Free-agency analysis: Breaking down Monday's signings and trades
Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Quick-hit analysis of important NHL signings and trades completed Monday, July 1, updating live as each transaction rolls in.

Trade: Avalanche send Tyson Barrie, Alex Kerfoot, 6th-rounder in 2020 to Maple Leafs for Nazem Kadri, Calle Rosen, 3rd-rounder in 2020 (COL retains 50% of Barrie's salary)
Analysis: Nothing like a blockbuster trade to cap off a hectic Canada Day, eh? At first glance, Toronto's second swap on July 1 looks like a massive win for Kyle Dubas. The Leafs GM managed to acquire a top-four defenseman, a versatile middle-six forward, and a late-round draft pick in exchange for his third-line center, seventh/eighth defenseman, and a mid-round draft pick. Also, the Avs are retaining $2.75 million of Barrie's $5.5-million salary for 2019-20. But then you remember Colorado GM Joe Sakic was set to lose Barrie to free agency next summer, is in desperate need of a player like Kadri, and can easily eat up that $2.75 million. OK, OK, the trade makes sense from both sides. The slight advantage still goes to the Leafs, though, because they now have $11 million in cap space and both Barrie and Kerfoot slide into their lineup seamlessly. Barrie could be paired with Jake Muzzin or Morgan Rielly on the first or second pair, and Kerfoot can take over Kadri's spot ahead of Jason Spezza on the depth chart. Some deft maneuvering by the Leafs, and the Avs are no slouch.

Signing: Islanders snag Semyon Varlamov (4 years, $20 million)
Analysis: The goalie carousel went round and round, finally stopping in New York for Varlamov. More will likely trickle out about the Lehner-Isles negotiations, but on its face, this Varlamov signing is out of left field. Why not offer four years to Lehner, a Vezina Trophy finalist who took a one-year deal in Chicago for the same money? Varlamov, 31, posted a .909 save percentage in 49 games last season and had a very strong 2017-18. He's a fine goalie, the timing is just odd. Newsday's Andrew Gross suggested Isles GM Lou Lamoriello possibly sees Varlamov as a bridge to his friend, Russian prospect Ilya Sorokin.

Signing: Hurricanes re-sign Petr Mrazek (2 years, $6.25 million)
Analysis: Following a highly successful platoon year with Curtis McElhinney, Mrazek is now the clear No. 1 goalie in Carolina. McElhinney signed with the Lightning and current Hurricanes backup James Reimer - acquired Sunday from Florida - is coming off a rough year. So, this is it: Show us what you've got, Mrazek. The 27-year-old Czech last had the net to himself in 2015-16 and 2016-17 in Detroit, posting save percentages of .921 and .901, respectively.

Signing: Blackhawks grab Robin Lehner (1 year, $5 million)
Analysis: This one's surprising on two fronts. First, because Lehner ended up in Chicago, where goalies Corey Crawford and Colin Delia are owed a combined $6 million for 2019-20. That's $11 million on netminders in a league with an $81.5-million salary cap. Something's got to give between the pipes, and maybe this move is connected to Crawford and/or Delia heading to LTIR. Secondly, the contract's only a year long. Lehner, who's spent time with three NHL organizations, is fresh off a season in which he won the Masterton Trophy and received a Vezina Trophy nomination. The hockey world assumed a multi-year deal was in the soon-to-be 28-year-old's future. It's a weird signing, but there's clearly more to the story.

Signing: Islanders re-sign Anders Lee (7 years, $49 million)
Analysis: It never really seemed like Lee was going anywhere. There was a report of the Isles not ponying up ahead of July 1, and the possibility of leaving Long Island existed, but the rumor mill never got moving too fast. Lee's the heartbeat of this team. And after the Isles lost the Artemi Panarin sweepstakes, there was no chance GM Lou Lamoriello was going to let the day pass without getting a commitment from the club's captain. Sure, the contract's an overpay - particularly when you place it next to Duchene's annual cap hit of $8 million - but it isn't egregious. If Lee, 28, continues to produce 50-60 points per year, $7 million is manageable. Here's hoping he ages well.

Signing: Avalanche pick up Joonas Donskoi (4 years, $15.6 million)
Analysis: Donskoi won't move the needle on his own, but the Finnish right winger does help bolster Colorado's top-nine forward crew. The Avs have ample star power, with Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and RFA Mikko Rantanen driving the bus, so these types of mid-level signings by GM Joe Sakic tend to fly under the radar. But they shouldn't. In order to transition from playoff team to contender, you need consistent depth players, and both term and money on this deal is fair. Donskoi's a great bet at $3.9 million a season.

Signing: Sebastian Aho signs offer sheet with Canadiens (5 years, $42.3 million)
Analysis: Finally, an offer sheet. Montreal GM Marc Bergevin pulled the trigger Monday afternoon on the elusive bargaining tactic, getting high-profile RFA Aho to sign a long-term deal that'll pay him $8.5 million annually. It was a ballsy move but might be a moot point soon, since the Hurricanes have seven days to match the bonus-heavy offer and retain Aho. Carolina GM Don Waddell indicated that's likely to happen, although there's always a chance ownership thinks otherwise. Acquiring a No. 1 center for a relatively small package - one first-round pick, one second, and one third - was apparently too appealing to pass up for Bergevin, who missed out on UFA Matt Duchene. The question is, did he put enough financial pressure on Carolina? Probably not.

Signing: Canucks snag Tyler Myers (5 years, $30 million)
Analysis: That's a lot of dough and a lot of years for Myers, who profiles as a third-pair guy on a contending team. The Canucks, of course, aren't contending at the moment. They desperately want to make the playoffs in 2019-20, mind you, so Myers' fat contract lines up with the win-now mentality. Myers, the best right-handed defenseman available in free agency, joins Quinn Hughes, Troy Stecher, Chris Tanev, Jordie Benn, and Alex Edler. Not a bad group, just an expensive one now that the 29-year-old is on board.

Signing: Panthers acquire Anton Stralman (3 years, $16.5 million)
Analysis: Florida GM Dale Tallon was a busy man Monday. He announced contracts for Sergei Bobrovsky in goal, Brett Connolly up front, and Stralman on the back end. Once a highly regarded defenseman, Stralman's slowed down of late. He's 32, a right-handed shot, and has 12 NHL seasons under his belt. He brings veteran value, and the deal isn't terribly long or expensive, which is important to note. Call it a seven out of 10.

Signing: Blue Jackets get Gustav Nyquist (4 years, $22 million)
Analysis: Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen famously went all-in on 2018-19, and on Monday, he's paying for it. Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene are officially no longer with the team, and Nyquist won't replace the lost offense. Though, as a serial 40-to-60-point winger, the former Shark will surely contribute something of substance. The 29-year-old's annual salary ($5.5 million) is far from a dramatic overpay, so this is an OK kickback for losing two July 1 headliners.

Signing: Devils add Wayne Simmonds (1 year, $5 million)
Analysis: New Jersey GM Ray Shero is keeping the good times rolling. A week after selecting Jack Hughes with the No. 1 pick and trading for PK Subban, Shero has reeled in another quality player for his rising squad. Simmonds, a 30-year-old net-front winger - who's not quite the same player he used to be but is still effective - will be motivated to prove the hockey world wrong after a mediocre 2018-19 season. In that respect, the one-year deal is harmless for the Devils; if it doesn't work out for the player, the team, or both, you neatly part ways. The money isn't outrageous, either. Smart signing all around.

Signing: Sharks lock up Timo Meier (4 years, $24 million)
Analysis: With Pavelski coming off the books, Sharks GM Doug Wilson could afford a nice extension for RFA Meier. The Swiss power forward is a key part of the present and future core in San Jose, and there's little doubt he'll earn every cent of the $6 million he's now owed through the 2022-23 season. Meier, 22, had a breakout campaign last year - producing 81 points in 98 total games - and is projected to take yet another step in 2019-20. Solid work here to prioritize the younger player and ultimately avoid a potential offer sheet.

Signing: Stars grab Joe Pavelski (3 years, $21 million)
Analysis: Dallas GM Jim Nill wins the Pavelski bidding war, and the deal is totally justifiable as a $7-million annual cap hit and medium-term commitment. Pavelski is turning 35 in July, so having him on board for two seasons would've been perfect. The longtime Shark had plenty of leverage, however, hence why the contract stretched to three years and his age-37 campaign. Pavelski adds an extra layer of offense to the Stars, who already had Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Alexander Radulov, Roope Hintz, and, as of Monday, Corey Perry. It's crystal clear the organization is ready to push its chips to the middle of the table and go all-in for a Stanley Cup.

Signing: Panthers bring in Sergei Bobrovsky (7 years, $70 million)
Analysis: Bob is taking his talents to South Beach. The headlining UFA goalie is joining a Panthers squad that struck out on Columbus buddy Artemi Panarin. Bobrovsky, a 31-year-old two-time Vezina Trophy winner, is now the second-highest-paid netminder in the world, with his $10 million in annual earnings trailing Carey Price by only $500,000. This deal looks alright in the short term, especially as the Cats push for the playoffs in 2019-20, but it may be an albatross by the time Years 5, 6, and 7 arrive. On the flip side, the length of the contract could work out fine because elite prospect Spencer Knight should be climbing the pro ranks over the next few years. Transitioning from Bobrovsky to Knight toward the end of Bobrovsky's contract would be ideal for Florida. Then again, that giant cap hit might give the club problems...

Signing: Stars nab Corey Perry (1 year, $1.5 million)
Analysis: Perry may be 34 years old and a step or two slower than his former self, but he's a reclamation project worth betting on. And why not at that term and money? The Stars, a team always searching for secondary scoring, are bringing in a former Hart Trophy winner, Stanley Cup champion, and Olympic gold medalist. Perry's incentivized to produce, too, with his new contract topped up by $1.75 million in performance bonuses. It remains to be seen where Perry will slot into Dallas' lineup, though the right wing on Roope Hintz's second line might be the logical spot.

Signing: Predators score Matt Duchene (7 years, $56 million)
Analysis: Everything's copacetic in Nashville. The Predators and Duchene get what both sides want: The team acquires the top center in this UFA class for only $8 million per season, and the player finds a long-term home. Duchene, 28, had many suitors - including the Canadiens, his favorite team as a kid - but chose a city he loves, an excellent tax situation, and a pretty damn good roster. The Predators underachieved last year, losing in the first round, and the team sorely lacked a creative playmaker like Duchene. And while PK Subban had to be sacrificed at the draft for cap flexibility due to his $9-million cap hit, you can beat GM David Poile is smiling ear to ear right now.

Signing: Penguins ink Brandon Tanev (6 years, $21 million)
Analysis: Raising eyebrows around the league, Tanev is cashing in with this agreement. Two days after Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford traded Phil Kessel to Arizona, he now gives a hefty package to Tanev, a depth forward who kills penalties and registered 29 points last season with the Jets. Tanev is 27 years old, and his contract runs through the 2024-25 season. Both the length and the $3.5-million annual cap hit seem generous for someone who plays so far down the lineup.

Signing: Rangers land Artemi Panarin (7 years, $81.5 million)
Analysis: After adding Kaapo Kakko, Adam Fox, and Jacob Trouba earlier this offseason, the Rangers net the biggest name in the 2019 UFA class. Panarin is a dynamic game-breaker worth every penny of the $11.6 million he'll earn annually in New York. He's now the league's highest-paid winger. A strong connection to Rangers president John Davidson, who held the same position with the Blue Jackets during Panarin's time in Columbus, certainly helped New York reel in Panarin, and skating under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden while living in the Big Apple was surely a selling point, too. The Islanders, Panthers, and Jackets were also reportedly final contenders for Panarin's services.

Signing: Maple Leafs tap Jason Spezza (1 year, $700,000)
Analysis: Toronto native Spezza is coming home for the league minimum. It's a low-risk move by the Leafs, who now have their fourth-line center and a 58 percent faceoff guy. If Spezza can stay healthy and is used properly, he can be a nice depth piece, even if his play has dropped off dramatically since his prime years with the Senators. The 36-year-old might also find a spot on the club's second power-play unit.

Signing: Wild snag Mats Zuccarello (5 years, $30 million)
Analysis: Zuccarello, a highly sought-after second-tier UFA forward, is headed to Minnesota by way of the Stars. In a vacuum, signing Zuccarello is a tremendous move by Wild GM Paul Fenton. They need offensive catalysts. However, the term - five years, which will bring the Norwegian to his age-36 season - is a bit rich, especially considering Minnesota is already one of the oldest teams in the league. There's a lot to love about Zuccarello, a feisty top-six winger with finishing ability, but this contract reeks of future remorse.

Signing: Blue Jackets re-sign Ryan Murray (2 years, $9.2 million)
Analysis: As unrestricted free agents leave Columbus en masse, GM Jarmo Kekalainen locks one of the club's RFAs into a two-year pact. Murray, a 25-year-old who's battled injuries since being selected second overall in the 2012 draft, will make $4.6 million in 2019-20 and 2020-21. He had arbitration rights, so this avoids a dispute. Next on the list is blue-liner Zach Werenski, who should be a more difficult negotiation given the star-studded RFA class.

Trade: Rangers ship Jimmy Vesey to Sabres for 3rd-rounder in 2021
Analysis: New York GM Jeff Gorton continues to throw players overboard in the name of rebuilding. Vesey, a 30-point winger with one season remaining on a two-year, $4.55-million deal, is once again a member of the Sabres. Three summers ago, as Vesey was set to become a free agent, Buffalo sent a third-round pick to the Predators for the Harvard standout's rights. Buffalo, then under GM Tim Murray, was unable to sign Vesey, who eventually found a fit with the Rangers. It's come full circle, with current Sabres GM Jason Botterill sending a third to New York halfway through Vesey's second contract. The 26-year-old will likely slot into Buffalo's middle-six forward group.

Signing: Blue Jackets re-up Joonas Korpisalo (1 year, $1.15 million)
Analysis: With longtime Jackets starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky expected to leave for the Panthers via free agency, Korpisalo gets a show-me deal. The 25-year-old has a .907 save percentage in 90 career NHL games and will share the netminding duties with prospect Elvis Merzlikins in 2019-20. Both are set to become restricted free agents next summer. This signing is a small but necessary bit of business as the organization embarks upon the post-Bobrovsky era.

Trade: Maple Leafs send Nikita Zaitsev, Connor Brown, Michael Carcone to Senators for Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, Aaron Luchuk, 3rd-rounder in 2020
Analysis: Leafs GM Kyle Dubas made out well in a deal centered around dumping a poor contract (Zaitsev's $4.5 million annually for five years). Brown - who's tough to lose as a sweetener - would have ideally stayed in Toronto, but shipping his $2.1-million cap hit to the Senators clears up even more space. The return - two potential third-pairing blueliners in Ceci and Harpur, a minor-league forward in Luchuk, and a mid-round pick - is decent, all things considered. The pick helps offset Brown's departure. From the Sens' perspective, it's not the sexiest move by GM Pierre Dorion, considering the two core pieces, Zaitsev and Ceci, aren't drastically different players and the one going to Ottawa is signed through 2023-24. Coach DJ Smith knows Zaitsev and Brown from his time behind the Leafs bench, which should bode well for proper usage and deployment in Ottawa.

John Matisz is theScore's national hockey writer.

Free-agency analysis: Breaking down Monday's signings and trades
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox