Forward Nathan Horton has left the Boston Bruins and has agreed to terms on a seven-year, $37.1 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday while the Bruins signed veteran winger Jarome Iginla during a busy day of free-agency signings in the NHL
“This is a team on the rise with great players,” Horton told the Blue Jackets’ website. “I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”
Horton, one of the top free agents in this year’s pool, said last week he would test his options and not likely return to the Boston Bruins.
He was touring the Blue Jackets’ Nationwide Arena home and meeting with a variety of team officials on Wednesday and 48 hours later the two sides completed a contract that averages $5.3 million annually.
The Blue Jackets have not made the playoffs for the last four seasons — falling short in the last weekend of the abbreviated 2013 regular season — and were in desperate need of offense to help bolster the support of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Columbus finished 25th in the NHL in goals (2.40 per game) and 27th in shots on goal per game (26.7) last season.
Horton scored 13 goals in 47 regular season games.
Horton, 28, had spent the last three seasons playing for the Boston Bruins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2011. Horton was a consistent force for the Bruins during his three seasons there when he was healthy, but struggled with a shoulder issue and concussions while in Boston.
Horton is scheduled to have shoulder surgery this summer and is not expected back until December of this season.
“I’m definitely having surgery,” he said. “The sooner, the better.”
Meanwhile, Iginla signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Bruins, going to a team that tried to get him in March.
Iginla’s deal has performance bonuses that include $3.7 million for games played and $500,00 for goals scored and playoff success. according to ESPN.
In March, Iginla rejected a trade to the Bruins and wound up with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who eventually lost to Boston in the Eastern Conference finals.
After joining the Penguins, Iginla contributed five goals and six assists in 13 regular-season games and added four goals and eight assists in 15 playoff games.
Before coming to Pittsburgh, the 36-year-old Iginla played 15 seasons with the Calgary Flames and is one of 42 players in NHL history to score at least 500 goals.
Iginla’s signing is one of a series of free-agent moves by the Bruins since they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final. Boston traded Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley, Horton signed with the Blue Jackets and Andrew Ference went to the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers snapped up defenseman Ference on a four-year deal, reported to be worth $13 million.
The 34-year-old Ference, born in Edmonton, entered free agency after playing with Boston for seven seasons.
The Detroit Red Wings signed center Stephen Weiss and defenseman Daniel Alfredsson within hours of the opening bell of NHL free agency Friday.
Weiss signed a five-year, $24.55 million contract and likely accepted less than expected because he’s returning from wrist surgery and isn’t known for his durability. Weiss served as the primary point scorer for the Florida Panthers when he was healthy. He’ll join an already formidable second line.
Alfredsson signed a one-year deal with the Wings, a day after informing the Ottawa Senators his 18-year run with that franchise was ending.
Alfredsson’s contract is worth between $5 million and $5.65 million, according to multiple reports.
Alfredsson, 40, began his career with the Senators in 1995 and has played 1,178 games with 1,108 points.
The Nashville Predators announced Friday that they signed forward Eric Nystrom to a four-year, $10 million deal and forward Matt Cullen to a two-year, $7 million deal.
Nystrom will earn $2 million in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and $3 million in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Nystrom, 30, spent the two previous season with the Dallas Stars. Last season, he had seven goals and four assists with 61 penalty minutes in all 48 games.
Cullen will earn $3 million in 2013-14 and $4 million in 2014-15.
Cullen, 36, had seven goals and 20 assists in 42 games with the Minnesota Wild last season.
The Phoenix Coyotes agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent forward Lauri Korpikoski on a four-year, $10 million contract, ESPN reported Friday.
Korpikoski had 11 points in 36 games last season while battling an upper body injury. He combined for 36 goals in the two seasons prior to that.
The Coyotes put themselves in position to make deals like the one with Korpikoski after recently ensuring they will stay in Glendale, Ariz., for at least five more years.
“Now we feel that we’re on an even playing field with the other 29 teams in the league in regards to what we can sell,” general manager Don Maloney told NHL.com. “We know we’re going to be here, we know who’s running the club and how we’re going to run it and it just makes my job much easier than it was.”
Korpikoski, 26, was the No. 19 overall pick in the 2004 draft.
Toronto continued its offseason overhaul, signing right wing David Clarkson to pair with recently acquired center Dave Bolland.
Clarkson signed a seven-year, $36.75 million contract, according to TSN. He had 15 goals and had 24 total points for the New Jersey Devils last season.
The Maple Leafs also signed center Tyler Bozak to a five-year, $21 million contract. He had 28 points last season.
Bolland, 27, was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2013 NHL Draft.
Toronto also returns center Phil Kessel, the team’s top scorer with 52 points last season.
The New York Islanders signed 22-year-old defenseman Travis Hamonic to a seven-year, $27 million deal, Aaron Ward of TSN reported on Twitter.
Hamonic’s new contract has a $3.85 million average annual cap hit, but that might be considered a bargain if he continues to progress as he has so far.
He has already played 183 NHL games, and looks like he could be one of the NHL’s top defensemen in the near future.
Hamonic had three goals and seven assists in 48 games this past season after collecting two goals and 22 assists in 73 games the previous season.
He averaged 25 minutes a game in the recent postseason series against Pittsburgh, leading the Islanders in ice time in that series.
Saku Koivu will return to the Anaheim Ducks next season after signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract on Friday, the team announced.
The deal, which includes performance bonuses, will keep the 38-year-old with the Ducks for a fourth season.
This past season, the Finnish center had eight goals and 19 assists in 47 regular season games and one goal and two assists in the playoffs.
“We are happy to bring back a character player like Saku,” Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. “At this stage in his career, his first priority is to win, and we are happy he’s decided this is the place for him.”
Koivu left the Montreal Canadiens after the 2009 season to join the Ducks. The 2012-13 season was his 17th in the NHL.
The Ducks made an earlier trade to help clear the way for Koivu’s signing, sending Bobby Ryan to Ottawa for Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and a future first-round pick.
The Ottawa Senators acquired forward Bobby Ryan in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Jakob Silfverberg, 20-year-old prospect Stefan Noesen, and a first-round pick in next year’s draft.
The deal was completed soon after Daniel Alfredsson, the Senators longtime captain, signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings.
Ryan, 26, already has produced four 30-plus-goal seasons in the NHL. He has two years left on his contract (cap hit $5.1 million) before he can become an unrestricted free agent.
He had 11 goals and 19 assists for the Ducks this past season. Silfverberg, 22, had 10 goals and nine assists in 48 games for Ottawa as a rookie in 2012-2013.
Ottawa also signed Clarke MacArthur.
The New Jersey Devils signed winger Michael Ryder to a two-year, $7 million contract, TSN reported Friday.
Ryder’s deal comes on the heels of the Devils signing Ryane Clowe to a five-year, $24.25 million contract and Rostislav Olesz to a one-year, $1 million pact.
The 33-year-old Ryder had 35 points in 46 regular-season games with the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens this past season.
The previous season, he scored a career-high 35 goals for Dallas. Before joining the Stars, Ryder was with the Boston Bruins when they won the Stanley Cup in 2011.
The Tampa Bay Lightning signed free agent center Valtteri Filppula to a five-year contract, the team announced Friday.
The deal is worth $25 million, according to ESPN.com.
Filppula, 29, had played his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings before signing with Tampa Bay. Filppula, 29, had 23 goals and 66 points in 2011- 2012, but slipped to nine goals and 17 points in 41 games this past season.
He had two goals and six points in 14 postseason games this year.
“We are pleased to sign Valtteri to a five-year contract today,” general manager Steve Yzerman said. “We feel he is an outstanding, all-around centerman who brings a winning pedigree to our organization. He fills a much-needed position for us at center and his skill, work ethic and character will make him a great addition to our team. On behalf of the Lightning we’d like to welcome him to the organization.”