Canadian NHL Free Agency Recap – Western Teams Solidify Directions

Yegor Sharangovich #17 of the Calgary Flames celebrates after scoring a a short-handed goal against the Arizona Coyotes during the first period of the NHL game at Mullett Arena on January 11, 2024 in Tempe, Arizona.

There has been no shortage of player movement in the National Hockey League this week, between Friday and Saturday’s Entry Draft and Monday’s start of free agency. All seven of Canada’s teams were deep into the mix, with a firm sense of their future path – be it rebuild or contention. Here is a look at what the four teams in the Western Conference were up to.

Calgary Flames

Free Agent SigningsAnthony Mantha (1 x $3.5M), Devin Cooley (2 x $0.775M)
Yegor Sharangovich (5 x $5.75M extension), Jake Bean (2 x $1.75M)
Ryan Lomberg (2 x $2.0M), Martin Frk (1 x $0.775M)
Jonathan Aspirot (1 x $0.775M)
Recent TradesJune 27: Andrew Mangiapane to WSH for 2nd Round Pick (2025, COL)

General Manager Craig Conroy committed two years to Yegor Sharangovich last June, just one day after acquiring him from the New Jersey Devils. So, it came as no surprise that the now 26-year-old centre was rewarded with a five-year extension ($5.75 million AAV) after a career year. Sharangovich played all 82 games and led the Calgary Flames in scoring with 31 goals in 2023-24, with only Nazem Kadri scoring more points.

The Flames also handed out two-year deals to Stanley Cup champion Ryan Lomberg and Calgary-born defenceman Jake Bean. Additionally, Calgary signed forward Anthony Mantha to a one-year deal ($3.5 million AAV).

Overall, I’d say the Flames did well. Sharangovich’s contract is generous but not a gross overpay. Mantha is a solid two-way winger who could be an option to play with fellow Quebec native Jonathan Huberdeau. He could also be a trade chip at next year’s deadline. Meanwhile, the ‘Lomberghini’ will energize the crowd in his second stint with the team. On the other hand, Bean is a reclamation project, but the Flames have time for that. Calgary isn’t a playoff team, and none of these moves put them much closer to being one.

Calgary Flames to make 2025 Stanley Cup Playoffs

YES +200
NO -250

Bet Now!

Edmonton Oilers

Free Agent SigningsConnor Brown (1 x $1.0M), James Hamblin (2 x $0.775M)
Noah Philip (1 x $0.775M), Noel Hoefenmayer (1 x $0.775M)
Viktor Arvidsson (2 x $4.0M), Josh Brown (3 x $1.0M)
Corey Perry (1 x $1.4M), Collin Delia (1 x $0.775M)
Connor Carrick (1 x $0.775M), Jeff Skinner (1 x $3.0M)
Mattias Janmark (3 x $1.45M), Troy Stetcher (2 x $0.788M)
Adam Henrique (2 x $3.0M)
Recent TradesNone

Maybe the Edmonton Oilers should just let Jeff Jackson continue running things as he sees fit. The team doesn’t have a general manager in place following Ken Holland’s departure, but the CEO got to work on July 1st. First, the Oilers signed forward Viktor Arvidsson to a two-year deal with an AAV of $4 million. Then, Edmonton signed forward Jeff Skinner, who was recently bought out by the Buffalo Sabres, to a one-year contract worth $3 million.

Mattias Janmark, Connor Brown, Corey Perry, and Adam Henrique were also brought back following strong performances throughout Edmonton’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. Edmonton also re-signed Troy Stecher and right-shot defenceman Josh Brown. The team had to say goodbye to Warren Foegele and Vincent Desharnais, and more work must be done to comply with the league’s salary cap, but the team is better off for it.

Arvidsson is a two-time 30-goal scorer coming off an injury-riddled season, while Skinner is a six-time 30-goal scorer just one season removed from accomplishing the feat in back-to-back years. One player (likely Skinner) will get to play with Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman, while the other (Arvidsson) will skate alongside Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers clearly intend to get back to the Stanley Cup Final in 2025 by packing an even bigger offensive punch than they did in 2024.

Edmonton Oilers to win 2025 Stanley Cup


Bet Now!

Vancouver Canucks

Free Agent SigningsKiefer Sherwood (2 x $1.5M), Danton Heinen (2 x $2.25M)
Jake Debrusk (7 x $5.5M), Derek Forbort (1 x $1.5M)
Jiri Patera (1 x $0.775M), Nathan Smith (1 x $0.775M)
Vincent Desharnais (2 x $2.0M)
Recent TradesJune 26: Ilya Mikheyev, Rights to Sam Lafferty, 2nd Round Pick (2027)
to CHI for 4th Round Pick (2027)

Vancouver lost four players to other teams in free agency as Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zadorov signed deals with the Boston Bruins, while Ian Cole and Casey DeSmith signed with Utah and Dallas, respectively. However, the Canucks gained more than they lost, at least in terms of quantity. General manager Patrik Allvin signed seven players on July 1st, but none more notable than forward Jake DeBrusk, who they signed to a massive seven-year contract.

The Canucks would have liked to land a player like Jake Guentzel, but DeBrusk is a decent consolation prize. The 27-year-old is coming off his third 40-point season in a row after spending his entire career as a member of the Bruins. DeBrusk has scored 27 goals twice in his career and he was the Bruins’ most productive player in the 2024 playoffs.

The Canucks also signed two of DeBrusk’s former teammates, forward Danton Heinen and defenceman Derek Forbort, in addition to forward Kiefer Sherwood, right-shot defender Vincent Desharnais, and goaltender Jiří Patera. None of those signings move the needle much, if at all, but DeBrusk should fit in nicely with either Elias Pettersson or J.T. Miller in the Canucks’ top six.

Vancouver Canucks to win 2025 Pacific Division


Bet Now!

Winnipeg Jets

Free Agent SigningsKaapo Kahkonen (1 x $1.0M), Eric Comrie (2 x $0.825M)
Colin Miller (2 x $1.5M), Jaret Anderson-Dolan (2 x $0.775M)
Recent TradesNone

NHL teams committed a record $1.12 billion as more than 100 players signed new deals on July 1st, but the Winnipeg Jets only accounted for $5.65 million of the cash that was splashed around the league. The Jets started by filling the void left behind by backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit, who signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, by signing former goaltender Eric Comrie and adding veteran Kaapo Kähkönen. Then, the team re-signed defenceman Colin Miller to a two-year deal.

General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff’s best decision was moving on from the three unrestricted free agents that helped his team put 110 points in the 2023-24 regular season. Sean Monahan, Tyler Toffoli, and Brendan Dillon all found new homes and the Jets were right to pass on them, given the contracts they received from their new clubs. It might be best to leave a spot open for 20-year-old Brad Lambert, who scored 55 points in 64 games with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.

Winnipeg made the right choice not to make any flashy signings, at least in the long term. Still, the Jets might have hurt themselves in the short term, as the betting market suggests they are now the fourth-best team in the Central Division following a signing spree by the Nashville Predators, and it’s hard to disagree. 

Winnipeg Jets to make 2025 Stanley Cup Playoffs

YES -180
NO +145

Bet Now!