All the latest pre-free agency rumblings
We’re less than four hours away from the free-agent market officially opening, and there are plenty of reports linking players to new teams already.
Remember, none of these deals can be made official until noon ET, so things can change in a hurry. But there’s a good chance that a lot of these verbal commitments turn into contracts once the clock strikes 12:00 p.m. ET.
To stay up to date with all today’s transactions, keep an eye on PHT’s free agent tracker.
TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie has already linked a number of key free agents to their likely destination. According to McKenzie’s Twitter timeline, here’s what we can expect to go down today:
--The Vancouver Canucks don’t have a very good roster right now, but that won’t stop them from potentially landing three interesting free agents. It looks like they’ll be getting Sam Gagner, Michael Del Zotto and Anders Nilsson this afternoon.
--The Winnipeg Jets have been searching for a reliable goaltender to help out Connor Hellebuyck, and Steve Mason is expected to be their guy. The 29-year-old hasn’t been the most consistent goalie over the last few years, but he should be an upgrade on Michael Hutchinson and Ondrej Pavelec.
--Speaking of Pavelec, McKenzie suggests he could end up being Henrik Lundqvist’s backup in New York. The Rangers traded Antti Raanta away to Arizona, so they’re definitely in the market for a backup goalie.
--Another goalie to keep an eye on is Brian Elliott. The former Calgary Flame is probably heading to Philadelphia to replace Mason.
--Trevor Daley, who has won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Penguins, will stay in the Eastern Conference, as he’s been linked to the Detroit Red Wings.
--Dan Girardi will be playing for a different team after he was bought out by the Rangers earlier this month. That new team is likely to be the Tampa Bay Lightning.
--Chad Johnson spent the 2015-16 season with the Sabres before spend last year with Calgary. It sounds like he’ll be returning to Buffalo.
--Anaheim will likely bring in veteran goalie Ryan Miller from Vancouver, which means last year’s backup, Jonathan Bernier, will be on the move. Bernier is expected to join the Colorado Avalanche, who lost Calvin Pickard in the expansion draft.
--As we wrote about yesterday, Evgeny Dadonov is expected to leave the KHL to sign a lucrative, multi-year deal with the Florida Panthers.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also had some interesting tidbits earlier this morning, as he’s also linked potential free agents to new cities.
Here’s what Friedman is reporting:
--6-foot-6 center Martin Hanzal split last season with Arizona and Minnesota, but he isn’t expected to return to either city. Instead, Friedman says to keep an eye on the Dallas Stars. If they can land Hanzal, that would give them terrific depth down the middle with Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza already on the roster.
--The San Jose Sharks reportedly upped their offer to Patrick Marleau from one year to two years, but it’s unclear if that’s enough to get something done with the veteran. If Marleau decides to walk in free agency, Mike Cammalleri could be their fallback plan.
On another note, Blackhawks beat reporter Mark Lazerus is reporting that Patrick Sharp will be signing with Chicago. The veteran forward spent 10 seasons with the ‘Hawks.