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This This Dec. 8, 2009, file photo shows New York Islanders goalie Martin Biron watching the puck shot by Philadelphia Flyers' Jeff Carter in the third period of an NHL hockey game, in Philadelphia. Veteran goalie Martin Biron signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers on Thursday, July 1, 2010, less than one hour into the NHL's free-agent shopping season. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Matt Slocum/AP2009

The NHL's free agency is underway as of noon EDT. Refresh often for the latest updates and analysis below:

12 p.m. The Flyers have acquired defenceman Andrej Meszaros from the Lightning for a second-round pick in 2012. The deal frees up some considerable salary for Steve Yzerman in Tampa Bay and may mean Philadelphia can't come to terms with RFA Braydon Coburn.

12:02 p.m. The Rangers have signed netminder Martin Biron to backup Henrik Lundqvist. No terms yet, but I'll have them when they come in. The goaltending market is expected to be incredibly crowded given all of the veterans available, and some guys are going to end up without a home. Tampa Bay and San Jose still need a starter. (Terms: Two years at $875,000 a season.)

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12:15 p.m. Two rumours of note that I've heard. One, if the Devils aren't able to re-sign Paul Martin, they'll be pursuing Sergei Gonchar, who wants a fairly long-term deal given his age. Two, the Rangers could very well be an unexpected team in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes. New York would have to look seriously at demoting Wade Redden and his behemoth contract to the minors, but I'm told that's a possibility. (Other teams in the market for Kovalchuk include the Kings and Blues, with the Devils and Leafs potentially involved.)

12:20 p.m. So much for my Gonchar rumour. He's signed with the Senators, taking a three-year deal at $5.5-million a season and essentially replacing Anton Volchenkov on Ottawa's blueline. While getting up there, Gonchar is still an excellent defenceman, a No. 1 for now who can play the power play and penalty kill. Where that deal may be problematic is in its final year, but he's an underrated player and brings a more all-around game than Volchenkov. This is an upgrade.

Here's Dave Shoalts: "Stealing Gonchar away from the Penguins was a great move by Senators GM Bryan Murray. By throwing in the third year on a contract that Penguins GM Ray Shero was not willing to give, Murray got one of the best offensive defencemen in the league."

12:22 p.m. Hard to believe so many deals so soon. It's amazing teams can get things done so quickly.

12:25 p.m. And Coburn re-signs with the Flyers. That's a whole lot of defence in Philadelphia between Pronger, Timonen, Carle, Coburn and Meszaros. I'd imagine someone might be on the move there.

12:26 p.m. Alex Tanguay has reportedly signed back in Calgary, likely for a bargain given his struggles recently. Tanguay had a really tough time with the Lightning last year but could rebound with the Flames. (Terms: One year at $1.7-million.)

12:29 p.m. A reminder that our extensive list of the top 100 unrestricted free agents is available here. I'll update it later in the day to cross off those who are gone.

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12:33 p.m. Globe Sports reporter Matt Sekeres on the Senators: "Heard they were in talks to re-sign centre Matt Cullen, but he has gotten to free agency and Ottawa is now shy on cap space."

12:37 p.m. Erik Christensen has re-signed with the Rangers. (Terms: Two years at just under $1-million a season.)

12:45 p.m. An important thing to remember as teams like Chicago, Philadelphia and others approach the salary cap: Teams are allowed to exceed the cap by up to 10 per cent in the off-season. So that means that on a $59.4-million cap, you can spend up to $65.3-million until after training camp. I expect a few teams to use that overage today.

12:51 p.m. The Hurricanes have signed defenceman Anton Babchuk out of the KHL. (Term: One year, $1.4-million.)

12:56 p.m. For breakdowns on where teams are against the cap, check out throughout the day. They're staying on top of all the latest signings as they come in.

1 p.m. Martin St. Louis has signed a four-year extension with the Lightning for an average of $5.625-million a season. Busy day for Yzerman so far. A goalie's likely on his list next.

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"Today is a great day for the Lightning organization," Yzerman said. "Marty means so much to this franchise, both on and off the ice. His hard work and dedication are unsurpassed and we are thrilled that he will finish his career here in Tampa Bay."

1:02 p.m. Here's Matt Sekeres on a sentiment that applies to all of the top teams in the Western Conference: "Already a good free agency day for the Canucks and their fans. In fact, Vancouver doesn't have to do anything on July 1 and it will be a good day for the franchise. Why? The weakening of the Chicago Blackhawks, of course. Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel. All gone. The Blackhawks may be beasts in a few years when all their new prospects - Nick Leddy, Jeremy Morin, Kevin Hayes - blossom, but for the moment, the Canucks have to feel like they stack up a little better against the Stanley Cup champs."

1:05 p.m. Blues sign RFA centre Vladimir Sobotka on a one-year deal worth $750,000. St. Louis picked up Sobotka from Boston in a trade last week.

1:12 p.m. The Penguins have signed defenceman Zbynek Michalek, filling the roster spot for Gonchar for the moment. Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero is keen on upgrading his blueline for next season and may add another defenceman. Michalek is young and good defensively but hasn't produced a lot of offence. Kris Letang is likely taking over power play quarterbacking duties in Pittsburgh. (Terms: Five years at $4-million a season.)

1:27 p.m. Here's Eric Duhatschek on the Lightning's moves so far: "Yzerman, is seriously showing his chops today - two important moves already, one of shed the organization of a contract it couldn't afford by sending Andrej Meszaros to the Philadelphia Flyers and getting a second-round in return; then by locking up Martin St. Louis on a four-year contract extension. St. Louis had made it clear that he would only stay on in Tampa if he got a clear signal that the organization was serious about winning. Something Yzerman told him during their one-on-one sit down must have convinced him that they were serious about getting it turned around, within the next couple of years. Also: Guess that potential for discord because Yzerman didn't pick St. Louis for the Olympic team was overblown."

1:29 p.m. Montreal signs Alex Auld to a one-year, $1-million contract. Given all of the goaltenders available today and so few jobs for them, they could have gotten a better netminder at that price. It's now clear that Carey Price will be the No. 1 next season.

1:34 p.m. The Leafs have signed winger Colby Armstrong for three years at $3-million a season. The contract is a bit high given he doesn't offer a ton of offence, but he should be able to play a role on the penalty kill and in the locker room. Armstrong was the player at the top of Toronto's list today.

1:37 p.m. Sharks sign Antero Niittymaki as their netminder for $2-million a season for two years. That's a solid choice given the way he played with the Lightning and frees up some serious salary to replace Rob Blake on defence. Expect San Jose to be major players for Paul Martin.

"Antero is a proven goaltender who has been the most valuable player in both the Olympics and the Calder Cup playoffs," said Sharks GM Doug Wilson. "We feel that he can be extremely successful with our style of play and that he will be a perfect compliment to any of the goalies that are currently in our system."

1:47 p.m. The Blues have re-signed RFA Alex Steen on a four-year deal.

1:50 p.m. Canucks have signed defensive centre Manny Malhotra on a three-year deal for $2.5-million a season. Big raise from what he made last year when no team wanted him until the fall. Malhotra had a great season in San Jose.

1:53 p.m. Defenceman Sean O'Donnell has signed a one-year, $1-million deal (plus bonuses) with the Flyers, who now have far too many defencemen. Philadelphia has to be close to being over the cap, too.

2 p.m. Defenceman Derek Morris is back in Phoenix, signing for four years at $11-million total. The Coyotes really wanted to keep Michalek but weren't able to meet his asking price. Tough when your budget is so far under the cap. Morris has played some good hockey for them over the years, however.

2:10 p.m. Kris Versteeg is speaking with the Leafs media at 3 p.m. and we'll have a story on that on the home page shortly after that.

2:15 p.m. Bit of a lull here. Pittsburgh and Los Angeles are bidding over Paul Martin, however, and it could be a big-time contract. He's a very underrated talent and likely worth the money.

2:18 p.m. Duhatschek has a great breakdown of the latest in Calgary, with a close look at the Marc Savard back to the Flames rumblings.

2:19 p.m. Flyers sign enforcer Jody Shelley, who turned down a deal with the Rangers earlier this week. It looks like it's a three-year deal for about $1-million a season, which is an awful lot for what he brings. I didn't expect Philadelphia to be nearly this busy given how tight they are against the cap.

2:26 p.m. Netminder Dan Ellis has signed in Tampa Bay, where he'll get a very good shot to play as the No. 1. He signs for a relative bargain ($1.5-million a year for two seasons) basically for the right to play a lot (which is what he said he wanted more than a big payday). This leaves an awful lot of goaltenders without a place to play given so few teams need a goalie: Evgeni Nabokov, Chris Mason, Marty Turco and Jose Theodore, among others.

2:27 p.m. Jesse Winchester signs a two-year deal to stay in Ottawa.

2:32 p.m. Defenceman Paul Martin has signed in Pittsburgh, essentially replacing Gonchar. The long-time Devils star will be the Penguins No. 1 defender and brings a solid all-around game. Martin was, in my mind, one of the real catches of the free agent class this year, and combined with Michalek, will make the Pens better defensively. (Terms for Martin: Five years, $25-million.)

2:43 p.m. The Rangers have responded to losing Shelley by signing behemoth goon Derek Boogaard, on a four-year deal for an incredible $1.65-million a year. So there's your head scratcher of the day. He'll likely play four minutes a night, never score and do little else.

3 p.m. The Ducks have signed defenceman Toni Lydman for three years at $3-million per. He's a solid all-around defender who has played for years with the Sabres. Big time rebuild in Anaheim given the loss of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer in back to back years. And Buffalo's back end could be in trouble if they also lose Henrik Tallinder.

3:15 p.m. Veteran winger Ray Whitney signs with the Phoenix Coyotes on a two-year deal. He's 38 but has some gas left in the tank and had 58 points last season. Deal is for $3-million a season.

3:43 p.m. Big lull here with a lot of top free agents still available, but the latest is that the Flames are working to bring Olli Jokinen back. I couldn't, however, tell you why. Jokinen has a terrible reputation now in Florida, Phoenix and Calgary.

3:45 p.m. One of the players I believed the Leafs would pursue heavily, Raffi Torres, could very well no longer be in the mix for Toronto given they've signed Armstrong. The Leafs are now concentrating on landing defenceman Dan Hamhuis, who is also being pursued by Vancouver and Los Angeles.

3:55 p.m. The Devils have added defenceman Henrik Tallinder on a four-year, $13.5-million deal, and he'll serve as somewhat of a Paul Martin replacement. Tallinder's a very, very underrated defensive player, and the Sabres are going to miss him. He'll fit in well in New Jersey.

3:59 p.m. The Oilers are on the board: They've added defenceman Kurtis Foster on a two-year contract for a total of $3.6-million. Foster had a real solid year last season in Tampa Bay with 42 points, and he's an effective producer on the power play. That's a decent bargain given the market for defencemen has been pretty hot today.

4:05 p.m. Leafs GM Brian Burke will address the media at 5 p.m. It sounds like Toronto narrowly missed out on adding defenceman Dan Hamhuis and are done for the day. We'll have more on the home page shortly.

4:06 p.m. Speaking of Hamhuis, early indications are he's headed to his home province with the Canucks. Will look for confirmation on that.

4:23 p.m. Former Sens defenceman Anton Volchenkov has signed in New Jersey for six years at $4.25-million a year. Volchenkov and Tallinder will make the already defensive Devils that much better defensively.

4:25 p.m. Hamhuis to Vancouver is essentially a done deal. He receives $4.5-million a year for six years, apparently taking a hometown discount to return to B.C. Expect Canucks GM Mike Gillis to now shop one of his defencemen, likely Kevin Bieksa.

4:27 p.m. Olli Jokinen has, in fact, landed back in Calgary. Two years, $6-million. To me, this looks like Flames GM Darryl Sutter trying to prove he was justified in dealing a first-rounder and Matt Lombardi for Jokinen a year ago. Jokinen's stock has dropped like a rock the past few seasons and his only real success, in Florida, came against weak opposition and in a situation where he was relied heavily on for offence.

4:30 p.m. Chris Mason has signed with the Thrashers on a two-year, $3.4-million deal, getting one of the last available spots for a netminder. He'll split time with youngster Ondrej Pavelec. Mason was in lengthy negotiations with the Blues before they dealt for Jaroslav Halak, and reportedly turned down as much as $3.5-million a season over three years. Now he's had to settle for far less in Atlanta.

Tough to be a netminder these days.

4:38 p.m. The Blackhawks have moved yet another forward in an effort to get under the cap, dealing RFA Andrew Ladd to the Thrashers for a second-round pick and prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy. Chicago's cap woes are considerable, as the team is working with a salary cap $4.19-million lower than any other team due to going over the cap this past season. They still need to sign RFAs like Antti Niemi and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

4:46 p.m. The biggest names left unsigned are Kovalchuk, Nabokov, Kubina, Mitchell, Lombardi, Frolov, Selanne, Turco, Prospal, Stempniak, Cullin, Afinogenov, Ponikarovsky and Kariya. The full list of free agents is here.

4:50 p.m. Duhatschek is as befuddled as the rest of us on the Jokinen signing.

5:02 p.m. The Canucks have signed Jeff Tambellini, adding some forward depth in the form of Oilers GM Steve Tambellini's son. He hasn't made much of an impact in the NHL lately and struggled with the Islanders, so don't expect too much there.

5:20 p.m. Allan Maki on Calgary's wild day: "If the Flames brought back Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen, and also made a pass for Marc Savard, what's their next move? Brining back Jim Peplinski and Joel Otto? The Pengrowth Saddleome is now the place where original thinking goes to die. Probably the Flames, too."

5:42 p.m. After a quick break there, a few more signings to add to the list:

Backup netminder Johan Hedberg has signed to play behind Martin Brodeur with the Devils. Vinny Prospal has re-upped with the Rangers on a bargain of a one-year contract ($1-million plus bonuses). And the Sabres have finally landed a defenceman to replace the two lost earlier today by adding Jordan Leopold on a three-year contract.

5:47 p.m. Saku Koivu has re-signed with the Ducks on a two-year deal for $2.5-million.

6:02 p.m. Deals have definitely slowed down but I'll keep updating another couple hours. And expect there to be plenty of activity tomorrow, too.

6:26 p.m. Former Sens centre Matt Cullen has signed a three-year, $10.5-million deal with the Wild, who are in desperate need for a few upgrades. And Blackhawks pest Adam Burish has caught on with the Stars on a two-year deal for just over $1-million a season.

6:50 p.m. Netminder Andrew Raycroft has found a home with the Stars, signing a two-year deal for $650,000 a year to backup Kari Lehtonen.

7:15 p.m. That is going to wrap up the live blog. Check out the home page later tonight for more coverage from Eric Duhatschek, Dave Shoalts and Matt Sekeres, and follow me on Twitter for instant updates the next few days. Generally the second day of free agency is also fairly active.

And here's the free agent big board that shows who's left after Day 1 and roughly 30 signings.

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