The NHL’s best under-the-radar signers, including Frank Vatrano and Eric Comrie

The dust of NHL free agency Continue to settle. We've thoroughly analyzed the deals and most of the big-name players that we have been analyzing for weeks are now signed up.

We want to discuss the more subtle moves. Those that may have slipped by the radar. Or were caught up in the shuffle of other activities. Some signings didn't get the proper attention.

Dylan Strome Go to the Washington Capitals What if you only signed a one-year contract? This could be a significant upgrade for the Capitals' offensive prospects in this season.

Max Domi A fantastic opportunity for him to show his skills on a one year pact with The Chicago Blackhawks? That's something to be proud of, especially if he is able to land with a competitor at the trade deadline.

No matter if the deals were long-term or shorter-term, big-dollars or low-cost, these stories of free agents are worth reviewing again in case you missed any.

The NHL's best under-the-radar signers, including Frank Vatrano and Eric ComrieThe NHL's best under-the-radar signers, including Frank Vatrano and Eric Comrie

The deal: $57.5 Million for five years

Between the praise for Valeri Nichushkin‘s eight-year extension Colorado and the production of hot takes about the yet-unsigned Nazem KadriTheir (now ex-)teammate Andre Burakovsky quietly fled for Seattle.

It is high time we shine a spotlight on that.

The 27-yearold played his part in a well-deserved deal that was not discovered because the Kraken weren’t great their first season. It's not the most sought-after spot for free agents. Burakovsky, however, can change the story.

After a strong regular season with the Avalanche (22 goals, 61 points in 80 matches), and Stanley Cup-winning run in Seattle, Burakovsky arrives in Seattle. Burakovsky was a key player in the final push, which made everyone forget about Colorado's earlier-round series.

Burakovsky broke Kadri's ankle in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals and stepped up to help Colorado sweep the Oilers.

Burakovsky won the overtime victory in Game 1 against the opponent. Tampa Bay LightningBefore breaking his thumb, he lit the lamp once more in Game 2. Burakovsky would not play again for Colorado. Burakovsky left Colorado because there were too many free agents.

It was great news for Kraken. Burakovsky, who has been a 20-goal scorer for three straight seasons, will help elevate a Seattle offense that was 28th in its first season and averaged 2.60 goals per match. Burakovsky is a strong winger and has good touch around the goal. He also helps with special teams. Burakovsky will be a great addition to Seattle's forwards and provide more cheering for Seattleans in the coming seasons.


The NHL's best under-the-radar signers, including Frank Vatrano and Eric Comrie

The deal: For two years, $3.6 Million

A backup-goalie signing doesn't always draw attention. Comrie's arrival at Buffalo is worthy of some love.

The 27-year old is coming off a disappointing season in Winnipeg. He went 10-5-1 and had a.920 save percentage. His 2.58 goals against average was behind a lower-than-average Jets defense. Winnipeg decided to overplay for whatever reason. Connor Hellebuyck Comrie was unable to finish the game due to time constraints, which ultimately made him an RFA (whose rights the Jets could retain) and eventually a UFA.

It's too bad for them. To capitalize, the Sabres came in.

Buffalo was seeking a low risk, high reward replacement for its veteran — and expected starter — Craig Anderson. Comrie looks like the perfect match. Comrie, a player from Edmonton, has been waiting for an NHL opportunity for almost ten years. Comrie performed so well that Winnipeg refused to give him more chances.

Comrie shouldn't face the same problems in Buffalo. The Sabres want a tandem situation and, assuming Comrie's recent success wasn't a fluke (which is what it was), Comrie should see an increase in starts over last season's 16 games.

Comrie wanted to be a Buffalo player, which hasn't had a lot of success signing talented players. Comrie is one. Even though other areas have improved, the Sabres' goaltending kept them behind. Comrie is a great addition to the team and will ensure that it doesn't happen again. Comrie is a valuable addition to the team's depth and has a reputation as a fantastic teammate. This is a win for Buffalo.


The NHL's best under-the-radar signers, including Frank Vatrano and Eric Comrie

The deal: $1,500,000 for a year

Ondrej Kases is always a big “if”. That is, if he can remain healthy.

Kase, when he isn't injured, can be a valuable middle-six winger. Carolina needed to boost its scoring capabilities and Kase could be that guy. If this is the case, the Hurricanes are executing one of the best free agent deals of the summer by bringing Kase in cheaply.

First, the “if”

Kase has suffered from concussion problems throughout his career. These issues led to Kase's exits from Anaheim and Boston. Kase was unable to play in the regular season for the Bruins in 2020-21 due to head injuries and post-concussion. When Kase was granted restricted free agency last summer, Boston didn't offer him a qualifying offer.

Toronto was offered a one year deal. Kase played well for the Leafs during a bounce back 2021-22 season. He scored 14 goals in 50 games and scored 27 points, mainly on the third line. Kase sustained another concussion in March, which kept him out of the playoffs. Kase returned to Tampa Bay for the first round series and was solid. He added three assists in seven of his games.

Kase wasn't qualified by either the Leafs or Kase. The Hurricanes made an offer, and they know when to recognize value. Carolina's lineup is more diverse than ever with Kase capable of filling a variety roles. Max Pacioretty. Kase is an excellent penalty killer and the Hurricanes value their shorthanded play.

The right fit is certain. Kase's success in Toronto should lead to success in Carolina, if he is able to avoid more injuries.


The NHL's best under-the-radar signers, including Frank Vatrano and Eric Comrie

The deal: Four years, $11,000,000

Kulak was originally purchased by Edmonton at the trade deadline to stabilize their blue line before the playoffs. Kulak accomplished exactly that and was awarded a long-term, if not well-deserved, extension.

The 28-year old has been an excellent depth player for Edmonton. Kulak's consistent solid performances helped Edmonton reach the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2006. Kulak had eight points in the regular season and five assists in 16 playoff games.

Kulak doesn't have the ability to contribute offensively. The Oilers don't love him for it either. Kulak is a great defensive defenseman. He's a good defender who can be positioned with the puck and is skilled in zone entries as well as exits. Kulak's ability to play in transition allows the Oilers to allow their talented forwards do what they do best. Kulak's lack of flash is made up by his ability to act as a facilitator on the ice.

Kulak might have been able manage a more demanding workload than the 17.05 per game that Jay Woodcroft gave him. This is almost certain for Kulak. Duncan Keith retired in JulyOilers now have only one top-four defenseman. Kulak reup fills the void in Edmonton's second pair where Kulak might match. Evan Bouchard Oder Tyson Barrie.

Kulak would have left the Oilers with a dangerously thin defensive depth chart. Edmonton was fortunate to keep Kulak on a favorable deal that should yield major dividends in the long-term.


The NHL's best under-the-radar signers, including Frank Vatrano and Eric Comrie

The deal: For two years, $9.5 Million

Detroit made a lot of moves in the early days of free agency. Perron was one of their greatest moves.

The 34-year old turned back time last season to help the St. Louis BluesHe scored 27 goals and 57 goals in 67 regular season games. Then he scored nine goals in 12 playoff games. This was big-time stuff by a veteran who has been quite successful since joining the Blues in their 2018-19 season.

It was disappointing that St. Louis couldn’t find enough salary-cap space for Perron, but it wasn’t to the Red Wings who brought in a difference-maker with a nice contract.

Perron will be a mid-six player who will contribute to Detroit's talented, young forwards. Perron will be a spark to ignite that fire in the group that was hot last season. Perron is a great two-way winger, excels at the perimeter and drives play. He will be an asset to raising Detroit's power play (which ranked 26th last season). Perron could be the struggling sniper you've been looking for. Jakub Vrana You need a linemate who can provide veteran presence with enough speed and experience to keep up.

While Andrew CoppAlthough Copp's signing may have attracted more attention in Detroit, and Copp deserves it, Perron's arrival on board will have an equally immediate impact. Copp and Perron could even share playing time. Detroit's youth caught up with them last season. Perron's experience could help the Red Wings reach greater heights. Detroit is able to do this without having to sign a long-term contract that could have been ineffective. It's good news for all.


The NHL's best under-the-radar signers, including Frank Vatrano and Eric Comrie

The deal: For three years, $10.95million

Vatrano's deal to the Ducks was not well-received, but it was a brilliant move by GM. Pat Verbeek The Ducks' front office.

Vatrano was shipped to New York from Florida at the March trade deadline and was instantly a part of the Rangers. The 28-year old was able to slip in with ease. Mika Zibanejad Chris Kreider New York's top team and had good chemistry. There were eight goals and 13 points in 22 games. Coach Gerard Gallant gave his lineup a shake-up for the playoffs. Vatrano bounced around, but was still productive with five goals and 13 points over 20 postseason tilts.

The Ducks were able to afford to make a significant investment in Vatrano. Anaheim now has a player that it can trust to score around 20 goals in a second or third-line role. He may also be moved up the lineup as necessary. The Ducks have a dazzling collection of talent at the front, including Troy Terry Trevor Zegras — and with Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim had retired and was in search of more experienced players to help fill in for the younger players.

Vatrano is an excellent option for them right now. Vatrano will add stability to an offense that is already capable of flying. The Ducks did not have to spend too much on Vatrano's term. This allows them to enjoy his contributions without worrying about future salary cap issues as the burgeoning stars go on the hunt for new contracts.

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