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NHL Notebook

Brandon Saad to Blues, Corey Perry to Lightning on second day of NHL free agency

After losing the Stanley Cup to the Lightning for two straight seasons, Corey Perry decided to join them.
After losing the Stanley Cup to the Lightning for two straight seasons, Corey Perry decided to join them.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The St. Louis Blues signed Brandon Saad to a five-year contract and the Tampa Bay Lightning agreed to terms with Corey Perry for two years Thursday as the two recent Stanley Cup champions brought in more winning experience on the second day of free agency.

The 28-year-old Saad spent last season with Colorado, putting up 24 points during the regular season and scoring seven goals in 10 playoff games. The winger counts $4.5 million against the salary cap on his new $22.5 million deal. Saad won the Cup with Chicago in 2013 and 2015 and is heading to his fifth NHL organization.


Perry signed a $2 million, two-year deal with Tampa Bay that counts $1 million against the salary cap annual. General manager Julien BriseBois expected to be done making moves Wednesday but said, “If something falls onto our lap that makes sense and improves our team and we can find a way to squeeze it in, we’re certainly open to exploring that.”

This certainly qualifies.

The 36-year-old Perry, who won the Cup with Anaheim in 2007, is joining the Lightning after losing to them in the final each of the past two seasons. Perry was with Dallas in 2020 and Montreal this past season.

Granato fills out staff

Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato hired his first staff, which will include long-time colleague Jason Christie. Also hired as assistants were Marty Wilford and Matt Ellis, who finished last year as an assistant after Granato was promoted to interim head coach following Ralph Krueger’s firing in mid-March. Granato was hired on a permanent basis last month.

Christie holds the ECHL record with 667 wins as coach over 18 seasons. He played under Granato with Peoria in 1999-2000 when the Riverman won the ECHL Kelly Cup championship, and then succeeded Granato as the team’s coach. Christie was Granato’s assistant with AHL Chicago from 2008-10.


Wilford spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach in Anaheim, and spent the previous seven seasons as an assistant on various AHL teams.

Stars sign two more

The Dallas Stars signed two more free agents, inking defenseman Jani Hakanpaa and veteran forward Michael Raffl a day after opening free agency with a flurry of moves.

Hakanpaa, who split last season between Anaheim and Carolina, signed a $4.5 million, three-year deal. The 29-year-old, 6-foot-5-inch Finn has played in only 62 career NHL regular season games, and got into 11 playoff games with the Hurricanes last season.

The 32-year-old Raffl, an eight-year NHL veteran, agreed to a $1.1 million, one-year deal after playing for Philadelphia and Washington last season. He has skated in 514 regular season games, all but 10 with the Flyers, who traded him to the Capitals in April. His 163 career points include 82 goals and 81 assists, and he has 21 career game-winning goals while averaging fewer than 14 minutes of ice time per game.

Helm, Avalanche agree to deal

The Colorado Avalanche, agreed to terms with forward Darren Helm on a $1 million, one-year contract, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced … Minnesota signed defenseman Jon Merrill, a teammate of Perry’s with Montreal, to a one-year deal worth $850,000 … The New York Rangers agreed to terms with 21-year-old restricted free agent forward Filip Chytil on a two-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed. Chytil scored 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 42 games last season.