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Free agency in the NHL hasn't officially started yet, but some teams are already on the ball when it comes to locking up their own star players.

Back for more: LA re-signs Gaborik (via baltimoresun.com)
Fresh off winning their Stanley Cup championship just a few weeks ago, and unwilling to let their most dynamic goal-scorer from these past playoffs to test the market as an unrestriced free agent, the Los Angeles Kings signed Marian Gaborik to a seven-year, $34 million contract that will keep the 32-year-old in Black and Silver until the end of the 2021 season.

I guess scoring 14 goals and registering 21 total points en route to bringing home the Cup can do quite a bit in bagging a contract that pays some huge dough. Gaborik will earn an average annual salary of $4.875 million a year, nearly $2 million less per-year than his previous contract, meaning Gaborik is totally fine with leaving some cash on the table if it means he gets to stay with the Kings, who without a doubt have a good thing going.

Bringing back Gaborik is certainly great news for the Kings, but the length of the contract can become a burden three or four years down the road for Los Angeles. Gaborik has dealt with multiple injuries in the past, so handing him the security of such a long-term deal can come back to bite them if he breaks down again.

Back in the Bay: Cally reups with Tampa (via fansided.com)
The Tampa Bay Lightning also locked up one of their impending free agents, as they signed Ryan Callahan to a six-year, $34.8 million contract, which carries an annual cap hit of $5.8 million a year. Callahan was shipped out of New York and to the Sunshine State after the Rangers were unwilling to sign him to a long-term, big money deal with fears over his durability as he gets older. Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman apparently has no worries with Callahan's ability to stay healthy going forward, but then again, having Callahan walk for nothing after swapping him for Lightning icon Marty St. Louis was not an option for Tampa Bay.

Lastly, The Denver Post reports that Colorado Avalanche forward Paul Stastny will test free agency and become one of the most sought after skaters on the market. Stastny hasn't yet ruled out a return to the Avs, but with the opportunity to be courted by multiple teams offering to pay him nearly $6 million a year, Stastny could not pass up the chance for the first time in his eight-year career. One things for sure: the Bruins will not be one of the teams dialing Stastny's number. 





Mark Burke 6/25/2014 08:15:00 PM Edit

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