The last major league-wide event of the offseason begins today at noon. At noon, 31 teams can sign unrestricted free agents (UFAs). This is known as Free Agent Frenzy. It’s the start of free agency and a lot of deals happen right away. Especially since all 31 teams have been allowed to speak with the pending UFAs for the past week or so. Not to discuss terms, except, you know, they do. Regardless, there will be a lot of news and a lot of activity throughout the day. Some big decisions will be made today that will impact a player, a team, and maybe even a division for years to come. Therefore, it is only appropriate that there is an open post to discuss it all.
I’ve put together this late-night primer but here are the highlights.
The New Jersey Devils are in a position to make a lot of news if they want to. After buying out Michael Cammalleri and Devante Smith-Pelly on Friday, the Devils have roughly $27.68 million in cap space. That’s the most cap space in the league right now. Combined with 31 contracts on the books, the Devils absolutely have room to add a lot of players. They’ll need to do so between filling in holes at forward on New Jersey, hopefully acquiring better defensemen, and determining who can play for Binghamton but also be good enough to warrant a NHL deal and potential call-ups during the 2017-18 season. If this seems like deja vu, it kind of is because it’s similar to where they were last year. The Devils may not necessarily get the players today to become a playoff team for next season. With sober analysis and skillful negotiation, the Devils can get the players today to be a better team in the near future. A step forward is what I think they should aim for. Shero can do a lot, let’s see if he is able to accomplish a lot.
This year’s free agency class is not filled with a lot of top-tier names but there are some notable ones who could be making headlines. 28-year old defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is the big prize on defense. On offense, 30-year old forward Alexander Radulov could command quite a bit. There are some tantalizing veterans from Joe Thornton and Jaromir Jagr to Andrei Markov and Brian Campbell. There are some good hands to strengthen the deeper parts of a team’s lineup. Again, with the right analysis and valuation of players, a team can definitely make themselves better today. Or, with the wrong analysis and/or valuation, make themselves much worse off. That’s the fun of it, though.
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! exclamation marks!) throughout the league as well as the New Jersey 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, "insiderrs," a "rumor breaker," an incarcerated Robert, etc. There's going to be a lot going on, especially after noon. So there's no need to muddy the waters of actual news by getting people riled up about something that isn’t likely to happen from someone who claimed they heard somebody. I can’t go for that. No can do. So 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. I will try to get posts up on what the Devils do as they happen today. And I will try to summarize what they do in the evening. That said, I’ll leave you with a song for the day that is always appropriate: