With the season being halted in March and picked back up again in August, this season was truly unprecedented. The Tampa Bay Lightning sweeped away with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Finals. With free agency coming to an end this weekend, here are some of the most influential signings from free agency 2020 (not in a specific order).
Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues to Las Vegas Golden Knights)
The St. Louis Blues Captain has been shipped out to Las Vegas. Pietrangelo was crucial in the Blues’ run to the Stanley Cup in the 2018-19 season, finishing fifth on the Blues in regular season points (41), and third on the blues in postseason points (19). This will certainly hurt the Blues, as they are losing their captain, but they are loaded with firepower from the likes of Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn, David Perron and many more.
Torey Krug (Boston Bruins to St. Louis Blues)
Now that the St. Louis Blues are without their former captain and top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, it was clear what their mission in free agency was a career defenseman. The Blues were a man on a mission during this free agency, signing Torey Krug to a seven year, $45.5 million contract is exactly what the Blues needed. Krug is the offensive defenseman that will replace Pietrangelo in this lineup. With Krug’s 30th birthday coming this April, the future is bright for this stud defenseman who is in his prime, hoping to hoist his second Stanley Cup in the second stage of his career.
T.J. Brodie (Calgary Flames to Toronto Maple Leafs)
After a rather disappointing season in Calgary this past year, Brodie entered free agency with a lot of potential. Brodie is a solid two-way defenseman, who can provide a powerful impact on both offense and defense. This four-year, $20 million dollar contract provides Brodie with the opportunity to make a run for the cup along with his loaded Toronto Maple Leafs team. Brodie is joining a great defensive core, with some new additions such as Zach Bogosian and stud returners like Jake Muzzin and Morgan Rielly.
Taylor Hall (Arizona Coyotes to Buffalo Sabres)
Taylor Hall broke into the league in 2010 with Edmonton. He established himself as an elite career player after his 80 point season back in 2013-14, then again in 2017-18 after a 93 point season and winning the MVP. Hall linking up with star Jack Eichel in Buffalo is a duo that is going to be incredible to watch. Watch out for the Buffalo Sabres to have a big season in 2020-21. Hall has had a slower past two seasons, but is only 28 years young, and has so much ahead of him in the NHL.
Tyson Barrie (Toronto Maple Leafs to Edmonton Oilers)
Tyson Barrie is coming to Edmonton from Toronto on a one year, $3.75 million dollar contract. The Edmonton Oilers have plenty of skill, but haven’t found a way to put the pieces together in these past couple of years. The Oilers top forwards; Leon Draistl, Connor McDavid, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins provide this team with a ton of offensive firepower. With star Oscar Klefbom holding things down on the back end, Tyson Barrie fits right into a lineup that is looking for a powerful defenseman. On a one year contract, the time is now for the Edmonton Oilers.
Joe Thornton (San Jose Sharks to Toronto Maple Leafs)
At 41 years old, Joe Thornton is reaching the end of his NHL career. Thornton has truly had a memorable NHL career. He has been playing in the NHL since 1997, and from 1999-2016, Thornton has only had one season under 60 points. However, Thornton has played the second most games in the NHL without winning a Stanley Cup (1,566). In desperate search of a Stanley Cup assuming this will be his final NHL season, he decided to explore free agency and ultimately sign a one year, $700,000 contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs are loading up for this upcoming season, and adding Thornton might be one of the finishing touches to help win a Stanley Cup with this already stacked team.
Wayne Simmonds (Buffalo Sabres to Toronto Maple Leafs)
Wayne Simmonds joins Toronto this season on a one year, $1.5 million contract. Simmonds has bounced around a little bit since leaving the Flyers back in 2018, playing with the Predators and the Devils prior to joining the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs have signed nine players in this year’s free agency, with eight of them being on one-year deals. With this being the case, the Leafs are setting themselves up for an impressive run at the Stanley Cup in the 2020-21 season.