Once again, it's time to experience the frenzy. As of 12 PM EST, all thirty teams will make significant changes that will affect how they perform in the 2015-16 season and beyond. New starts, new contracts, new controversies, and new hopes across the league. Deals will be made, from those discussed when the free agency discussion period opened as well as those made and signed today. It's Free Agency Frenzy. Here comes the money:
It's been the main topic for the past few days. But here's the summation of the Devils' situation. The salary cap this year is $71.4 million. According to General Fanager, the Devils have over $22 million in cap space. They're currently a bit under $3.5 million below the salary cap floor. That will be easily met by signing the restricted free agents alone. The Devils only have eleven forwards, five defensemen, and two goalies signed through next season. No one was bought out and only two minor leagues were not tendered qualifying offers.
Restricted Free Agents (all qualified, all need new deals): Adam Larsson, Eric Gelinas, Stefan Matteau, Seth Helgeson
Unrestricted Free Agents: Scott Gomez, Steve Bernier, Peter Harrold, Mark Fraser, Michael Ryder, Martin Havlat, Scott Clemmensen (who's now a goaltender development coach per Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice), Joe Whitney (who's leaving per Gulitti), Cam Janssen, Tim Sestito (also not returning per Gulitti), Darcy Zajac, Scott Timmins, Maxime Clermont (non-tendered RFA becomes UFA), Corbin McPherson (non-tendered RGA becomes UFA).
All four restricted free agents will return. Larsson will likely command a lucrative deal, while Gelinas, Matteau, and Helgeson will get smaller deals. In the end of this post by Tom Gulitti about who the Devils didn't give a qualifying offer to, Gulitti reports it's possible that Joe Whitney may be returning. A few days earlier, Ray Shero told Gulitti that Gomez, Bernier, Harrold, and Fraser won't be re-signed. The proverbial door may be open for a few of them, but the comments on Gomez suggest he's really on the outs.
As far as the Devils' needs, I've been saying it for weeks now. Just to fill out a credible roster, they need right wingers and defensemen. From a talent and quality standpoint, they need offensive players. This year's free agency class is thin on that, though. Alex, CJ, and myself have summarized their situation. During our draft coverage, I spent four straight Sundays going through the pending UFA pool for left wings, right wings, centers, and defensemen. Give all of those links a look ahead of free agency beginning at noon today.
As with previous years, this is your open post. Please use the comments in this post to discuss everything that's happening in free agency (signings! trades! the drama in Los Angeles! confusion over what Boston's doing!) throughout the league as well as the Devils. Usual rules apply (keep comments clean, on topic, respect each other, etc.). Please, please, please do not share unconfirmed rumors and "news" from false sources like fake Twitter accounts, Eklund's Hockeybuzz, "insiderr," a "rumor breaker," etc. There's going to be a lot going on, especially after noon. It is a frenzy, after all. So there's no need to muddy the waters of actual news. For the benefit of everyone, link to legit sources and don't make things up. Being right is more important than being first.
Please use the comments to discuss everything that's going on today. Alex will have separate posts on signings when they happen. I will be away but that's OK because, as always, the hockey doesn't stop. There will a whole summer to talk about what all of today's decisions by teams and players will mean for next season and beyond.
Thank you for reading and enjoy this year's kick off of free agency. Remember, it all begins at noon. You've been welcomed to the flow, now get ready to be welcomed by the frenzy.