Reinhart, Guentzel kick off NHL free agency with rich, long-term deals

NHL free agency begins Monday with high-producing recent Stanley Cup champions Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Marchessault among the top players available.

Hours after a rainy rally celebrating the first championship in franchise history, Florida beat the midnight buzzer to re-sign 57-goal scorer Sam Reinhart to an eight-year contract worth $69 million.

Cross-state rival Tampa Bay beat the rush to have the chance to negotiate exclusively with Jake Guentzel over the weekend, then signed the point-a-game playoff player to a $63 million, seven-year deal. That is well worth the third-round pick the Lightning sent Carolina for Guentzel’s rights, especially after realizing they would be parting ways with Stamkos, their longtime captain who has been around since 2008.

Detroit on Sunday night kept Patrick Kane from ever hitting the open market by signing him to a $4 million contract with $2.5 million in additional incentives for next season.

Deals in Toronto for Chris Tanev and others around the league could be coming even before free agency opens at noon Eastern.

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