With NHL free agency set to begin on Friday, many teams are not waiting to make blockbuster moves. Tuesday saw a flurry of moves involving big name players.

Steven Stamkos chooses to remain in Tampa Bay

Free agency just got a tad less exciting with the news that Steven Stamkos will be staying put in Tampa Bay. Stamkos was the biggest name on the market in free agency, but the Lightning were able to re-sign him to an eight-year deal for $68 million for a cap hit of $8.5 million per season. The news was first reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie. Craig Custance of ESPN also reports that the deal includes a no-movement clause.

By staying with his current team, Stamkos was allowed to sign for the maximum length of eight years. Had he gone elsewhere, the longest he could have signed for was seven years. There was talk of possibly Tampa attempting a sign-and-trade deal if it looked like they were not going to be able to sign Stamkos, but this deal will put an end to that speculation. Stamkos is in Tampa for the long haul.

In the end, this was the destination that made the most sense. Stamkos is one of the best scorers in the NHL and, at 26 years old, he's entering his prime. Though there has been talk of tension between him and Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, Cooper has made the Lightning a Stanley Cup contender. Tampa came within one win of two consecutive conference championships despite Stamkos missing all but one playoff game. Any of the other teams thought to be in the chase for Stamkos this summer do not have nearly as much talent as Tampa's roster currently boasts. If Stamkos wants to win, Tampa makes the most sense.

 

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Montreal Canadiens trade P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber

The Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators swapped all-star defensemen as the Canadiens shipped the mercurial P.K. Subban in exchange for Shea Weber, as first reported by Nick Kypreos of SportsNet. The move comes just before Subban's no-movement clause was set to kick in on Friday.

There were a lot of rumors flying around about possible trades involving Subban, but much of the speculation surrounded Montreal's desire to trade up in the draft. The fact that Shea Weber could be on the table caught everyone by surprise, but it's a deal Nashville absolutely had to make.

Weber is a phenomenal player and was the captain of the Predators. He has spent his entire career in Nashville and was the team captain. But how could they pass this up?

Nashville gets Subban, who won the Norris Trophy in 2013 as the NHL's top defenseman, a player who is just as good if not better than Weber, and who is nearly four years younger. Subban's cap hit is $9 million, which is steep, but one in which Nashville can easily absorb after shipping out Weber's hit of just over $7.8 million. Oh, and Weber's contract doesn't expire until 2026.

Subban didn't seem to fit with the culture of Montreal, but the Canadiens may soon regret chasing out one of the top defensemen in the NHL.

Edmonton Oilers trade Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for Adam Larsson

The Edmonton Oilers were in desperate need of a defenseman and they got one...at an enormous price. The Oilers announced they have traded former No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Adam Larsson.

Let's be clear. Larsson is a very good defenseman, a promising blue liner who is just 23 years old. After getting the No. 1 draft pick in seemingly every draft for the past 50 years, someone was bound to be the odd-man out and it turned out to be Hall. Edmonton got a bright young talent at a position of need in exchange for a player that was likely not in their long-term plans.

Having said all of that, Edmonton got swindled.

Hall tallied 65 points in 2015-16 (26 goals, 39 assists). That kind of offensive talent is hard to come by and it certainly should have netted them a greater return than just Larsson.

General manager Peter Chiarelli also now has the dubious distinction of having traded the first two picks of the 2010 draft as he also traded Tyler Seguin as the general manager in Boston. How'd that trade work out?

 

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