Here we go.
Free agency will open in the NHL at noon EDT on Sunday, putting some 140 players who played 20+ games in the league last season out on the auction block.
We've broken down the best of that bunch over the past week, listing the top 10 goaltenders, top 35 defencemen and top 55 forwards for a top 100 unrestricted free agents compilation that you can follow throughout the day.
Despite the relatively weak free agent class, I'm expecting there to be as many wild contract offers as ever, as teams have a huge amount of cap space to work with given the cap is at an all-time high of $70.2-million.
In this space, I'll be updating as every signing and trade comes in, with the latest news at the top of the blog.
Simply hit refresh to see the latest news and analysis:
5 p.m. Will wrap up here with the live blog. Check our main site as more updates continue to come in.
4:34 p.m. Adrian Aucoin signs a one-year deal in Columbus. There's their replacement for losing Marc Methot to Ottawa earlier in the day.
4:17 p.m. Chris Mason signs back with Nashville to backup Pekka Rinne on a one-year, $1.25-million deal.
4:10 p.m. Some of the names in the middle range are starting to finally go. P-A Parenteau, who had a phenomenal season with the Islanders, signs in Colorado for four years at $4-million a season.
That's a lot of money for a guy who isn't a household name, but he has shown he has 60-point talent playing in tough situations (albeit with good linemates) and should help the Avs.
“P-A is a skilled winger who will instantly improve our offence,” Avs GM Greg Sherman said. “He’s a dynamic player who will help our power play and compliment our young centres.”
4:07 p.m. Alexei Ponikarovsky has gone to the Jets, where he'll be reunited with Nik Antropov. One-year deal for $1.8-million in a solid risk free signing on a day when there have been some silly ones.
4:01 p.m. Panthers have signed George Parros on a two-year deal ($925,000 a season).
3:55 p.m. The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with defenceman Sheldon Brookbank on a two-year contract.
3:43 p.m. Bruce Garrioch has defenceman Greg Zanon signing in Colorado
3:34 p.m. Brandon Prust is also going to Montreal: Four years at $2.5-million a season. That's a huge amount of money for a player who averaged less than 12 minutes a game last season.
3:15 p.m. The Canadiens strike again as they bring back popular defenceman Francis Bouillon on a one-year, $1.5-million deal.
3:05 p.m. The Sens have dealt Nick Foligno to Columbus for defenceman Marc Methot. Bit of a head scratcher here as Foligno had a 47-point season and looked poised to play a key role with the Sens for the next few years.
Methot is a solid defensive defender who can replace Matt Carkner on Ottawa's back end, but Latendresse over Foligno is a downgrade. One issue was obviously what Foligno wanted on a new contract, as he's a restricted free agent.
3:03 p.m. Pierre LeBrun is reporting that Dustin Penner has signed a one-year deal to stay with the Kings. (UPDATE: The deal is for $3.25-million, so he takes a paycut to remain with the champs.)
3:02 p.m. It's now confirmed that Guillaume Latendresse will sign with the Senators.
2:44 p.m. Filip Kuba signs with the Panthers on a two-year deal for $8-million. He will be looked at as the replacement for Jason Garrison, who is likely going to hit a home run in free agency.
So, as expected, the Senators will need a new defence partner for Erik Karlsson next season.
2:40 p.m. Two more checking winger types find new homes. Jets fan favourite Tanner Glass lands with the Penguins (two years at $1.1-million a season) while former Penguin Arron Asham signed with the Rangers (two years at $1-million per).
2:32 p.m. We have a lull here between signings. There are still the vast majority of the "big" names available. At this point, it appears unlikely Zach Parise or Ryan Suter sign on the first day.
2:10 p.m. Now TSN is reporting Matt Carkner has signed a three-year deal with the Islanders ($1.5-million a season). Which is strange given the Avs tweeted they had signed him earlier in the day... (a tweet that has since been deleted).
2:03 p.m. Islanders sign Brad Boyes on a very cheap one-year, $1-million deal, which is a huge paycut for the former 40-goal man. He has really struggled the past couple of seasons (including just eight goals last year) but may slide in alongside John Tavares and find a fit on Long Island.
There's not much risk here given the contract is well below a league average salary.
2 p.m. Adam Burish has signed in San Jose, and Curtis McElhinney has signed in Columbus.
1:51 p.m. Brad Staubitz goes to Anaheim on a two-year deal.
1:45 p.m. Ray Whitney signs with the Stars. He had a phenomenal year with the Coyotes last season with 77 points at 40 years old and cashes in with $4.5-million a year over two seasons.
That's obviously huge money for a smallish winger who is getting up there in age, but Whitney is in great shape and teams are going to pay a huge price to add offence this year with so few players able to even put up 40-point seasons. Just wait until names like P-A Parenteau start to go.
“Ray Whitney was among the most productive players in the league last season and showed he remains extremely capable and dangerous,” Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said. “He’s a winner, a competitor and a leader, and we’re very excited he’ll be a Dallas Star.”
1:38 p.m. Here's an interesting one: Colby Armstrong to the Montreal Canadiens on a one-year, $1-million deal.
Armstrong was bought out by the Leafs of the final year of his deal on Saturday after an injury plagued two seasons in Toronto. Now he goes to a division rival to try and prove he has something left in the tank.
Knowing him a little bit, my guess is he'll be plenty motivated for a rebound year.
1:30 p.m. RDS is reporting that Torrey Mitchell has signed a three-year deal with the Wild ($1.9-million a season) and that Guillaume Latendresse is undergoing a physical with the Senators and is expected to sign in Ottawa.
1:27 p.m. Former Sens tough guy Zenon Konopka goes to Minnesota on a two-year deal.
1:16 p.m. Ottawa signs defenceman Mike Lundin. He missed almost all of last season due to injury but was a pretty big part of the Lightning team that went to the conference finals two years ago and can play 20+ minutes a night in a shutdown role.
No terms available yet on Lundin's deal, but he could be a good bet at a reasonable figure. (UPDATE: It's a one-year, $1.15-million deal. Good signing.)
1:14 p.m. The Rangers sign defenceman Stu Bickel on a two-year deal.
1:10 p.m. The Hurricanes have signed defenceman Joe Corvo to a one-year, $2-million and goaltender Justin Peters to a two-year deal for just over the league's minimum ($525,000 and $550,000).
1 p.m. The Avs have added both Matt Carkner and John Mitchell, adding a former Sens defenceman and Leafs centre. Two depth players who will play on the third pairing and fourth line. (UPDATE: Carkner's agent is saying there's not a deal with the Avs yet even though Colorado has tweeted he had signed there. This could get messy.)
12:50 p.m. TSN is reporting John Mitchell will land with Colorado on a two-year deal ($1.1-million a season).
12:39 p.m. David Moss, a former Flames winger who is the cousin of Phil Kessel, has signed a two-year deal for $2.1-million a season with the Coyotes. (Via Bob McKenzie)
“David, a former 20-goal scorer, is a big, versatile player who will provide secondary scoring and back-up depth at our centre position,” Maloney said. “Our associate coach, Jim Playfair, coached David in Calgary and believes he will be an excellent addition for us. We are pleased to add him to our roster.”
12:37 p.m. We have some more movement. Netminder Jonas Gustavsson signs a two-year deal with the Red Wings for $1.5-million a season, giving them a backup behind Jim Howard.
Gustavsson struggled in Toronto with health problems and inconsistency but should be an okay fit in a more limited role on a strong defensive team in Detroit. The dollar figure is high, however, given his track record and the fact there are several backups in need of new homes.
“He played in a very tough Toronto market where their team had trouble and he was kind of leaned on to be the guy and it might have been a bit too much,” said Jim Devellano, the Wings’ senior vice-president. “I think with the Red Wings we’ll have a better team, and I think he’ll do just fine.”
12:35 p.m. The Wild confirm they have submitted offers to both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. They are one of a handful of teams that are going after both of the top guys this year. Both players are from near Minnesota so if they want a home coming, that's their option.
12:20 p.m. Jets re-sign Derek Meech on a one-year, two-way deal for $700,000 at the NHL level. He was hurt almost the entire season but has some ability and should get a chance to play in Winnipeg next season.
12:07 p.m. Flyers reportedly re-sign netminder Michael Leighton, who spent last year in the minors but appears will be their backup behind Ilya Bryzgalov to start next season.
Philadelphia had been looking to upgrade at the backup position and were interested in Tomas Vokoun before he went to Pittsburgh, but it's a thin crew of free agent netminders. They should also have options in the fall as there aren't enough homes for the goalies that are available.
12:05 p.m. Lightning re-sign Benoit Pouliot.
11:27 a.m. Captain Canada stays put on Canada Day: Ryan Smyth re-signs with the Oilers on a two-year deal for $2.25-million a season. (Via Darren Dreger)
That's a very reasonable contract for a player who had close to 50 points the past two seasons and can still contribute in a lot of areas.
11:26 a.m. Jordan Staal has a new contract with the Hurricanes. It's identical to the 10-year, $60-million one the Pittsburgh Penguins had been offering before the trade, proving he was not in this move for the money.
I'm very pleased we'll be announcing shortly that Jordan Staal has committed to make his home in Carolina for a long time.- Jim Rutherford (@HurricanesGM) July 1, 2012
11 a.m. The first deal of the day. Brad May is reporting that netminder Scott Clemmensen will re-sign with the Panthers, which could have interesting ramifications on the goalie market elsewhere.
Florida had been rumoured to be in the mix for Roberto Luongo and Martin Brodeur; does this change that? GM Dale Tallon said at the draft he was happy with his goaltenders' play last season.
Hearing clemmenson re-signs with @panthers for 2yrs. In the 1.2 million per range- Brad May (@maydayhockey) July 1, 2012