Due to the pandemic, the 2022 offseason shifted its major events to a little later than normal. The 2022 NHL Draft was held last week; it is normally held in late June. July 1 is the traditional first day for unrestricted free agents to be able to sign a new contract with another team. This year, it is happening today. It is best known as Free Agency Frenzy. Once the clock strikes noon, the announcements fly and a majority of the signings of the Summer take place throughout the day. This is your open post to discuss all of the action on this first day by the New Jersey Devils and the other 31 teams.
The Time: Noon ET. News will likely start in the morning about deals that have been all but signed. No one can actually sign anything until noon today, though.
The Preview: My preview for the New Jersey Devils and this year’s free agency is here. It includes what they can do, what they need, who is available, and more. It even links to the various offseason posts Jared and Gerard did over the past two months in terms of notable restricted and unrestricted free agents.
The Notable Moves Made Since that Preview: While the salary cap went up by $1 million, that is not worth a lot in a league where the minimum salary is $750,000. A lot of teams are up against the limit and while they can be over by as much 10%, they need to be compliant later. Hence, some moves have happened.
- Right before the preview went up, Puckpedia broke the news that the Devils are buying out Janne Kuokkanen. This adds $1.65 million in extra cap space for the Devils for today, bringing them just under $27 million in space to use. (Note: They have 7 RFAs they qualified that will need new deals; a lot of that $27 million may be spoken for already.) I think the move was made to open up a little more room for a crowded roster of forwards.
- Philadelphia also bought out cancer survivor and forward Oskar Lindblom. Other players bought out include Michael Del Zotto from Ottawa and Rudolfs Balcers from San Jose.
- Just after moving Matt Murray, Ottawa traded Filip Gustavsson to Minnesota for Cam Talbot.
- Duncan Keith announced his retirement yesterday.
- Last night, Evgeni Malkin decided to not test the market after all. He re-signed with a Penguin for another four years.
- A whole mess of rumors I am not going to entertain as it just gets peoples hopes unnecessarily up and brings them down if/when they do not happen.
The Songs for the Day: A couple of clear choices come to mind. First, the Belke brothers’ side project Wheat Chiefs had a memorable single called “Joe Murphy.” You will realize upon a first listen that is wholly appropriate for this day. Second, the classic hip hop song about getting dollars also comes to mind, “Paid in Full” by Erik B & Rakim. Again, pretty obvious given how many will get paid in full. Third, for a 1990 song that sounds a lot like a 1970s rocker, AC/DC’s “Moneytalks” is even more on the nose for today. (By the by, this is from the same album that “Thunderstruck” came from.)
The Purpose of this Open Post: This is where you should comment about all of the moves made today in free agency. The moves the Devils made. The moves you wish the Devils made. The moves other teams in the NHL made. This is an open post for all of free agency. Please react as you see fit.
The Plan: We will do our best to get posts up for major signings by the Devils. Minor signings may be lumped in together. It depends.
The Rules: As a reminder, comments will be clean, on topic, and respectful of each other.
Here is one that specifically important for today: Please, please, please do not share unconfirmed rumors and “news” from false sources like fake Twitter accounts, “insiderrs,” a “rumor breaker,” people who claim to have sources and not even have 100 followers on Twitter, etc. Such things will be deleted. Warnings and bans handed for repeat offenses. Please stick to people who may actually know things. Think Elliotte Friedman, Renaud Lavoie, Kevin Weekes, etc. There’s going to be a lot going on, especially once noon hits. There’s no need to introduce fake news to overtake actual news. It gets people riled up about something that is not likely to happen from someone who claimed they heard somebody. It brings people down when it does not happen. For the benefit of everyone, link to legit sources and don’t make things up. Being right is more important than being first.
That all said. Enjoy this year’s Free Agency Frenzy and hope that Tom Fitzgerald spends and spends wisely ownership’s money this year around.