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Stamkos stays with Lightning and more

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Stamkos Re-Signing part of busy day in NHL


With NHL free agency just two days away, things are expected to be a bit crazy then. However, we got a big taste of craziness today. Apart from two big trades, there were quite a few signings on Wednesday and we’ll go over them right now.

The biggest signing of the day was Steven Stamkos choosing to stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 26-year-old signed an eight-year contract to remain Tampa’s captain. The deal is reportedly worth $68 million.

Stamkos had 36 goals and 68 points in 77 games this past season. He missed almost the entire playoffs, though, after having a blood clot. He was able to return to the lineup in Game 7 of the Conference Final.

Stamkos was set to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday, when free agency begins. There were many who believed he would be joining the Toronto Maple Leafs because of him being from the greater Toronto area. He met with the Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

However, his desire to want to spend his entire career with one organization prevailed, causing him to remain with Tampa.

Another big signing that occurred on Wednesday was the Columbus Blue Jackets signing defenseman Seth Jones to a six-year, $32.4 million deal. Jones was scheduled to become a restricted free agent.

Acquired from the Nashville Predators on January 6, the 22-year-old blue liner had a decent season with three goals and 31 points in 81 games.

Jones got more ice time after the move to Columbus, averaging almost five minutes more a game than he did in Nashville. It seemed to help his confidence as he posted two goals and 20 points in 41 games with the Blue Jackets.

Columbus made another move, as well, on Wednesday as they bought out defenseman Fedor Tyutin. Tyutin had played the second-most games in franchise history with 553 games. Only Rick Nash has played more games in a Blue Jackets sweater.

The move helped Columbus free up some cap space as Tyutin was scheduled to make $4.5 million over the next two seasons.

There were three more notable signings on Wednesday, all involving players returning to their teams by signing two-year contracts.

The San Jose Sharks agreed to terms with forward Tomas Hertl on a two-year, $6 million deal. Hertl, who was set to be a restricted free agent on Friday, had career highs in goals (21) and points (46) in 81 games. He then pitched in with six goals and 11 points in 20 playoff games as the Sharks reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time ever.

However, Hertl wouldn’t enjoy the Final too much as he was only able to play in games 1 & 2 after he sustained a knee injury during Game 2.

Kyle Brodziak was the second player to sign a two-year contract to return to his team, rejoining the St. Louis Blues. The deal has a reported average annual value of $950,000.

Brodziak had seven goals and 11 points in 76 games, and had two goals in playoff games helping the Blues reach Game 6 of the Western Conference Final against the Sharks. He was set to be an unrestricted free agent.

Jason Zucker rounds out the list of guys who signed two-year contracts on Wednesday as he returned to the Minnesota Wild.

Like Hertl and Jones, Zucker would’ve become a restricted free agent on July 1. His deal is worth $4 million.

Zucker had 13 goals and 23 points in 71 games this season, and set NHL career highs in games played, assists (10), shots (158), hits (83) and takeaways (40). He also had two assists in six playoff games.