NHL Free Agency Weekend Continues With Depth Signings
The initial weekend of 2016’s NHL free agency continued to see depth goaltender signings on Saturday. Now that the big holes have been filled, teams have turned their attention to backups and third goalies.
On Saturday afternoon, the Buffalo Sabres announced that they had acquired Anders Nilsson from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a fifth round pick in the 2017 draft. This marks the fourth time Nilsson has been traded in the past two seasons. When he left the New York Islanders for the KHL in 2014-15, his rights were traded to the Chicago Blackhawks and then on to the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers signed him to a one-year deal worth $1 Million and he played 26 games for them in 2015-16 before moving on to St. Louis just before this year’s deadline.
The Sabres, who lost Chad Johnson in July 1’s annual goalie shuffle, are in need of a backup for Robin Lehner. The Sabres have signed Nilsson to another one-year deal worth $1 Million. Behind him is prospect Linus Ullmark, who is likely to spend another year in the AHL.
Jeremy Smith has joined the Colorado Avalanche on a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level. Smith, 27, spent last season in the AHL playing for Boston Bruins’ affiliate in Providence and on loan to Minnesota Wild affiliate, the Iowa Wild, posting a .921 in 43 games. It is expected that he will be assigned to AHL San Antonio Rampage.
The Tampa Bay Lightning signed another RFA prospect to a new deal. Kristers Gudlevskis, a fifth round draft pick in 2013, has played the past three seasons in with the AHL Syracuse Crunch. Last season he posted a .901 in 41 games with Syracuse. This new deal is a one-year, two-way contract, although terms are unavailable at this time. Gudlevskis, 23, is expected to spend another season in the AHL, although the remote possibility exists that a Ben Bishop trade would result in either Gudlevskis or Adam Wilcox getting the call to back up newly-extended Andrey Vasilevskiy.