Lindholm March Tanev split

July 1 was full of fireworks in the NHL with free agency opening, and the League’s teams went on a shopping spree.

More than 100 players switched teams and more than $1 billion was spent in the first 12 hours. Plus, there were a couple of trades thrown in for good measure.

In a real fireworks show, different explosions appeal to different people. Some are drawn to the big, bright, loud explosions; others like the more subtle, less obtrusive displays.

It was the same Monday for NHL fans.

Each big move was eye-catching in its own way, but each was received differently.

We asked ten staffers for their favorite personnel move from Monday. Here, in alphabetical order, are their answers:

Jakob Chychrun, Washington Capitals

The acquisition of Chychrun came through a trade with the Ottawa Senators (for defenseman Nick Jensen and a third-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft) and not a free-agent signing, but the 26-year-old defenseman is exactly what the Capitals needed. Washington wanted to add an offensive element to its defense after it was 31st in the NHL last season in goals from defensemen with 20, ahead of only the Chicago Blackhawks (19), and 30th in the League with 134 points from defensemen. John Carlson accounted for a team-high 10 of those goals and 52 points. None of the Capitals other defensemen scored more than three goals, and Rasmus Sandin (23) was the only other defenseman with more than 20 points. Chychrun equaled his NHL career high with 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists) last season, including seven goals on the power play, and his skating and passing will help with their transition from defense to offense. -- Tom Gulitti, staff writer

Jake DeBrusk, Vancouver Canucks

When you have a team that was one win away from the Western Conference Final last season and it adds a gritty, perennial 20-goal scorer, that to me is an important move. DeBrusk wanted a fresh start after seven seasons with the Bruins and gets one in Vancouver with a seven-year contract at a cap hit of $5.5 million per season. That could end up being a steal as DeBrusk has plenty of chances to flourish playing with new teammates, forwards J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser, and defenseman Quinn Hughes. The 27-year-old doesn't have to worry about where he'll be playing for the next little while and can focus on playing hockey. He had 40 points last season and led the Bruins -- a team with David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand -- in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 11 points. -- David Satriano, staff writer

Brenden Dillon, New Jersey Devils

The Devils sorely lacked an authoritative presence on the back end last season, evidenced by the fact that the club allowed 3.43 goals per game, tied for 26th in the League, and had the seventh-fewest hits and fourth-fewest blocked shots. The addition of defenseman Brett Pesce was huge, but to me, Dillon will be the defenseman to dare opponents to test his mettle in the corners or in front of goalies Jacob Markstrom or Jake Allen. Dillon should conjure up memories of Devils past when the likes of Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko patrolled the ice and not only defended their end, but their teammates whenever needed. Since entering the League in 2011-12, Dillon ranks 11th among all players in hits (2,174) in 892 games. -- Mike G. Morreale, senior draft writer

Elias Lindholm, Boston Bruins

For me, the 29-year-old center is going to be the perfect fit in Boston. Is he Patrice Bergeron? Of course not, but Lindholm is an extremely solid two-way center who scored 42 goals for the Calgary Flames in 2021-22 and is highly reliable in his own end of the ice. He should alleviate some defensive responsibilities from Charlie Coyle and will be a nuisance for the abundance of high-end talent in the Atlantic Division. Lindholm had 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 13 playoff games for the Vancouver Canucks last season, evidence he can be counted on in big spots. -- Brian Compton, managing editor

Jonathan Marchessault, Nashville Predators

Steven Stamkos, who joined the Predators from the Tampa Bay Lightning, was the loudest explosion Monday. But the arrival of Marchessault from the Vegas Golden Knights might be the prettiest. There’s nothing quite like Marchessault with a chip on his shoulder. In 2016-17, Marchessault burst onto the scene with the Florida Panthers, but he was left unprotected in the expansion draft and was claimed by the Golden Knights. He embraced “The Golden Misfits” vibe that the team of castoffs exuded. He had a career-high 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists) in 2017-18 and helped the Golden Knights make the Stanley Cup Final against all odds that first season. In 2022-23, he helped the Golden Knights win the Cup for the first time in their history, taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP with 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists). Now, he believes he has been cast aside again. The rest of the NHL better watch out while his latest revenge tour plays out on Broadway. -- Shawn P. Roarke, senior director of editorial

Brandon Montour, Seattle Kraken

The Kraken needed a top defenseman. They got that in Montour, who signed a seven-year, $50 million contract ($7.14 million average annual value). Montour brings Stanley Cup Playoff pedigree, playing in the Cup Final two straight seasons and winning the Cup with the Panthers in June. The 30-year-old had 33 points (eight goals, 25 assists) in 66 regular-season games last season; Montour didn’t play until November after having shoulder surgery in the summer of 2023. But he had a career year in 2022-23, when he had 73 points (16 goals, 57 assists) in 80 games, and was key in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he had 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 24 games. Montour should be an outstanding fit for Seattle, which is looking to get back to the postseason after missing last year. -- Tracey Myers, staff writer

Jeff Skinner, Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers could be huge benefactor of the Buffalo Sabres deciding to cut Skinner loose and buy out the final three seasons of the forward’s eight-year, $72 million contract ($9 million AAV) on June 30. Skinner signed a one-year, $3-million contract with Edmonton on Monday, adding another talented forward to an already incredibly skilled side led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Skinner is going into his 15th NHL season and has yet to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so he will be extremely motivated with the Oilers, who made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last season. Skinner has scored 30-plus goals six times and had a career-high 82 points (35 goals, 47 assists) in 79 games with Buffalo two seasons ago. If Skinner can get on the end of passes from McDavid or Draisaitl while playing in a top-six role, he could have a massive season offensively, all for a third of the price Buffalo paid him to have 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 74 games last season. -- Derek Van Diest, staff writer

Steven Stamkos, Nashville Predators

Since officially taking over as general manager in Nashville last year, Barry Trotz vowed to add sizzle to the franchise. He wanted to make a big splash. While his roster was solid, he wanted to add glitz and entertainment to his team in a town that is known for it. Mission accomplished. The Predators handed out $111.5 million to four players — forwards Stamkos and Marchessault, defenseman Brady Skjei and goalie Scott Wedgewood — in free agency Monday, and there was no bigger addition than the former Tampa Bay Lightning captain. It’s not just about what Stamkos, who signed a four-year, $32 million deal, produces on the ice. He’s a future Hall of Famer. Put his name on the marquee outside Bridgestone Arena and, with apologies to Roman Josi, Juuse Saros and Filip Forsberg, you have an instant attraction. Oh, did I mention he’s been a member of two Stanley Cup-winning teams, has 555 career goals, is one of the best leaders in the sport and is one of the most well-spoken articulate ambassadors of the game? At 34, he’s coming off a 40-goal season. Forget about Trotz making a splash; this was more like hockey’s version of a tsunami. Well done. -- Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

Chris Tanev, Toronto Maple Leafs

The term is too long. Six years for a 34-year-old? Not ideal. But I'm not looking at the back half of the contract. That's going to be problematic. The front half are the years that matter for a win-now team with a win-now coach in Craig Berube. Tanev pushes them in that direction, and for $4.5 million per season, he should be exactly what they need for exactly the price they need him for at least three seasons. He brings physicality, snarl, a strong defensive presence and a mean streak that is more than necessary in that Maple Leafs lineup, not to mention an elite ability to make the first pass out of the zone to get the offense started. Tanev will not be the full answer in Toronto. That still must come from the core. But Tanev will be a big part; he will play a huge role. If the Maple Leafs can figure it out in the first three years of his contract, dare we say win the Stanley Cup, the back half of the contract will not matter as much. If they can't, Berube, GM Brad Treliving and president Brendan Shanahan won't have to worry about the last three years of the contract because they won't be in Toronto to see it. -- Dan Rosen, senior writer

Tyler Toffoli, San Jose Sharks

Yes, there were bigger signings on Monday (see the Predators), but this is my favorite. San Jose is not only in a major rebuild, it’s in a rebuild that centers around forward Macklin Celebrini, the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. Like the Chicago Blackhawks did last year in surrounding Connor Bedard, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, with veteran players, the Sharks did the same here by signing Toffoli to a four-year contract. He will not only be there to help Celebrini get acclimated into the NHL, he will be there when he starts to shine. Toffoli is not only a 12-year NHL veteran with a Stanley Cup championship on his resume, he is well-versed in the Pacific Division, having played eight seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, 10 games with the Vancouver Canucks in 2019-20 and parts of two seasons with Calgary Flames. Even if Celebrini decides to play one more year at Boston University, he will get three seasons of tutelage under Toffoli. -- Bill Price, Editor-in-Chief

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