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Former Chicago Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin signed a seven-year, $81.5 million contract with the Rangers on Monday, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports.

 

New York has reeled in the biggest fish in the free agency pond, further turbocharging a rebuild that has quickly moved into the competitive phase thanks to the offseason additions of Panarin, Jacob Trouba and second overall pick Kaapo Kakko. 

 

The Russian winger has 320 points in 322 career NHL appearances between the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets. He should instantly slot in on the top line and No. 1 power-play unit on Broadway.

 

Ryan Carpenter signed a three-year, $3 million contract with the Blackhawks on Monday, Chris Kuc of The Athletic reports.

 

Carpenter appeared in 68 games with the Golden Knights in 2018-19, tallying five goals and 18 points over that span. The 28-year-old will likely center the Blackhawks' fourth line while also contributing as a penalty killer in 2019-20.

 

Winger Sammy Blais signed a one-year, $850,000 extension with the St. Louis Blues on Monday, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic reports.

 

Blais isn't a big scorer with seven points in 43 career games, but he brings much-needed energy in a bottom-six role. Keeping the 2014 sixth-rounder on hand was an easy decision for the Stanley Cup champs given his affordability and chemistry with the rest of the locker room.

 

Centerman Matt Duchene signed a seven-year, $56 million contract with the Nashville Predators on Monday, Adam Vingan of The Athletic reports.

 

Nashville already has all of its defensive regulars under contract for the 2019-20 season, so it makes sense that the Predators would turn their attention to bolstering the top-six forward group upon this major signing of Duchene, with the average annual value on his contract ($8.0 million) matching that of revered assistant captain Ryan Johansen. 

 

The Predators averaged a putrid two goals per game in an abbreviated 2019 postseason run, meaning Duchene -- an accomplished top-six, power-play forward with a career average of 0.75 points per game between the Avalanche, Senators and Blue Jackets -- will be relied upon heavily, just as he was in his most recent stint with Columbus.

 

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky signed a seven-year, $70 million contract with the Florida Panthers on Monday.

 

This deal makes Bobrovsky the second highest paid goaltender in the NHL behind Carey Price, and for good reason, as he's been one of the best backstops in the league since joining Columbus in 2012-13, compiling a 213-130-27 record while maintaining a 2.41 GAA and .921 save percentage through 374 appearances spread over seven seasons. 

 

The two-time Vezina Trophy winner will be 37 years old by the time his contract with Florida is up, and he'll almost certainly have declined by then, but the Panthers are trying to compete for a Stanley Cup now, so they'll worry about the long-term ramifications of this deal later. 

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