The always exciting NHL Free Agency period kicked off on July 1st, and this year's edition didn't disappoint. While the big stories centered around Phil Kessel moving to Pittsburgh and Chris Pronger being elected to the Hall of Fame and getting traded in the same week, a few ND alums signed new contracts on the first day of free agency. Now former Ottawa Senators winger Erik Condra signed a 3-year 3.75 million dollar deal with the Stanley Cup runner up Tampa Bay Lightning. Condra was expected to stay in Ottawa, but the Senators failed to match the offer from Tampa. The Sens offered Condra a two year deal, but not a third year like Tampa Bay. "I was more than excited," Condra said, "It's always nice to go to a top-end team that's competing for the Cup."
Former Irish captain Anders Lee signed a new contract with the New York Islanders, and he'll be receiving a significantly larger paycheck next year. Lee agreed to a four-year, 15 million dollar offer with the Isles who will be moving to Brooklyn's Barclay's Center from the Nassau Coliseum next fall. The winger was fourth among rookies in scoring with 41 points for the surprise Islanders who reached the playoffs before losing in seven games to Washington. Lee was a restricted free agent, but ultimately had no desire to leave New York. The four year deal will buy him out of one year of unrestricted free agency.
While it was overshadowed by the Kessel news coming out of Pittsburgh, defenseman Ian Cole signed a new contract with the Penguins. Cole, like Lee was a restricted free agent, and his new three-year, 6.2 million dollar deal will buy him out of two years of free agency. Cole began his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues before being traded to Pittsburgh before last season's trade deadline. Cole excelled with the Penguins during the tailed end of the 14/15 season, and is expected to play a greater role next season.