THE CANADIAN PRESS
While Ilya Kovalchuk continued to weigh his options, two former Montreal Canadiens signed contracts with their new teams on Tuesday.
Goaltender Jaroslav Halak agreed to a US$15-million, four-year deal with the St. Louis Blues while forward Sergei Kostitsyn took a slight pay cut with the Nashville Predators, signing a one-year deal worth $550,000.
Both players had spent their entire careers in Montreal before they were traded away in separate deals last month.
Even though there was a little more activity around the NHL, Kovalchuk remained on the open market. Jay Grossman, the agent for the star winger, posted a message on his Twitter account Monday night saying that Kovalchuk’s choices had been narrowed. But a new deal didn’t arrive by 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old has scored 40 or more goals in six consecutive seasons and will likely command the most lucrative salary of this year’s free-agent class.
Halak earned a raise coming out of his entry-level deal. The Blues acquired the 25-year-old for prospects Lars Eller and Ian Schultz and are hoping he takes them to the next level.
"Jaroslav will be a big help for our organization moving forward," St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong said in a statement. "He has made a great commitment to the Blues as he enters the prime of his career."
It was a busy day for Armstrong. He also signed defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo ($4.25-million, two-year deal), forward Brad Winchester ($700,000, one-year deal) and tough guy Cam Janssen ($600,000, one-year deal) — avoiding salary arbitration.
Meantime, the Predators appear ready to give Kostitsyn a chance to get back on track after acquiring him for forward Dustin Boyd and the rights to free-agent goalie Dan Ellis.
The 23-year-old Kostitsyn went through plenty of ups and downs in Montreal but will get a fresh start in Nashville. His $550,000 salary is $35,000 less than he earned last season.
In other NHL moves Tuesday:
– Nashville signed Blake Geoffrion, the grandson of former Habs great Bernie (Boom Boom) Geoffrion, to a two-year, entry-level contract.
– Tampa Bay re-signed forward Ted Purcell and defenceman Mike Lundin to one-year deals worth $750,000 each.
– Washington inked forward Boyd Gordon to an $800,000, one-year deal.
– Detroit re-signed forward Drew Miller to a $650,000, one-year deal.