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FHN Today: Johnny Gaudreau, Blue Jackets headline early free agency

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Columbus Blue Jackets

The fireworks have gone off — or I guess, the cannon since we are talking about the Columbus Blue Jackets.

After it seemed like Johnny Gaudreau’s free agency decision seemed like it was down to the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils a third party decided to swoop in.

And no, it was not his childhood favorite Philadelphia Flyers either.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen swooped in and gave Gaudreau a sales pitch he could not refuse and he took it.

When it seemed like Gaudreau was looking to go to a team close to his hometown in South Jersey, he opted to land in Columbus — a six-and-a-half-hour drive away –and inked a seven-year deal with a $9.75 million cap hit.

The hockey world dogpiled on the city of Columbus after the decision, but from what GR told me, it’s a nice place…

The Devils ended up pivoting to signing Lightning forward Ondrej Palat while the Islanders have yet to make a move so far.

With names like Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel still available, they still have more options to pursue.

With that being said, here is everything you need to know about the 2022 NHL Free Agency period.

Pantherland

After failing to create cap room, the Panthers were not left with much room to operate during free agency.

In the end, the Panthers ended up losing all of their pending unrestricted free agents and brought in Rudolfs Balcers, Collin White, Nick Cousins, two Staal brothers, and Alex Lyon.

Andrew Brunette also left the Panthers organization to become an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils

Claude Giroux left Florida and signed a three-year deal with a $6.5 million cap hit with the Ottawa Senators.

— Panthers breakout star Mason Marchment signed a four-year deal worth $4.5 million annually with the Dallas Stars.

— Florida trade deadline pickup Ben Chiarot headed to Detroit on a four-year deal.

Chase Priskie signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres.

Around The NHL

Before the Blue Jackets landed Gaudreau, the Carolina Hurricanes made the biggest splashes of the day.

Taking advantage of the cap situations of the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights, they landed Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty via trade for the combined cost of two prospects and a third-round pick.

The Washington Capitals also revamped their goaltending, adding 2022 Cup Champion Darcy Kuemper to be their starter.

Here are some of the biggest free-agent signings around the NHL.

The signings listed were those made after the free-agency period opened on July 13, as of the publication of this article.

ANAHEIM DUCKS: Frank Vatrano, Ryan Strome

ARIZONA COYOTES: Nick Bjugstad, Bokondji Imama, Jon Gillies, Troy Stetcher, Laurent Dauphin, Josh Brown

BOSTON BRUINS: Daniel Renouf, Keith Kinkaid, AJ Greer, Connor Carrick, Vinni Lettieri

Bruins acquire Pavel Zacha from the Devils for Erik Haula via trade

BUFFALO SABRES: Jeremy Davies, Ilya Lybushkin, Victor Olofsson, Chase Priskie, Eric Comrie, Kale Clague

CALGARY FLAMES: Ondrej Kase

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: Colin Blackwell, Alex Stalock, Brett Seney, Luke Philp, Andreas Athanasiou, Max Domi

COLORADO AVALANCHE: Spencer Smallman, Josh Jacobs, Darren Helm, Josh Manson, Jonas Johansson, Charles Hudon, Andreas Englund, Artturi Lehkonen

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: Johnny Gaudreau, Denton Mateychuk, David Jiricek, Erik Gudbransson

DALLAS STARS: Collin Miller, Mason Marchment

DETROIT RED WINGS: Mark Pysyk, Andrew Copp, Dominik Kubalik, David Perron, Marco Kasper, Ben Chiarot, Austin Czarnik, Matt Luff, Olli Maatta

EDMONTON OILERS: Brett Kulak, Jack Campbell, Calvin Pickard, Gregg McKegg, Evander Kane, Brad Malone

FLORIDA PANTHERS: Rudolfs Balcers, Anthony Bitetto, Nathan Staios, Nick Cousins, Alex Lyon, Colin White, Marc Staal, Eric Staal (PTO)

LOS ANGELES KINGS: Brendan Lemieux, Pheonix Copley, Tobie Paquette-Bisson

MINNESOTA WILD: Andrej Sustr, Nicolas Petan, Brandon Baddock, Steven Fogarty

MONTREAL CANADIENS: Juraj Slafkovsky, Anthony Richard, Joel Teasdale, Mitchell Stephens, Nathan Schnarr, Alex Belzile, Madison Bowey

NASHVILLE PREDATORS: N/A

NEW JERSEY DEVILS: Ondrej Palat, Jack Dugan, Tyler Wotherspoon, Brendan Smith, Brian Pinho

NEW YORK ISLANDERS: N/A

NEW YORK RANGERS: Ryan Carpenter, Vincent Trocheck, Jaroslav Halak, Andy Welinski, Louis Domingue

OTTAWA SENATORS: Claude Giroux, Kristians Rubins, Jacob Lucchini, Scott Sabourin

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: Kevin Connauton, Cooper Marody, Troy Grosenick, Adam Brooks, Louis Belpedio, Justin Braun, Nicolas Deslauriers

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: Josh Archibald, Jan Rutta, Dustin Tokarski, Xavier Ouellet, Drake Caggiula

— BIG NEWS: Penguins lock up Evgeni Malkin just before free agency opens

SAN JOSE SHARKS: Oskar Lindblom, Nico Sturm

SEATTLE KRAKEN: Magnus Hellberg, Brogan Rafferty, Jacob Melanson, Ryan Winterton, Martin Jones, Justin Schultz, Jesper Froden, Shane Wright, Andre Burakovsky, Andrew Poturalski

ST. LOUIS BLUES: Thomas Greiss, Noel Acciari, Will Bitten, Nick Leddy

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: Ian Cole, Vladislav Namestnikov

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: Dennis Hildeby, Ilya Samsonov, Adam Gaudette, Denis Malgin, Nicolas Aube-Kubel

VANCOUVER CANUCKS: Andrei Kuzmenko, Curtis Lazar, Wyatt Kalynuk, Collin Delia, Philip Di Giuseppe, Dakota Joshua, Ilya Mikheyev

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS: Jonas Rondbjerg, Reilly Smith, Brett Howden, Byron Froese, Sheldon Rempal, Micheal Hutchinson

WASHINGTON CAPITALS: Darcy Kuemper, Charlie Lindgren, Erik Gustafsson, Marcus Johansson

WINNIPEG JETS: Kevin Stenlund, David Rittich

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