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Grading each free agent acquisition

Updated: Jul 28, 2018

Who came out on top of the 2018 free agency?


John Tavares: Toronto Maple Leafs

seven year, $77 million

Grade: A

This deal makes up for Toronto losing so many key players in this free agency. Tavares is from Toronto, he wanted to play in Toronto, and he is going to thrive, as most likely the second line center.


Paul Stastny: Vegas Golden Knights

three year, $19.5 million

Grade: B-

There is a little too much hype around Paul Stastny. He hasn't scored 20 goals in a season in five years, and last year was his first 50 plus point season since 2013-14. He will replace James Neal though.


James Neal: Calgary Flames

five year, $28.75 million

Grade: B

Although Neal did prove himself a good leader last year with the Vegas Golden Knights, he was a shockingly low minus -11. He's still a good addition for a Flames team seeking leadership and someone playing along side Johnny Gaudreau.


James van Riemsdyk: Philadelphia Flyers

five year, $35 million

Grade: A+

This is a great move for Philly. Van Riemsdyk started off his career with the Flyers, and had a breakout season scoring wise last year. He led Toronto with 36 goals.


Tyler Bozak: St. Louis Blues

three year, $15 million

Grade: C

For the amount of money the Blues are paying him, Bozak must score many more than his eleven goals last year. St. Louis would have been better off trying to bring Paul Stastny back.


Riley Nash: Columbus Blue Jackets

three year, $8.5 million

Grade: A-

Riley Nash was very underrated in free agency. He had more goals than Tyler Bozak and just two less points, yet was paid nearly half as much. This is a steal for Columbus.


Leo Komarov: New York Islanders

four year, $12 million

Grade: D+

Considering that Komarov didn't even record 20 points last year, I don't think he's going to be the replacement for John Tavares. The Islanders should be trying to get younger, and not make ridiculous signings like this one.


Michael Grabner: Arizona Coyotes

three year, $10.05 million

Grade: B

Grabner is not going to become an All Star, but he is someone who could score 25 or possibly 30 goals along side Clayton Keller. Overall, this is a good addition for the Coyotes.


Tomas Plekanec: Montreal Canadiens

one year, 2.5 million

Grade: B-

Tomas Plekanec's days of scoring 60 points are over. Expect about half of that. But he's loved in Montreal, and his contract is pretty small.


Jack Johnson: Pittsburgh Penguins

five year, $16.5 million

Grade: B+

The Penguins just found another way to keep contending for Stanley Cups. Johnson is a solid defenseman, something that the penguins desperately needed.


Ilya Kovalchuk: Los Angeles Kings

three year, $18.5 million

Grade: B-

This one is kind of a shot in the dark, but if the Kings got a similar player to the old Ilya Kovalchuk, then this could be the steal of all of free agency. Before he left the NHL in 2013, he was a point per game player. But remember, that was a long time ago.


Chris Kunitz: Chicago Blackhawks

one year, $1 million

Grade: A-

Although Kunitz is a fine player, there is absolutely no purpose to this signing. The Blackhawks, as an aging team, just signed a 38 year old. Oy vey.


Jaroslav Halak: Boston Bruins

two year, $5.5 million

Grade: B-

This acquisition just doesn't make sense. Halak has the skill and pedigree to be a starting goalie, but the Bruins already have Tuukka Rask. Luckily it's not too much money.


Cam Ward: Chicago Blackhawks

one year, $3 million

Grade: C-

With Corey Crawford's health fading, Cam Ward might end up being the starting goalie in Chicago. That is not a good thing.


Robin Lehner: New York Islanders

one year, $1.5 million

Grade: A-

For a while the Islanders goaltending situation has been bleak. Although Lehner has potential, I think this is going to be another Islanders free agency bust.


Petr Mrazek: Carolina Hurricanes

one year, $1.5 million

Grade: B

If I were head coach Rod Brind'Amour, I would give Mrazek a chance to start ahead of Scott Darling. Mrazek is often flakey, but if he gets hot, Caroline could be tough to beat.


Jonathan Bernier: Detroit Red Wings

three year, $9 million

Grade: B-

With Jimmy Howard starting to fall apart, Bernier will most likely take over the starting role, but this move isn't addressing any longterm results.

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