games played with the Vancouver Canucks and is an ’19-20 an improvement over Cam Talbot who went 12-10-3 with a 2.63 GAA and.919 sv% in 26 games played. Tanev patches the hole left in their defense by the signing of T.J. Brodie in Toronto.

3. Toronto Maple Leafs:

Re-signings:

  • F Denis Malgin (1 year, $700,000)
  • F Jason Spezza (1 year, $700,000)

Free Agent signings:

  • D Zach Bogosian (1 year, $1m)
  • F Travis Boyd (1 year, $700,000)
  • D T.J. Brodie (4 years, $20m)
  • G Aaron Dell (1 year, $800,000)
  • F Wayne Simmonds (1 year, $1.5m)
  • F Jimmy Vesey (1 year $900,000)

Remaining Free agents: F Jeremy Bracco (UFA), D Cody Ceci (UFA), D Travis Dermott (RFA), F Tyler Gaudet (UFA), F Frederik Gauthier (UFA), D Kevin Gravel (UFA), F Ilya Mikheyev (RFA), F Garrett Wilson (UFA)

Wayne Simmonds Maple Leafs
Wayne Simmonds Maple Leafs

When Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas addressed the media prior to the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, he stated his desire to make the team tougher and by signing Wayne Simmonds he achieved that goal.

Another area of concern leading into the offseason was the need for a top-four right shot defenseman which he addressed with the addition of T.J. Brodie from the Calgary Flames. To increase their depth on defense, Dubas signed veteran D-man Zach Bogosian to a one-year $1.5 million dollar contract.

It looks like Dubas has addressed all of his team’s needs and can now focus on re-signing his remaining free agents.

4. Edmonton Oilers

Re-signings:

  • F Tyler Ennis (1 year, $1m)
  • F Jesse Puljujarvi (2 years, $2.35m)
  • G Mike Smith (1 year, $2m)

Free Agent signings:

  • D Tyson Barrie (1 year, $3.75m)
  • F Adam Cracknell (1 year, $700,000
  • G Anton Forsberg (1 year, $700,000)
  • F Alan Quine (1 year, $700,000)
  • F Kyle Turris (2 years, $3.3m)

Remaining Free Agents: F Andreas Athanasiou (UFA), D Ethan Bear (RFA), F Markus Granlund (UFA), D William Lagesson, (RFA), and F Riley Sheahan (UFA).

The Oilers main objectives going into free agency were to sign a 3rd line center, a top-six winger, a goaltender, and a top offensive defenseman. They took care of the 3rd line center position by signing veteran forward Kyle Turris to a two-year $3.3 million dollar contract. They then agreed to a two-year $2.35 million dollar contract with F Jesse Puljujarvi, who they have been in a dispute with the last couple of years. He’s recently been playing with Karpat of Liga the top professional league in Finland and if he develops as hoped, could play in the top six.

Edmonton also addressed the situation on defense by signing Tyson Barrie to a one-year $3.75 million dollar contract. The only area they didn’t upgrade was goaltending, as they chose to stick with 38-year-old Mike Smith. Their attempts to land either Braden Holtby or Jacob Markstrom were unsuccessful.

5. Vancouver Canucks:

Re-signings:

  • F Zack MacEwen (2 year, $1.65m)
  • D Tyler Motte (2 years,$2.45m)
  • F Ashton Sautner (1 year,$700,000)

Free Agent Signings:

G Braden Holtby (2 years, $8.6 million)

Remaining Free Agents: D Jalen Chatfield (RFA), D Oscar Fantenberg (UFA), F Adam Gaudette (RFA), F Nikolay Goldobin (RFA), F Josh Leivo (UFA), and F Jake Virtanen (RFA).

While Canucks GM Jim Benning hasn’t done much during this free agency period, he did improve their goaltending with the signing of Braden Holtby from the Washington Capitals. The team added Nate Schmidt via trade which was key, and there’s talk they could be in on more moves.

Related: Senators Sign Evgenii Dadonov to 3-Yr Deal in NHL Free Agency 2020

6. Ottawa Senators:

Re-signings:

  • F Nic Paul (2 years, $2.7m)
  • F Matthew Peca (1 year, $700,000).

Free Agent Signings:

  • D Josh Brown (acquired from FLA and signed to 2 year, $2.4m contract)
  • G Matt Murray (acquired from PIT and signed to 4 year, $25m contract)
  • F Logan Shaw (2 years $1.425m)
  • F Evgenii Dadonov (3 years, $5m)

Remaining Free Agents: F Rudolfs Balcers (RFA), F Mikkel Boedker (UFA), F Connor Brown (RFA), F Filip Chlapik (RFA), F Anthony Duclair (UFA), D Ron Hainsey (UFA), F Jayce Hawryluk (UFA), and F Chris Tierney (RFA).

Like the Oilers, the Senators have taken steps to improve their offense and defense, but not giant ones. They did bolster their goaltending by signing Matt Murray to a Four-year $25 million dollar contract after acquiring him from the Pittsburgh Penguins and they added Engevii Dadononv on a three-year deal Thursday morning.

7. Winnipeg Jets

Re-signings:

  • F Mason Appleton (2 year, $1.8m)
  • D Nathan Beaulieu (2 year, $2.5m)
  • G Laurent Brossoit (1 year $1.5m)
  • D Nelson Nogier (2 year $1.45m)
  • D Luca Sbisa (1 year, $800,000)
  • F C.J. Suess (2 year, $1.45m).

Free Agent Signings:

  • D Derek Forbort (1 year, $1m)
  • D Nate Thompson (1 year, $750,000)
  • F Dominic Toninato (1 year, $700,000)
Paul Stastny Winnipeg Jets

Remaining Free Agents: F Jansen Harkins (RFA), D Dmitry Kulikov (UFA), F Mark Letestu (UFA), F J.C. Lipon (RFA), D Sami Niku (RFA), F Jack Roslovic (RFA), D Cameron Schilling (UFA), and F Nick Shore (UFA).

The Winnipeg Jets come in last in our rankings because, other than trading for Paul Stastny the evening before the free agency period opened, they haven’t made any impactful moves to improve their team.

Next: Canadian Division in the NHL Confirmed by Vegas Owner?

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