Okposo, Lucic on the move as NHL free agency opens

The Buffalo Sabres made the biggest splash on the opening day of NHL free agency with a $42m deal given to forward Kyle Okposo.

Okposo has signed a seven-year deal with the Sabres and provides them with an instant hit on offence after scoring 64 points in his final year with the New York Islanders.

The Islanders replaced Okposo with the signing of Andrew Ladd on a seven-year $38.5m deal and they were also able to add veteran winger Jason Chimera (two years, $4.5m).

Milan Lucic was the other big winner among Friday’s early moves, with the hard-hitting forward also earning a $42m seven-year deal from the Edmonton Oilers,

His place in Boston goes to David Backes, who signed for the Bruins on a $30m five-year contract.

Boston also lost Loui Eriksson to the Vancouver Canucks on a $36m six-year deal which could see him partnered with twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

The other big-money deals completed on Friday involved players re-signing with their current franchises.

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad signed an eight-year extension worth a reported $60m and Victor Hedman committed his future to the Tampa Bay Lightning on a $63m eight-year deal.