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The Rangers get Trochek, the Senators disembark Giroux

On a hectic afternoon as Claude Giroux looked to return home to Ottawa, the Washington Capitals got Stanley Cup top scorer Darcy Kuemper and the New York Rangers spent a lot on center Vincent Trocheck’s Jaromir Jagr. – he even wondered if he could get into the action.

In a message to the NHL GMs activated TwitterJagr wrote that he’s a little slow at 50 but that he has strong hands, before closing his note with “Call me anytime,” followed by a winking emoji.

With all the moves and all the money thrown around Wednesday in the free agency’s opening hours, it would be hard to blame Jagr for joking about the possibility of returning for an NHL No. 25 season.

The slight increase of $ 1 million from the NHL salary cap to $ 82.5 million, coupled with numerous teams ruling out or buying contracts to free up payroll space, led to an acceleration of action once teams were able to start signing players.

Announcement

“It was a bit expected because the teams had time to recover from the COVID pandemic,” said defender Ben Chiarot, who signed a four-year, $ 19 million contract with Detroit. “The players thought it would be better than in recent years because the teams are running at a normal pace.”

The Red Wings were among the busiest teams in an attempt by general manager Steve Yzerman to end a six-year playoff drought. Detroit also signed center-back Andrew Copp on a five-year, $ 28,125 contract and left-back Dominik Kubalik for $ 5 million in two years.

Washington general manager Brian MacLellan paid special attention to the fact that the Red Wings were one of the teams with cover space that took advantage of it.

“Detroit was very busy,” MacLellan said with a laugh. “It was really fast. I think you add another team and you have 32 teams competing for youngsters. It’s a competitive environment.”

The Capitals signed Kuemper on a five-year contract for $ 26.25 million. Kuemper, who had 37 wins in his career last season, takes over after the Capitals went from llya Samsonov to not issuing him a qualifying offer and swapping Vitek Vanecek for New Jersey.

Announcement

Colorado also fired striker Andre Burakovsky, who signed a $ 27.5 million contract with the Seattle Kraken. Defending champions have re-signed striker Artturi Lehkonen and defender Josh Manson for long-term contracts.

Despite all the moves, much of the focus remained on where the prized winger Johnny Gaudreau could land, on a day that also included a major exchange involving defender Brent Burns. The 2017 Norris Trophy winner heads to the Carolina Hurricanes with San Jose Sharks forward Lane Pederson for two players and a 2023 third-round pick.

Announcement

In addition to Gaudreau, who refused to sign again with Calgary, Colorado’s Nazem Kadri and the main available defender, John Klingberg, were still available for Wednesday night.

Giroux’s signing in Ottawa is expected: General Manager Pierre Dorion joked that he couldn’t escape Senators’ fans who asked, “When are you going to sign Claude?” Giroux, who played his junior hockey on the other side of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, signed a three-year contract for $ 19.5 million.

Giroux, 34, brings veteran leadership to the Ottawa youth mix. He spent his first more than 14 seasons in Philadelphia, where he was the captain of the Flyers, before being transferred to Florida in March.

“I wouldn’t have signed here if I didn’t think we had a chance to win the Cup,” Giroux said. “I’m not saying we’re going to win the Cup this year, but the plan is to build on it and take steps to do that.”

Trocheck signed a seven-year contract for $ 39.375 million with the Rangers after Copp left. The 29-year-old Trocheck has nine seasons of NHL experience, including more than two years in Carolina, where he had 39 goals and 96 points in 135 games with the Hurricanes.

Announcement

Trocheck meets with Rangers coach Gerard Gallant after the two were together in Florida.

“This was one of the few teams we really looked at and thought fit well. So upon entering, we knew New York was probably our number one choice,” he said.

In addition to Kuemper, the low-season goalie carousel saw Jack Campbell leave Toronto for a five-year, $ 25 million contract with Edmonton. Campbell entered after a season in which he had record wins with a record of 31-9-6, five whites and 47 starts.

The Oilers are re-equipping themselves after veteran Mike Smith’s inconsistencies in the playoffs contributed to the Oilers being outscored 22-13 in a Colorado sweep in the Western Conference Finals.

Elsewhere:

– The Chicago Blackhawks have finally started adding players by signing six players, including forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Max Domi, with one-year, $ 3 million contracts. The Blackhawks are in the midst of rebuilding after moving center Kirby Dach to Montreal and striker Alex DeBrincat to Ottawa and seeing striker Dominik Kubalik march to Detroit.

Announcement

– The Buffalo Sabers added experienced goalkeeper depth by signing Eric Comrie on a two-year contract. The former Winnipeg substitute will be in the mix to compete for playing time with veteran Craig Anderson and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Buffalo also locked up one of his best offensive players by agreeing to re-sign Victor Olofsson on a two-year, $ 9.5 million contract. Olofsson, who turns 26 next week, was a restricted free agent and scored 20 goals and 49 points, the best of his career last season.

– The New Jersey Devils traded striker Pavel Zacha to Boston for center Erik Haula. The move balances the Devils ’lineup with New Jersey in the mix to land Gaudreau.

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AP hockey writer Larry Lage and freelance AP writer Denis Gorman contributed.

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The Rangers get Trochek, the Senators disembark Giroux

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