NHL free agency winners, losers: Kraken strike with key additions, Devils add Dougie Hamilton

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When the Seattle Kraken picked their initial 30 players in the expansion draft, two questions stood out:

Did they have enough experience at goalie?

Could they score enough goals?

The Kraken answered those questions on the first day of free agency when they signed goaltender Philipp Grubauer and forwards Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Wennberg.

Grubauer was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season when he helped the Colorado Avalanche win the Presidents' Trophy. He'll provide the Kraken with the big-name presence in net that the Vegas Golden Knights had when they selected Marc-Andre Fleury in the 2017 expansion draft.

NHL FREE AGENCY: Breaking down the deals and rumors on July 28

Philipp Grubauer, a Vezina Trophy finalist last season, will become the Kraken's No. 1 in net.
Philipp Grubauer, a Vezina Trophy finalist last season, will become the Kraken's No. 1 in net.

The tandem will be Grubauer and Chris Driedger. The Kraken sent goalie Vitek Vanecek back to the Washington Capitals for a 2023 second-round pick.

Schwartz, who had a tough 2021 season, has four 20-goal seasons and five 50-point seasons. Wennberg had a career-best 17 goals last season.

Other winners and losers:

Winners

New Jersey Devils: They landed the top free agent in Dougie Hamilton, which instantly makes the defense and offense better. They'll also have newcomer Ryan Graves, and P.K. Subban won't need to be relied upon as much. Jonathan Bernier is a good pickup. He helped keep the Detroit Red Wings in games last season.

Zach Hyman: He played with skilled forwards Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in Toronto. Now he'll get a chance to play alongside Connor McDavid in Edmonton. Plus, the winger gets a seven-year, $38.5 million contract after averaging $2.25 million in his last contract.

Boston Bruins: Signing goaltender Linus Ullmark means Tuukka Rask can take his time recuperating from hip surgery and Jeremy Swayman can continue his development in a backup role. The Bruins also had a strong day improving their depth. Nick Foligno is a character player, and Erik Haula is versatile. Boston kept the communication lines open with David Krejci.

Ryan Getzlaf: Returning on a one-year deal to the Anaheim Ducks will give the longtime captain a chance to pass Teemu Selanne as the franchise's leading scorer. He'll get a proper goodbye after 17 seasons with the franchise.

Losers

Colorado Avalanche: Re-signing Gabriel Landeskog was important. They tried to get Grubauer re-signed, but he went to the Kraken at a time when most of the goaltenders were signed. They found a replacement later in the night with Darcy Kuemper, but they had to give up a first-round pick to land him.

Carolina Hurricanes: General manager Don Waddell had to answer numerous media questions about the decision to sign Tony DeAngelo. The Rangers had told the defenseman to stay home last season after a reported altercation with a teammate. "There is no doubt that he has made mistakes," Waddell said. "We acknowledge that and more importantly, he recognizes that he has made mistakes and he knows that he’s got to work and grow as a person."

The Hurricanes also lost Hamilton and added Ian Cole and Ethan Bear, in addition to DeAngelo. Are goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta better than departed Alex Nedeljkovic and Petr Mrazek? The jury is out, but the newcomers don't have a lot of recent playoff success.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Salary cap woes finally caught up to the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. With Blake Coleman signing with the Calgary Flames, the Lightning have lost their entire third line, plus Tyler Johnson. Defenseman David Savard, a trade deadline acquisition, signed with the Montreal Canadiens. They did sign leading scorer Brayden Point to an eight-year extension and added defenseman Zach Bogosian and backup goalie Brian Elliott. But the Lightning won't be as deep as last season.

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres tried to re-sign Ullmark, and Carter Hutton left for the Coyotes. Their new goaltenders are Craig Anderson and Aaron Dell, who combined for seven starts last season.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL free agency winners, losers: Kraken, Devils make huge additions

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