When the clock strikes noon in the East (11 a.m. in the Central Time zone), NHL free agency will officially begin, and players are free to sign with whichever team they want. The day is usually very active, with over 80 players signing new deals last year on the opening day of the free agent signing window.
Whether it's a team like the Chicago Blackhawks (who have just $1.5 million in salary cap space but still need to add a veteran defenseman and perhaps a forward) or the Arizona Coyotes (who have to spend at least $14 million just to get to the salary cap floor), there are plenty of teams who will be active on July 1.
5:05 p.m. - The Bruins have made another move, shipping Reilly Smith to the Florida Panthers in exchange for former Blackhawks winger Jimmy Hayes.
Pending trade call, Florida trades Jimmy Hayes to Boston for Reilly Smith — Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 1, 2015
5:00 p.m. - Our story on the Brad Richards signing in Detroit. [Madhouse Enforcer]
4:55 p.m. - The Boston Bruins have landed a big name in free agency, as it appears that they're grabbing Matt Beleskey off the market.
Told Matt Beleskey very close on 5 yr deal to Boston. — Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2015
4:30 p.m. - Brad Richards has signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings, leaving the Blackhawks after one season.
1 yr for Richards to Det. $3 mil with bonus to $4 mil — Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2015
4:00 p.m. - Not a lot going on right now as teams are having their executives speak to media members, indicating that they're finished for the day. Here is one signing we missed from earlier:
3:20 p.m. - Another former Blackhawks player could be moving on to a different team:
Johnny Oduya sitting on a very good offer but veteran defenseman will be patient in his decision-making today. — Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) July 1, 2015
3:15 p.m. - A couple of moves percolating, with Brad Richards nearing a 1-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings and Max Reinhart getting traded to the Nashville Predators:
2:50 p.m. - The Detroit Red Wings aren't known for making splashes on the opening day of free agency, but they did that on Wednesday as they inked Mike Green to a three year contract that will pay him $6 million per season:
2:10 p.m. - We apologize if you saw the tweet formerly in this space about a Vladimir Tarasenko offer sheet. Someone created a fake Twitter account for Blues beat writer Andy Strickland and tweeted the information. Still not exactly sure why folks do that, but we regret the error anyway.
1:55 p.m. - Jack Eichel officially signs a three-year entry level deal with the Buffalo Sabres. Also reports out that Viktor Stalberg, the former Blackhawks winger who was recently bought out of his contract by the Nashville Predators, has signed with the New York Rangers.
1:35 p.m. - Tons of trade rumors swirling at the moment. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is being mentioned as a candidate, with the Rangers as a possible destination. Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell also being talked about, with Sharp connected to the Islanders and Bickell to the Bruins. Finally, the Rangers could be looking to move Keith Yandle.
1:20 p.m. - John Moore is headed back East, signing a three-year deal with the New Jersey Devils. He recently played for the Arizona Coyotes after being dealt there in the Keith Yandle trade.
1:10 p.m. - Zack Kassian gets shipped to the Montreal Canadiens. Still a ton of players left available on the board, but we're looking at small trades like this as things are slowing down two hours into free agency.
12:55 p.m. - Surprising news out of New York, as Glen Sather is stepping down as the GM of the Rangers.
Glen Sather to step down as GM of the Rangers with Jeff Gorton taking over, according to reports — Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) July 1, 2015
12:45 p.m. - More reports out that the Blackhawks have signed Viktor Tikhonov to a one-year deal worth just under $1.5 million. We have the full story on the blog. [Madhouse Enforcer]
12:40 p.m. - Alex Burmistrov will return after a two-year stint in the KHL and has signed with the Winnipeg Jets.
12:20 p.m. - A potential free agent target for the Blackhawks has gone elsewhere, as Barret Jackman will head to the Nashville Predators.
Barrett Jackman is going to Nashville. — Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 1, 2015
12:15 p.m. - The Penguins will send Scott Harrington, Paskeri Kapanen, and a first round pick to the Maple Leafs in exchange for Phil Kessel, Sportsnet reports.
12:03 p.m. - Another big contract has been signed, as former Blackhawks forward Michael Frolik has signed with the Calgary Flames.
12:00 p.m. - Monster deal emerging in the NHL as the Maple Leafs have sent Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
11:45 a.m. - The Oilers have landed Andrej Sekera with a six-year contract that will pay him over $5 million per season. Big deal there. Also gets a no-movement clause.
11:38 a.m. - Big news out of San Jose, as the Sharks have signed defenseman Paul Martin. The move really hurts the Pittsburgh Penguins' blue line, but it's a big get for the Sharks:
Done deal. Paul Martin has agreed to a four-year deal with the San Jose Sharks. — Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 1, 2015
11:35 a.m. - The Minnesota Wild continue to lock up players, as they made the Mike Reilly signing official and also announced that they've brought back Nate Prosser:
Wild just announced Nate Prosser is back on a two year deal. — Giles Ferrell (@gilesferrell) July 1, 2015
11:27 a.m. - It looks like the Edmonton Oilers are going to be making some pretty serious additions as the team looks to ice a more competitive product next season:
11:13 a.m. - Several moves being made already in free agency. Defenseman Matt Hunwick is headed to the Toronto Maple Leafs, while Thomas Greiss is heading to the New York Islanders. A big deal also took place in Colorado, where defenseman Francois Beauchemin has agreed to a three-year deal with the Avalanche.
11:10 a.m. - The Blackhawks could still potentially sign Andrew Desjardins to a new contract, but there's another fourth line winger that could be on their radar:
Chicago, Tampa and Calgary all in the running for Viktor Tikhonov — Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) July 1, 2015
11:05 a.m. - The Minnesota Wild secured one of their young stars to a new deal early on in free agency:
11:00 a.m. - Two signings announced just as free agency started: the Blackhawks make the Artem Anisimov extension official (you can read about that here), and the Vancouver Canucks signed free agent defenseman Yannick Weber to a 1-year deal worth $1.5 million.
10:50 a.m. - Not a free agent deal, but it does appear that the number two pick in the NHL Entry Draft will be suiting up in the NHL next season:
10:40 a.m. - Current Winnipeg Jets forward (and former Chicago Blackhawks ace penalty killer) Michael Frolik will likely be hitting the open market when free agency begins in 20 minutes.
10:25 a.m. - The Pittsburgh Penguins have been looking for a top-six forward ever since the season ended, and they could have a very interesting one in mind via trade on this opening day of free agency:
9:55 a.m. - Two more signings coming over the wire, as Mike Ribeiro agrees to a two-year extension to stay with the Nashville Predators:
And goaltender Karri Ramo agrees to a one-year deal to stay with the Calgary Flames:
9:50 a.m. - The Blackhawks made a signing early this morning as they agreed to a five-year deal with center Artem Anisimov. [Madhouse Enforcer]
Another extension was also agreed to before the free agency window opens, as the Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Kevin Bieksa (whom they acquired in a trade on Tuesday) to a two-year, $8 million deal.
Of the names to keep an eye on today, one that fans should really be watching closely is winger Matt Beleskey. There is a ton of interest in the former Anaheim forward's services, and he could be the subject of a fascinating bidding war.
Other veterans could also be on the move today, with guys like Martin St. Louis and Johnny Oduya also hitting the market.