The biggest contracts signed today will most likely not be inked by unrestricted free agents or even restricted free agents. In addition to today being the day that NHL Free Agency opens, it is also the day where players entering the final year of their current contracts can sign contract extensions with their current teams.
The Chicago Blackhawks dynamic duo of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will headline that group, with contracts that will likely be in the $75-80M range over 8 years. The Ottawa Senators have 5 players in that situation, with Bobby Ryan set cash in the biggest. Clarke MacArthur, Marc Methot, Craig Anderson and Jason Spezza are also in that boat, although a Spezza extension will be signed somewhere else when it happens.
Mike Green (Washington Capitals), David Krejci (Boston Bruins), Marc Staal (New York Rangers), Marc-Andre Fleury Pittsburgh Penguins) ,Brandon Dubinsky (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils) are among the other top players in line for long term extensions that could be signed as early as today.
So while much of the focus today will be on players switching teams for far too much money,the biggest contracts signed today will most likely be for those elite players who are a year away from unrestricted free agency status.