Nashville Predators Land Stanley Cup Winners in Epic $100M Free Agency Spree

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Monday in Nashville saw an epic move which captured the attention of hockey fans not just the locals, but across the nation. Making a major entrance into free agency, the Nashville Predators danced in triumph, welcoming Stanley Cup-winning forwards Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Marchessault into their family. These two major signings were the pivotal points in a series of manoeuvres that racked up a cool $100 million. Creating more than just a ripple, this money-driven tsunami swept across the NHL and set a new, hard-to-reach, billion-dollar high water mark.

There was visible emotion from Stamkos as he closed a chapter of his life that spanned 16 seasons with Tampa Bay. His time with the team saw its own series of victories, two Cup titles and two additional excursions to the final. Putting pen to paper on a four-year, $32 million contract with Nashville obviously stirred up a mixture of emotions for Stamkos. He candidly confessed, “I never thought this day would come, but it did.” The stark reality spiraled out of a bitter pill he had to swallow; his time with Tampa has run its course.

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As he joined the Predators camp, Stamkos soon found himself in a conversation with fellow acquisition Jonathan Marchessault—a phone call that echoed the same uncertainty, wonder, and excitement of coming to Nashville. Marchessualt, worried he may be the only new signing, was delighted to find out he was not alone; Stamkos was joining him in donning the Predators jersey.

With a five-year contract at $27.5 million, Marchessault has certainly come a long way. Just over a year ago, he was earning MVP honors on the way to leading Vegas to its debut championship. Together with Stamkos, they’ll experience a new level of camaraderie, as defenseman Brady Skjei signs to a seven-year, $49 million contract, and goalie Scott Wedgewood obtains a $3 million deal for two years to back up beloved franchise goalie Juuse Saros.

Nashville Predators’ General Manager Barry Trotz didn’t try to hide his excitement and pride for the Predators’ unprecedented expenditure on new signings, totaling at a startling $111.5 million, “It’s a massive day for the future of our organization,” he said.

On the first day of free agency, teams made commitments that broke all previous records, with dollars bandied at $1.12 billion in contracts. The financial frenzy was heightened with more than 100 players shuffling teams, a staggering dollar amount, driven higher with the salary cap making a huge leap to $88 million per team— the first significant move since before the hard economic days brought on by the pandemic.

The landscape of the NHL has truly changed in the span of a single day. The players, the teams, and indeed, the fans are stepping into a new era where nothing is off-limits. The arm wrestling in the NHL, to not just win Stanley Cups, but to bring in the best talent and build powerful teams, has clearly begun. It is a race where only the ones committed to winning, like the Nashville Predators, will stand tall and proud in the end.