Lightning Moves Hockey

Corey Perry, who helped the Montreal Canadiens reach the Stanley Cup final this past season, is joining the team that beat the Canadiens – the Tampa Bay Lightning. Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The St. Louis Blues signed Brandon Saad to a five-year contract and the Tampa Bay Lightning signed 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.

Saad, 28, 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 annually against the salary cap on his new $22.5 million deal signed Thursday. Saad won the Cup with Chicago in 2013 and 2015 and is heading to his fifth NHL organization.

Perry, 36, signed a $2 million, two-year deal with Tampa Bay that counts $1 million against the salary cap. 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.

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.

He brings more grit to the Lightning, who lost forward Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman and defenseman David Savard in free agency and center Yanni Gourde in the expansion draft. General Manager Julien BriseBois showed in signing free agents Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Zach Bogosian the desire to replenish some of that lost toughness.

″(Perry) brings with him a wealth of big game experience to the Lightning,” BriseBois said.

Saad and Perry each hoisted the Cup early on in their careers, and the chance to win again factored into their decisions this time around.

“Once you get a taste of it, that’s something that there’s no better feeling,” Saad said. “When it comes down to it, I wanted to go somewhere where you have a chance of winning and you’re going to have a successful team. The Blues fit that mold.”

STARS: Dallas signed big defenseman Jani Hakanpaa to a $4.5 million, three-year deal and forward Michael Raffl to a $1.1 million, one-year contract.

Hakanpaa, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-5 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, played for Philadelphia and Washington last season. He has 82 goals and 81 assists in 514 regular-season games.

RANGERS: New York agreed to terms with 21-year-old restricted free agent forward Filip Chytil on a two-year contract.

Chytil has 34 goals and 37 assists in 186 games with the Rangers over four seasons.

AVALANCHE: Colorado agreed to terms with forward Darren Helm on a $1 million, one-year contract, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

WILD: Minnesota signed defenseman Jon Merrill to a one-year deal worth $850,000.

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