Former New York Rangers Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan signed long-term deals Wednesday with their most recent NHL employers and will not hit the open market when free agency begins July 1.
Gaborik has signed a seven-year $34.1 million deal to remain with the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, while Callahan agreed on a six-year $34.8 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“All along I wanted to stay here,” Gaborik said on a conference call Wednesday. “The organization knew it, the players knew it, everybody knew it. That was my No. 1 priority, to try to get the deal done here… I know I could get maybe more money if I went to [free agency], but it wasn't about money. I wanted to stay here and be a part of a great team.”
Gaborik led all players with 14 goals during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and finished with 22 points in 26 games. The Kings acquired Gaborik from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the NHL Trade Deadline for forward Matt Frattin and a pair of draft picks.
The three-time 40-goal scorer was brought to L.A. to help ignite what had been a relatively dormant offense for much of the regular season. Sure enough, Gaborik helped the Kings score a League-high 3.38 goals-per-game in the playoffs, after L.A. finished 26th in offense during the regular-season with 2.42 GPG.
Gaborik was fixture on L.A.’s No.1 line for much of the postseason, skating alongside Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown.
“Playing [with] one of the top centers in the League, just the way we clicked pretty quickly was great. I'm very happy about that and looking forward to more wins.”
CALLAHAN STAYS IN TAMPA BAY:
Like Gaborik, Callahan was also part of a blockbuster deal at the NHL Trade Deadline when he was dealt from the Rangers to the Tampa Bay Lightning for veteran Martin St. Louis.
Callahan had six goals and 11 points in 20 regular season games with Tampa Bay before being held scoreless in four playoff games.
His new deal with the Lightning reportedly comes with a full no-trade clause for the first four years and a limited no-trade clause for the final two seasons.
“I couldn't be happier to be part of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization for the next six years and I am excited for this new chapter of my career,” Callahan said in a team-issued release. “Tampa Bay has been a great place to live and play from the day I got there. As soon as the season ended I knew it was a place I wanted to be.”
Callahan’s new deal comes with an average salary cap hit of $5.8 million while Gaborik’s has an average annual salary cap hit of $4.875 million.
The Lightning also announced Wednesday that they have used their second and final compliance buyout on forward Ryan Malone. Malone had one year remaining on his contract at $2.5 million.
HERSHEY BEARS SIGNS GARRETT HAAR:
The Hershey Bears announced that they have signed defenseman Garrett Haar to an American Hockey League contract for the 2014-15 season.
Haar, 20, has participated in Washington’s last three summer development camps after being selected in the seventh round selection (207th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.
The AHL deal is different from a standard NHL entry level deal and means that Haar can only play next season in the AHL or ECHL.
The 5-foot-11, 194-pound blueliner spent two years at Western Michigan University (2011-13) before spending last season with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League where he recorded seven goals and 45 points in 61 games.
Haar’s head coach in Portland, Mike Johnston, was introduced Wednesday as the Pittsburgh Penguins new bench boss.