Three NHL teams that won the first day of free agency

Free agency started off with a bang, with signings from across the NHL. Here are three teams that won the day.
Tampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers - Game Two
Tampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers - Game Two / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

The first day of NHL free agency has passed. There was a total of 68 signings on day one, with some teams only signing one player, while others signed up to as many as five. Day one saw a good chunk of the top free agents on the market sign with other teams. With that being said, let's look at three teams from day one who improved their team the most.

1. Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators had a huge day. First, they signed arguably the top free agent on the market, Steven Stamkos, to a four year contract with an AAV of eight million. It was reported that the longtime Tampa Bay captain was looking for a contract in the 4.5-5 million range, but ended up cashing in much more than that. Stamkos should've been a Lightning for life in a lot of NHL fans eyes, but the Predators signing him makes them the winners of day one.

Nashville also signed Jonathan Marchessault and Brady Skjei. Marchessault is a top six forward and Skjei is a top four defenseman, Nashville's forward group was already looking really good with Stamkos alone, but adding Marchessault makes it elite. Forsberg and Stamkos in the same forward group? That's disgustingly good. Skjei is a very good top four defenseman, and he will form a great duo on the blue line with Roman Josi.

Nashville made their forward group and blue line elite with three signings. They're ahead of the "competitive rebuild" GM Barry Trotz said they were entering, and the clear winners of day one.

2. Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto did a nice job on free agency day one. They signed Chris Tanev, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Anthony Stolarz, Jani Hakenpaa, Joseph Woll, and Matt Murray. They were able to revamp the blue line and bring in a viable backup in Stolarz.

I like what Toronto did today because they improved their team in areas that were weaker than their biggest strength. Did they really need to acquire OEL or Hakenpaa? Not really. But the depth of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been improved, which has been an area of weakness in past seasons.

3. Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks made sure that Connor Bedard would have some help around him next season today. Chicago signed Tyler Bertuzzi, Alec Martinez, Pat Maroon, Teuvo Teravainen, and Craig Smith. That's two scoring forwards, two depth forwards, and one veteran defenseman. Chicago was in need of all those positions to surround their young phenom, and they accomplished that today.
The Blackhawks will be a team to watch in 2024-2025.