Two players traded by the Nashville Predators in recent weeks signed free agent contracts Thursday with teams other than the ones to which they were shipped.
Defenseman Dan Hamhuis signed one of the largest deals on the opening day of the free agency period when he agreed to a six-year, $27 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Goalie Dan Ellis signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Nashville shipped Hamhuis to Philadelphia on June 19. When the Flyers failed to reach an agreement with him, they traded him to Pittsburgh during last weekend’s draft. The Penguins also were unable to take advantage of the brief time they had exclusive negotiating rights.
Hamhuis was a first-round pick of the Predators in 2001. He appeared in 483 games over the past six seasons.
Ellis spent the past three seasons with the Predators, who traded him to Montreal on Tuesday. The Canadiens failed to come to terms with him on a new contract, and he too became an unrestricted free agent.
Ellis’ new deal will play him a total of $3 million.
He was 49-42-8 for Nashville. He was signed in 2007 as a backup for Chris Mason but finished that season and opened 2008-09 as the starter. By the end of 2008-09, Pekka Rinne had seized the No. 1 job.
“I’m very excited about coming to Tampa Bay,” Ellis said. “To me, the Lightning are an up-and-coming team that has all the right pieces. They have great scoring and defensive talent.”
Ellis, 30, said he wanted the opportunity to be a No. 1 goalie again.
The only netminder on the Lightning’s roster at the start of the day was 28-year-old Mike Smith. Ellis and Smith split playing time as teammates at Iowa, Dallas’ AHL affiliate, in 2005-06. Smith was promoted to the NHL ahead of Ellis the following season.
“We expect him to come in and compete for playing time with Mike Smith,” Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman said. “This is a great opportunity for Dan and we look forward to him making the most of it.”
Also Thursday, Dustin Boyd, who was traded to Montreal along with Ellis, signed a one-year, $650,000 deal with the Canadiens.