Sunday, May 20, 2018
Sports

Free agency splashes get small

Day 2 of free agency had a hard time living up to the first.

"I'm not surprised," Sabres general manager Tim Murray said, a day after he committed $46.38 million in salaries to sign four free agents. "Nobody's in a rush (Wednesday) because they're taking stock of what happened (Tuesday)."

With most of the big names signing Tuesday and most of the ones left being goalies in their 40s, the Islanders had the big move of the day, relatively speaking, signing free-agent forwards and friends Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin to four-year contracts.

Grabovski's deal is for $20 million and Kulemin's is for $16.75 million, media reports said.

Grabovski, 30, who played last season with the Capitals after being bought out by the Maple Leafs, could slot in as the Islanders' second-line center behind John Tavares. Kulemin, 27, leaves the Leafs after six seasons (84 goals, 111 assists in 424 games).

The Islanders also signed former Lightning forward Cory Conacher, who had seven goals and 19 assists in 79 games last season for the Senators and Sabres.

In other notable moves:

• The Penguins signed former Lightning forward Steve Downie to a one-year, $1 million deal. Downie, 27, had four goals, 20 assists and 106 penalty minutes last season in 62 games for the Avalanche and Flyers; he twice missed time with concussions. Downie's coach for a time in Tampa Bay was Rick Tocchet, now a Penguins assistant.

• The Predators, who failed in a bid to land center Jason Spezza in a trade with Ottawa, signed veteran center Olli Jokinen to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.

• The Sharks signed former Sabres enforcer John Scott, 6 feet 8 and 259 pounds, to a one-year contract. "John brings a physical, no-nonsense element to our lineup," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "As we integrate more younger players to our team, John's presence alone can act as a deterrent and help keep teams and opposing players honest."

Among the players still on the market were goalies Martin Brodeur, 42, and Tim Thomas, 40. Brodeur, who has the most wins in league history, is leaving the Devils, the only team for which he has played, and was evaluating a few options, espn.com said. He is content to wait longer than originally anticipated if the right fit does not present itself, ESPN said.

Among the notable forwards left were Dany Heatley, Mike Ribeiro, David Legwand, Ville Leino, Saku Koivu and Steve Ott.

Murray had considered bringing back Ott, Buffalo's captain when he was traded to the Blues with goalie Ryan Miller in February. But Murray's interest waned after addressing the Sabres' leadership needs by signing Canadiens captain Brian Gionta and acquiring defenseman Josh Gorges in a trade with the Canadiens.

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