Giroux, Elias and Briere agree lucrative new deals

AP

Sat, Jul 06, 2013 - Page 19

Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux has agreed to a lucrative new contract with the Flyers, Patrick Elias is also staying put, while Danny Briere is heading north after Thursday’s flurry of action in the buildup to the NHL’s free-agency period.

The Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars were also active, exchanging seven players as the rebuilding Stars acquired forwards Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley in exchange for veteran forward Loui Eriksson.

The trade should benefit the Bruins in their approach to the free-agency period starting yesterday.

They were able to clear about US$4.75 million in space under the salary cap, which they can use to add and re-sign players.

Giroux agreed an eight-year US$64 million contract extension with the Flyers, a person familiar with the negotiations said.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract has not been signed and the extension not revealed by the Flyers.

The deal comes as Giroux was entering the final year of his contract and with the Flyers in the midst of reshaping a team that missed the playoffs last season.

A two-time 25-goal scorer, Giroux is the Flyers top playmaking offensive threat. He had 13 goals and 35 assists for 48 points in 48 games last season.

While Giroux stays in Philadelphia, Briere departs, and he wasted little time finding a new team by signing a two-year, US$8 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens.

A person familiar with Briere’s contract revealed the value of the deal on condition of anonymity because the Canadiens did not disclose the figure.

It is a homecoming of sorts for the French Canadian. Briere became a free agent after the Flyers bought out the two remaining years of his contract.

The Devils re-signed Elias to a three-year, US$16.5 million deal, locking up the franchise’s career goals and points leader before he was eligible to test the market. He has spent his entire 15-year career with the Devils, during which he has amassed 375 goals, 555 assists and 930 points in 1,090 games.

New Jersey also re-signed veteran forward Dainius Zubrus to a three-year, US$9.3 million contract.

A second person familiar with the contract revealed the terms of Zubrus’ deal on condition of anonymity because the Devils did not disclose the numbers.

Defenseman Keith Ballard did not wait long to find a new team. Not long after having the final two years of his contract bought out by Vancouver, Ballard agreed to a two-year deal with Minnesota.

Other teams were busy taking advantage of their final opportunity to free up salary-cap space.

Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski headed a list of five players that were placed on unconditional waivers with the intention of having their contracts bought out.

“It was not an easy decision to make, as Mikhail made numerous contributions to our hockey club,” Toronto general manager Dave Nonis said. “This is a roster move that will give us salary-cap flexibility moving forward.”

The Maple Leafs’ decision to waive Grabovski came only four months after they signed him to a five-year, US$27.5 million contract.

New Jersey goalie Johan Hedberg, Colorado defenseman Greg Zanon, Nashville defenseman Hal Gill and Edmonton center Eric Belanger were also placed on unconditional waivers, and are eligible to have their contracts bought out.