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Jack Campbell gets a Demko contract from Edmonton, Gaudreau picks Columbus, and more: Around the League 2022 Free Agency edition

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Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
4 months ago
Welcome back to a special free agency edition of Around the Pacific, a column in which we examine news around the Pacific Division through a Canucks-based lens.
Day one of free agency was busy right off the hop.
Rumoured signings came out early in the morning, and there were big deals that dropped right at 9 AM Pacific.
Buckle up, because this is going to be a long one.

Jack Campbell gets a Demko contract

With Mike Smith set to retire or go to LTIR, the Edmonton Oilers went out and got their goalie today.
The club signed former Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell to a five-year contract with an annual average value of $5 million.
In other words, the Oilers gave Jack Campbell an identical contract to the one that the Canucks extended Thatcher Demko on over a year ago.

Johnny Gaudreau goes to… Columbus?

It was a bit of a head-scratching move that even after Johnny Gaudreau’s free agency decision came down late afternoon.
The top free agent by all accounts, Gaudreau chose to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets on a seven year deal with an annual average value of $9.75 million
“I’d never been to Columbus … until I made it to the NHL so when I started playing there, I didn’t know what I was walking into and I was just … Wow!” said Gaudreau.
“They’ve always had great crowds, really into the game. I said to myself then, ‘This looks like a really fun place to play.
“But it was more than that. I played in the World Championships with Zack Werenski. I’ve known Eric Robinson for like 15-20 years. And some former guys, like Cam Atkinson and Dalton Prout … those guys were just like ‘You’re going to absolutely love this place.'”
It was an interesting decision based mostly on the fact that the former Calgary Flames star was reportedly offered more money from the New Jersey Devils — his hometown team.
Further, the Calgary Flames reportedly offered Gaudreau an eight-year contract with an annual average value of $10.5 million — but as has been said already, this decision wasn’t about money for Gaudreau.

Halak headed to the big apple, Stecher to the desert, Highmore to St. Louis

Speaking of former Canucks, Jaroslav Halak has signed a one-year deal with the New York Rangers yesterday, and will back up Igor Shesterkin next season.
Like the deal he signed in Vancouver, Halak’s $1.5 million contract comes with a full no-move clause.
The only difference is, it only has $50,000 in performance bonuses, as opposed to $1.5 million.
Troy Stecher, who the Canucks were interested in to some extent, signed with the Arizona Coyotes on a one-year contract worth $1.25 million.
Matthew Highmore, who spent parts of the past two seasons with the Canucks, signed a one-year, two-way deal with the St. Louis Blues on day two of free agency.

Claude Giroux signs with Ottawa

Claude Giroux — the second biggest free agent by all accounts — chose very early on to sign with his hometown Ottawa Senators.
Giroux attended his opening press conference accompanied by his son Gavin.

Burns and Dahlen leave the Pacific

This would certainly be a bigger story if it came out about five or six years ago, but Brent Burns was traded from the San Jose Sharks to the Carolina Hurricanes along with Lane Pederson for Steven Lorentz, Eetu Makiniemi, and a conditional 2023 third-round pick.
The Sharks are retaining 33% of the contract, giving Burns a $5,333,333 cap hit with the Canes.
The Sharks also didn’t qualify Jonathan Dahlen, who remains on the market at the time of this writing.
The Canucks traded Dahlen to San Jose for Linus Karlsson back in 2019. The 24-year-old Swede scored 12 goals and 22 points in 61 games with the Sharks in 2021–22.
You can read the full Daily Faceoff 2022 free agency live blog for information on every transaction around the league here.

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