NHL Free Agents 2014 Tracker: Rumors and Destinations for Top 30 Players

Dave LozoNHL National Lead WriterJune 30, 2014

NHL Free Agents 2014 Tracker: Rumors and Destinations for Top 30 Players

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    Francois/Getty Images

    The first three days of free agency saw just about every big name pack up his bag and move.

    After three days, there are still four of our top 30 free agents in need of contracts: Dustin Penner, David Legwand, Derek Roy and Andre Benoit. Beyond that, all the big names are already trying on new sweaters.

    How has each team performed so far into free agency? Here's what happened these past three days to the 30 teams trying to address their needs for the upcoming 2014-2015 season and beyond.

    Intro updated by Brendan O'Meara. 

    All statistics via NHL.com or ExtraSkater.com. Contract figures via CapGeek.com, unless otherwise noted.

30. Nikolai Kulemin, LW (Signed with New York Islanders)

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Update: July 2, 4:55 p.m. ET by Brendan O'Meara

    Arthur Staple of Newsday reported that the New York Islanders snagged Kulemin for four years and $16.75 million to beef up the offense. He, along with Mikhail Grabovski, signed with the Islanders Wednesday.

    ---End of Update--- 

     

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    By the numbers: 9 goals, 20 points, 41.3% Corsi, -2.0% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Nikolai Kulemin's cap hit was $2.8 million the past two seasons, a number he'll likely find amenable in negotiations this summer. 

    Likeliest landing spots: The buzz is Kulemin is being targeted by the Pittsburgh Penguins to replace James Neal on a line with Evgeni Malkin, who is good friends with Kulemin. Josh Yohe of Trib Total Media believes their international experience together makes them a good fit.

29. Dustin Penner, LW (Unsigned)

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    By the numbers: 14 goals, 35 points, 49.3% Corsi, +3.0% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Dustin Penner is a two-time Stanley Cup winner, although his production has dropped over the years. Penner made $2 million last season and will likely find the offers similar this season.

    Likeliest landing spots: It all depends on what teams are able to do with their free-agent priorities, something Penner is not for anyone. Penner will likely have to wait for the dust to settle before signing a new deal.

28. Kyle Quincey, D (Re-Signed with Detroit Red Wings)

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Update: July 1, 7:20 p.m. ET by Brian J. Pedersen

    Kyle Quincey decided his past two-plus seasons in Detroit were enjoyable enough. The defenseman re-upped for another two years at $4.25 million per season, according to Bob McKenzie of TSN.

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 4 goals, 13 points, 49.7% Corsi, -2.6% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: He's 28 years old and can play 20 minute per night. He's OK possession-wise, and after making $3.7 million the past two seasons, he could earn around $4 million or $4.5 million per year on his next contract.

    Likeliest landing spots: TSN's Ryan Rishaug tweeted that the Oilers have interest in Quincey. After overpaying Nikita Nikitin last week, why not overpay one more defenseman?

27. Radim Vrbata, RW (Signed with Vancouver Canucks)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Update: July 2, 9:35 p.m. ET by Scott Campbell

    Vancouver's offseason overhaul continued late Wednesday, as the Canucks inked the 33-year-old Vrbata to a two-year, $10 million deal, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.

    ---End of Update---

     

    By the numbers: 20 goals, 51 points, 51.3% Corsi, +0.8% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: After earning $3 million in each of the last three seasons, he'll probably get a slight raise with a new team.

    Likeliest landing spots: Fox Sports Arizona's Craig Morgan believes Vrbata can return to Arizona, but the reality is that a lot of teams will be looking to add a player who has been a consistent 20-goal scorer.

26. Benoit Pouliot, LW (Signed with Edmonton Oilers)

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Update: July 1, 12:15 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    The Edmonton Oilers announced two signings via their Twitter account, one of which was Benoit Pouliot, who agreed to a five-year contract with the team. 

    #Oilers agree to terms with defenceman Mark Fayne on a four-year contract and winger Benoit Pouliot on a five-year contract.

    ESPN's Pierre LeBrun confirmed the deal. 

    Oilers sign Benoit Pouliot to five-year, $20 M deal

    ---End of Update--- 

     

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    By the numbers: 15 goals, 36 points, 55.1% Corsi, +3.4% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Benoit Pouliot's possession numbers and production make him worth about $3 million per year, perhaps over three or four years. Pouliot made just $1.3 million with the Rangers last season.

    Likeliest landing spots: With the Rangers in salary-cap trouble, Pouliot will likely land a long-term deal elsewhere. It's likely he'll be more interested in security than playing for a winner, so maybe he can sign with Edmonton.

25. Brian Gionta, RW (Signed with Buffalo Sabres)

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    Update: July 1, 1:20 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Brian Gionta agreed to leave Montreal in favor of Buffalo, per ESPN's Pierre LeBrun

    The Habs need a new captain. Brian Gionta signs with the Buffalo Sabres.

    John Vogl of the Buffalo News confirmed the details of the deal. 

    Brian Gionta's deal with the Sabres is for three years with a cap hit of $4.25 million

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 18 goals, 40 points, 45.4% Corsi, -1.7% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Brian Gionta will have to take a pay cut from his five-year, $25 million contract that just expired. He's probably worth about $3 million per season at this point in his career.

    Likeliest landing spots: Renaud Lavoie of TVA says it's likely that Gionta will get to free agency, although his desire is to remain in Montreal.

24. Derek Roy, C (Unsigned)

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    By the numbers: 9 goals, 37 points, 52.0% Corsi, -1.8% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Derek Roy had to settle for a one-year, $4 million contract with the Blues last year and didn't exactly impress on a show-me deal. Still, with the way the market works, he could get a similar deal this summer.

    Likeliest landing spots: Roy is a "plan B" type of free agent, so it will depend on how the plan A's of Chicago, Toronto and others pan out.

23. Willie Mitchell, D (Signed with Florida Panthers)

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Update: July 1, 5:55 p.m. ET by Brian J. Pedersen

    Willie Mitchell appears to be heading from one warm-weather locale to another, as TSN's Aaron Ward is reporting the veteran defenseman is going to sign with the Florida Panthers after spending the past three seasons with Los Angeles.

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 1 goal, 12 points, 50.2% Corsi, -4.8% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: He's 37 and a two-time Stanley Cup champion. The Kings could not fit him into their budget, but his experience could be worth around $3.5 million per season to the right team.

    Likeliest landing spots: The Ducks could use Mitchell along the blue line, and it would be a nice move for Anaheim, as it would strengthen the defense and perhaps give the team some insight into beating the Kings.

22. Dave Bolland, C (Signed with Florida Panthers)

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Update: July 1, 12:55 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Dave Bolland swapped in a Maple Leafs sweater for one of the Florida Panthers', per TSN's Bob McKenzie. The deal is for five years and is worth $5.5 million.

    Bolland gets 5 years at $5.5M per in FLA. #TSN

    After the deal was done, Bolland went to Twitter to thank the fans in Toronto. 

    It was an honor to play for the Leafs in front of some of the best fans in hockey. Thank you Toronto. I'm excited about my future in Florida

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 8 goals, 12 points, 44.1% Corsi, +3.1% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: In a world grounded in logic and sanity, Dave Bolland is worth a short-term contract for about $3 million per season. But in a world in which the Maple Leafs are willing to throw money at grit and heart, a player coming off a serious Achilles injury may get around $5 million per season. Free agency. Catch the fever.

    Likeliest landing spots: Bolland should be able to find a middle ground with the Leafs. But if an agreement cannot be consummated, the Capitals or perhaps the Blackhawks could bring him back.

21. Andre Benoit, D (Unsigned)

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    By the numbers: 7 goals, 28 points, 46.6% Corsi, -0.1% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Andre Benoit is fifth among UFA defensemen in even-strength scoring, which means he's looking at a raise from his $900,000 contract last season. He should receive a deal around $2.5 million per season unless his lack of NHL experience (just two full seasons) hurts his value.

    Likeliest landing spots: The Avs aren't exactly loaded on the back end, but a team such as Calgary could be in the market for him.

20. Olli Jokinen, C (Signed with Nashville Predators)

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Update: July 2, 2:17 p.m. ET by Steve Silverman

    The Predators have made their first venture into free agency this year as they have signed forward Olli Jokinen to a one-year, $2.5 million deal, according to former NHL player and current SportsNet analyst Nick Kypreos. Jokinen played for the Winnipeg Jets last season.

    ---End of Update---


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    By the numbers: 18 goals, 43 points, 49.2% Corsi, -1.1% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: The only thing that makes 35-year-old Olli Jokinen a sought-after commodity is the fact that he's a center. He's in decline, but a two-year deal for about $6 million total should be enough to acquire his services.

    Likeliest landing spots: It's hard to say, as he's a tertiary option at center for most teams, but he'll probably land somewhere where a playoff spot is in question for that particular team.

19. Tom Gilbert, D (Signed with Montreal Canadiens)

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Update: July 1, 12:40 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Tom Gilbert exchanged the comforts of Florida for a spot on the roster north of the border in Montreal. According to the official Twitter account of the Canadiens, Gilbert's deal is of the two-year variety. 

    Canadiens agree to terms on a two-year contract with free agent defenseman Tom Gilbert. DETAILS-> http://t.co/JVIrUpZdd0

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 3 goals, 28 points, 51.7% Corsi, +2.0% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Tom Gilbert made $900,000 last season, but he should be able to earn a two- or three-year deal worth around $3 million per season.

    Likeliest landing spots: Dustin Nielsen of TSN radio tweeted that the Flames are interested in Gilbert, who would be a nice, low-cost addition for a team in need of defensemen.

18. David Legwand, C (Unsigned)

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    By the numbers: 14 goals, 51 points, 49.5% Corsi, +0.3% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: The 33-year-old should expect a short-term contract worth a shade less than $4 million per season. It sounds silly, but his pointless postseason in five games probably hurt him in the eyes of many general managers. 

    Likeliest landing spots: If the Leafs can't land Dave Bolland, Legwand would make for a cheaper, much more efficient option as a third-line center in Toronto.

17. Jonas Hiller, G (Signed with Calgary Flames)

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Update: July 1, 1:40 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Jonas Hiller became the second marquee goalie to sign a deal Tuesday, as he joined the Calgary Flames on a two-year deal, per TSN's Bob McKenzie. 

    CGY signs Jonas Hiller to two-year deal with AAV of $4.5M.

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 29-13-7, 2.48 GAA, .911 save percentage

    What he's worth: Despite his record, he finished 33rd in save percentage last year and was passed over to start in the playoffs for both Frederik Andersen and John Gibson. Maybe he can be part of a even time share, but he'll likely be paid around $3 million per season, if that, on a short-term contract.

    Likeliest landing spots: The Winnipeg Jets could use someone to challenge the inept Ondrej Pavelec for playing time.

16. Daniel Alfredsson, RW (Unsigned)

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    By the numbers: 18 goals, 49 points, 51.3% Corsi, -0.4% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Daniel Alfredsson made $5.5 million last season and may need to take a pay cut if he wants to return to Detroit, something that may not happen at all. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reported that Alfredsson will either be a Red Wing next season or retire. The decision is not expected until August.

    Likeliest landing spots: It's Detroit or nothing.

15. Brad Richards, C (Signed with Chicago Blackhawks)

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    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    Update: July 1, 2:40 p.m. ET by Brian J. Pedersen

    Brad Richards will be heading from one Original Six team to another, as TSN's Darren Dreger reports Richards has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks.

    The deal is $2 million for one season, according to Dreger.

    ---End of Update--- 

     

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    By the numbers: 20 goals, 51 points, 54.1% Corsi, +2.5% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: After having his nine-year, $60 million contract bought out by the New York Rangers, he'll have to lower his sights quite a bit. A three-year deal totaling about $12 million seems fair, but his 118 games of playoff experience may earn him a few more dollars.

    Likeliest landing spots: According to Newsday's Arthur Staple, the Islanders have shown interest. If Richards doesn't want to change his address, he could head to Long Island.

14. Milan Michalek, LW (Re-Signed with Ottawa Senators)

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Update: July 1, 12:30 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Milan Michalek will be a member of the Senators for the next three years, as he has agreed to a contract extension with Ottawa, per the team's Twitter account. 

    BREAKING: #Sens agree to teams with forward Milan Michalek on a three-year contract.

    Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported that Michalek did take a pay cut to remain in Ottawa, as his new contract will be worth $4 million per year. 

    Milan Michalek has agreed to a three-year extension at $4 million per-season. #Sens

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 17 goals, 39 points, 51.9% Corsi, -0.7% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, there are 12 teams interested in Milan Michalek. That should create a bidding war that results in a hefty contract for Michalek, who is likely to find himself with a multiyear deal worth around $5 million per season.

    Likeliest landing spots: The interest doesn't mean Michalek won't return to Ottawa. But if he doesn't, there's no way to know which team will be the most appealing.

13. Mikhail Grabovski, C (Signed with the New York Islanders)

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    Update: July 2, 4:55 p.m. ET by Brendan O'Meara

    Grabovski is on the move, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday. The New York Islanders signed Grabovski, to a four-year, $20 million deal Wednesday. The Islanders united Grabovski with left winger Nikolai Kulemin.

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 13 goals, 35 points, 51.0% Corsi, +4.0% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: According to Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post, Mikhail Grabovski could receive a contract worth about $5 million per season. Considering the market and his possession game, that seems about right.

    Likeliest landing spots: Grabovski could be the big chip for teams that fail to land Paul Stastny or Jason Spezza, so look for Chicago, Colorado and Winnipeg to make an attempt to sign him.

12. Matt Moulson, LW (Signed with Buffalo Sabres)

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Update: July 1, 2:10 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Matt Moulson is headed back to Buffalo to join the Sabres on a five-year, $25 million contract, per Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada

    Moulson to BUF 5x5

     ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 23 goals, 51 points, 46.6% Corsi, +1.8% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: If you believe the only reason he scored 30 goals in a season three times is because he had John Tavares as his center, he's worthy of a $3.5 million cap hit. But since sanity rarely reigns in free agency, something between $4 million and $4.5 million per season is what Moulson will probably receive.

    Likeliest landing spots: It wouldn't be surprising if Moulson returned to Long Island, as the Islanders need a scoring winger and Tavares is one of his close friends. Moulson will have options.

11. Jussi Jokinen, LW (Signed with Florida Panthers)

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Update: July 1, 12:55 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    The Florida Panthers announced the signing of Jussi Jokinen via their official Twitter account. 

    #FlaPanthers agree to terms with Jussi Jokinen pic.twitter.com/fIHO4rEADR

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 21 goals, 57 points, 54.8% Corsi, +8.6% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Sure, those numbers are driven largely by having Evgeni Malkin as his center, but that won't stop some team from giving Jussi Jokinen a lengthy deal with a cap hit around $4.5 million. It would be nice if Jokinen gave Malkin around 20 percent of the deal.

    Likeliest landing spots: The Jets may want to land him, according to Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun. But Ottawa, Montreal and many other teams will likely make a play for Jokinen.

10. Ales Hemsky, RW (Signed with Dallas Stars)

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    Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images

    Update: July 1, 1:10 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Ales Hemsky be will joining Jason Spezza in Dallas, as ESPN's Pierre LeBrun has reported the deal between the two sides is done. 

    Ales Hemsky has agreed to terms with the Dallas Stars

    Chris Johnston of Rogers Sportsnet shared the details of the contract, which will give Hemsky $12 million over three years. 

    Ales Hemsky gets $12M, three-year deal from #stars, per @FriedgeHNIC.

     ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 13 goals, 43 points, 49.6% Corsi, +2.8% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Something in the $4 million range seems fair for the 30-year-old Ales Hemsky, who has seen his numbers drop drastically since 2008-09. He had 26 points in 55 games for the Oilers this season but delivered 17 points in 20 games after he was dealt to the Senators. 

    Likeliest landing spots: TSN's Bob McKenzie reported two weeks ago that the Senators were looking to trade his rights, but that never happened. Montreal? Toronto? There's an abundance of teams that could use his offensive skills.

9. Anton Stralman, D (Signed with Tampa Bay Lightning)

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Update: July 1, 2:40 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    ESPN's Pierre LeBrun confirmed the details of Anton Stralman's deal with Tampa Bay, which is worth $22.5 million over five years. 

    Correction on Stralman contract with Lightning: It's $22.5 M over 5 years

    ---End of Update---

     

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    Update: July 1, 2:35 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    The first news on Anton Stralman's free-agent destination came from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, who says a Swedish outlet have reported a done deal between the defenseman and the Lightning. 

    Swedish outlet reporting #tblightning have signed Anton Stralman, 5 years at $4 million per, but no confirmation yet

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 1 goal, 13 points, 56.5% Corsi, +6.0% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Anton Stralman's time in New York is likely over, as he is looking for security and a long-term deal the Rangers just can't offer. Via Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post, Stralman sounds resigned to testing free agency.

    “The only thing in my mind really is security for me and my family,” Stralman said. “We’ve been moving a lot — four teams in seven years. All we’re really looking for is stability, to stay in one place. This is obviously where we want. I’d like to stay. I hope it can happen. We’ll see.”

    Stralman can expect at least a four-year deal for between $4 million and $5 million per season.

    Likeliest landing spots: The Calgary Flames need a defenseman, as do the Detroit Red Wings. Stralman is arguably the third- or fourth-best defenseman on the market, so there will be plenty of teams looking to sign him.

8. Mike Cammalleri, LW (Signed with New Jersey Devils)

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    Update: July 1, 12:50 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Mike Cammalleri was taken off the market by the New Jersey Devils, per Tom Gulitti of NorthJersey.comThe deal was reported to be for five years and carries a value of $25 million.

    Five years, $25 million for Mike Cammelleri to the NJ Devils.

     --End of Update--

     

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    By the numbers: 26 goals, 45 points, 50.8% Corsi, +6.7% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: In a market as thin as this one, Cammalleri could command five years and $25 million, but he may have to take a little less to go to a contending team.

    Likeliest landing spots: Cammalleri and the Flames have talked, according to Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun and various other outlets, but it's doubtful he returns. As someone who has only tasted the postseason three times in his career, the 32-year-old will want to sign with a team that has a chance at the playoffs.

7. Dan Boyle, D (Signed with New York Rangers)

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Update: July 1, 12:50 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Boyle was handed a two-year contract by the New York Rangers, per ESPN's Pierre LeBrun. The deal is worth $4.5 million per year. 

    Boyle in NYR: $4.5 M x 2 years

    ---End of Update---

     

    Update: July 1, noon, by Joe Tansey

    Dan Boyle is being courted by plenty of teams in the Eastern Conference as free agency begins, and he expects four offers, per Darren Dreger of TSN: 

    D.Boyle expects 4 offers. Washington is believed to have joined a group of teams that also includes Tor, Mtl, Det, NYR and Tampa Bay. #FAF

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 12 goals, 36 points, 53.0% Corsi, -1.0% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Despite turning 38 this week, he's still a quality skater who can move the puck efficiently. He will command a two-year deal for about $5 million per season. 

    Likeliest landing spots: According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA, there are 10 teams interested in Boyle's services. The Rangers and the Flyers are among those teams in pursuit, although each team's cap situation could make it difficult to sign Boyle.

6. Jarome Iginla, RW (Signed with Colorado Avalanche)

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Update: July 1, 2:25 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    The latest stop in Jarome Iginla's career will be Colorado, as reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN. 

    Jarome Iginla to COL, as I reported on TSN.

    McKenzie also had the scoop on the details of the contract that the veteran signed with the Avalanche. 

    Iginla gets $5.5M, $5.5M and $5M in each of three years with COL.

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 30 goals, 61 points, 53.6% Corsi, -0.4% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: He made $6 million last season and scored 30 goals, so it's hard to say he should receive any less money. The problem for Iginla is that the Bruins are up against the salary cap. It may be impossible to keep him at that same number, which means it may be impossible to keep him.

    Likeliest landing spots: According to Fluto Shinzawa of The Boston Globe, the Bruins and Iginla are still trying to work something out. But if a deal can't be made, Iginla will look to sign with a contender.

5. Ryan Miller, G (Signed with Vancouver Canucks)

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    Update: July 1, 1:10 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Ryan Miller is heading to the Pacific Division, joining the Vancouver Canucks, per a report from Nick Kypreos on the Sportsnet Hockey Central Twitter account.  

    Ryan Miller to Vancouver, per @RealKyper

    Farhan Lalji of TSN confirmed the deal was worth three years, and Miller will be paid $6 million per year. 

    Ryan Miller to #canucks 3 years, 6 million per

     ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 2013-14 statistics: 25-30-4, 2.64 GAA, .918 save percentage

    What he's worth: This one is difficult to read. There isn't a huge market for goaltenders, as most teams have the position secured at this point. The teams that need a goaltender aren't exactly contenders, so how much are they willing to pay for a 33-year-old? What is that 33-year-old willing to accept to play for a contender who may not want to pay full price? Best guess: He'll get about $4.5 million per season.

    Likeliest landing spots: The one opening that makes the most sense is Vancouver. The Canucks have Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom, so an experienced No. 1 goaltender is needed there. But with the Canucks rebuilding, will Miller want to go there?

4. Matt Niskanen, D (Signed with Washington Capitals)

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Update: July 1, 5:05 p.m. ET by Brian J. Pedersen

    Matt Niskanen landed the big money experts expected him to get, collecting more than $40 million in a deal with Washington, according to Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada.

    ---End of update---

     

    Update: July 1, 2:15 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Matt Niskanen's final landing spot may not be determined yet, but it looks like he is not going to Detroit, per Ansar Khan of MLive.com. 

    Wings have been told Niskanen going elsewhere.

    ---End of update---

     

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    By the numbers: 2013-14 statistics: 10 goals, 46 points, 53.4% Corsi, +7.3% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Matt Niskanen isn't the best defenseman on the UFA market, but he will land the biggest contract. He will be younger (27) than Dan Boyle (38) and Christian Ehrhoff (32) when next season starts, and his 46-point season will command a big deal. If Niskanen gets six years and $33 million, that wouldn't be the most unexpected deal of the summer.

    Likeliest landing spots: The Wild and the Capitals could make the hardest pushes. The Caps recently hired Todd Reirden, a former assistant coach with the Penguins who worked wonders with Niskanen's play and confidence. Niskanen is also a Minnesota native who went to college at Minnesota-Duluth, so the decision will not be easy.

3. Christian Ehrhoff, D (Signed with Pittsburgh Penguins)

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Update: July 1, 12:10 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Christian Ehrhoff became the first key free agent to come off the market, as he agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal with the Penguins just after the window opened, per TSN's Bob McKenzie

    Christian Ehrhoff has agreed to terms on a one-year deal at $4M with PIT. #TSN #FAF

    ---End of Update---- 

     

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    By the numbers: 6 goals, 33 points, 46.0% Corsi, +4.8% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Bought out by the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, he instantly became the top defenseman on the free-agent market. He was excellent last season playing on a historically bad Sabres team that finished with the worst record in the league. He turns 32 next week, but a five-year deal worth $25 million could be in the cards.

    Likeliest landing spots: Before Ehrhoff signed with the Sabres two summers ago, the Detroit Red Wings were one of his suitors and likely will be again. Adrian Dater of The Denver Post confirmed that Sunday, so if the two sides can find the right number, the Red Wings will have a top-four defenseman.

2. Thomas Vanek, LW (Signed with Minnesota Wild)

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Update: July 1, 1:45 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    Thomas Vanek decided to join the Minnesota Wild on a three-year deal, according to the team's official Twitter account

    Who's excited!?! BREAKING: #mnwild has agreed to terms with Thomas Vanek on 3-year contract. More details coming #VanekWatch is over!

    Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press confirmed the details of the deal, which is worth $19.5 million. 

    Thomas Vanek, 3 years and $19.5M to #MNWild might be the steal of the day.

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 27 goals, 68 points, 47.0% Corsi, -1.1% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: The narrative around Thomas Vanek is that his poor showing in the playoffs—especially the conference finals—hurt his value. According to Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Vanek has received interest from eight to 10 teams. Different teams will offer different contract lengths, but there's no reason to think Vanek's cap hit next season will be anything less than $5 million.

    Likeliest landing spots: Vanek has a summer home in Stillwater, Minnesota, and he played two seasons for the University of Minnesota. He could have a homecoming with the Wild on July 1.

1. Paul Stastny, C (Signed with St. Louis Blues)

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    JACK DEMPSEY/Associated Press

    Update: July 1, 12:35 p.m. by Joe Tansey

    One of the hottest names on the market was scooped by St. Louis on a four-year deal, per the team's official Twitter account. 

    BREAKING NEWS: The Blues have signed free agent center Paul Stastny to a four-year deal.

    Chris Johnston of Rogers Sportsnet confirmed the deal was worth a total of $28 million. 

    Paul Stastny's contract with #StLBlues is worth $28M over four years.

    ---End of Update---

     

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    By the numbers: 25 goals, 60 points, 50.2% Corsi, +4.0% Corsi relative

    What he's worth: Considering the weak market for centers, he should be able to get a max contract (eight years from Colorado, seven years from a new team) worth between $6 million and $7 million per season.

    Likeliest landing spots: The latest from Adrian Dater of The Denver Post says the Avalanche are still in the mix, with Pierre McGuire saying the Dallas Stars are interested, per Dater. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com reports the Blackhawks, the Blues and even the Jets have talked with Stastny. Winnipeg has a better chance of signing Stastny, but all four teams are appealing spots for this year's most coveted free agent.