The 2019 edition of NHL free agency begins on Monday, July 1, and although no formal roster moves can be made before the 12 p.m. ET window, teams are already putting out feelers and doing their research on free agents who will be available when the offseason really picks up.
The July 1 date is the most important in the NHL's offseason schedule.
On June 23, a day after the 2019 NHL Draft concluded, teams were given a deadline to tender qualifying offers to restricted free agents. Teams then had until June 25 to make qualifying offers to restricted free agents. If a team did not extend a qualifying offer, the restricted free agent will enter July 1 as an unrestricted free agent, free of a team's negotiating rights.
On June 26, teams were officially allowed to begin contact with restricted free agents. On June 30, the salary cap will be set for the upcoming season, expected to be between $82 and $83 million.
2019 NHL Offseason Free Agent and Trade Tracker:
Below you will find a running tracker of the latest free agent rumors, news, signings, and any potential trades and pending deals that are in the works.
Marcus Johansson signs with Buffalo
July 6: Marcus Johansson is sticking in the East, this time with the Buffalo Sabres. After playing as a half-season rental for the Boston Bruins during their playoff run, Johansson is headed to the Sabres on a two-year, $9.5 million deal with an AAV of $4.5 million.
New York Islanders keep their captain
July 1: Anders Lee is back with the New York Islanders. The captain signed a seven-year, $49 million deal to stick with the club. Lee potted 28 goals and 23 assists with the Isles last season. The team is also in conversation with free agent goalie Robin Lehner.
Montreal Canadiens target Sebastian Aho
July 1: We've got our first offer sheet sighting of the offseason. The Montreal Canadiens have tendered an offer sheet to restricted free agent center Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes for a proposed deal of five-years, $8.454 AAV. Those decimals matter, because if successful, Montreal will only give up a first, second, and third round pick instead of two firsts and a second. They're below the cutoff by $871.
The Hurricanes have said they'll match any offer sheet dealt to Aho. They have seven days to decide if they'll keep him or not.
Wayne Simmonds headed to New Jersey
July 1: What better way to welcome No. 1 overall draft pick Jack Hughes than to pair him with a gritty, garbage goal scoring winger? The New Jersey Devils have signed Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $5 million deal to bolster their forward ranks.
Simmonds had an off year with 17 goals and 13 points as part of both the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators. He'll be betting on himself with a one-year deal.
Colorado Avalanche land Joonas Donskoi
July 1: After a miracle run through the playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche are doubling down. Winger Joonas Donskoi has signed with the club for four years on a $15.6 million deal. Donskoi adds forward depth that the Avalanche had been lacking, and last season Donskoi made his mark in a stacked San Jose Sharks lineup with 14 goals and 23 assists.
Vancouver Canucks make a splash
July 1: The Vancouver Canucks will not be denied, making a plethora of moves.
To start, they've pried defenseman Tyler Myers away from the Winnipeg Jets with a five-year, $30 million deal. To compliment him on the blue line, they've also inked Vancouver native Jordie Benn to a two-year, $4 million contract, and former Los Angeles Kings defender Oscar Fantenberg to a one-year, $850,000 deal.
With Calder Trophy winner Elias Petterson and Brock Boeser leading the way on offense, watch out for the Canucks in the Pacific Division.
Gustav Nyquist heads to Columbus
July 1: The Columbus Blue Jackets might have lost every one of their unrestricted free agents to other teams, but they're making a splash of their own. The Blue Jackets have signed winger Gustav Nyquist to a four-year, $5.5 million AAV deal. Nyquist scored 60 points over the course of the season with both the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings.
Minnesota Wild sign Mats Zuccarello
July 1: After being traded away by the New York Rangers to aid the Dallas Stars in their playoff run, Mats Zuccarello has decided to join the Minnesota Wild on a five-year, $30 million contract. Zuc notched 12 goals and 28 assists last season and turns 32 on Sept. 1.
Dallas Stars bring in reinforcements
July 1: The Dallas Stars are stocking up, and have signed Corey Perry to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. Additionally, they've bolstered their defense by inking Andrej Sekera to a one-year, $2 million contract. Both players were bought out by their former clubs and both have suffered injuries that hampered their careers. Both are looking to turn their bad seasons around with the Stars, who were one win away from defeating the St. Louis Blues to head to the Western Conference Final.
For increased offense, they've also brought in Captain America, Joe Pavelski, from the San Jose Sharks. Pavelski's new deal is three-years, $7 million AAV.
Sergei Bobrovsky heads to South Beach
July 1: With the retirement of Roberto Luongo, the Florida Panthers were in need of a goaltender. They scored the best one on the market, and have signed Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million deal. Bobrovsky is now the second-highest paid goalie in the league behind Carey Price, and he's got the numbers to back it up. He's a two-time All-Star and two-time Vezina Trophy winner, with a career save percentage of .919.
Nashville Predators welcome Matt Duchene
July 1: After a circuitous route from Colorado to Ottawa and last season to Columbus, Matt Duchene has found a more permanent home. The star center inked a seven-year, $56 million deal to play with the Nashville Predators. This comes a few days after the Preds cleared cap room by dealing P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils.
New York Rangers win Artemi Panarin sweepstakes
July 1: Breadman is getting paid. The New York Rangers have signed coveted free agent winger Artemi Panarin to a seven-year, $81.5 million deal. Panarin had expressed his desire to leave the Columbus Blue Jackets, although the club made a late push to try and keep him, while the New York Islanders also made a late bid for his services.
Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs swap six players
July 1: In the first real blockbuster of the free agency period, the Maple Leafs and Senators have swapped six assets. The Senators receive Nikita Zaitsev, Connor Brown and forward prospect Michael Carcone. In return, Toronto acquired Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, forward prospect Aaron Luchuk and Columbus' third-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft (previously acquired by Ottawa). There had been rumblings that Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas was looking to deal Zaitsev's seven-year, $31.5 million deal, and Ottawa had the cap space to take it on.
New York Rangers trade Vesey to Sabres
July 1: The Buffalo Sabres are bringing in winger Jimmy Vesey to aid their offensive woes and drag them out of the basement of the Atlantic division. In exchange, the Rangers are bulking up on prospects, snagging a third-round draft pick in 2021. Vesey potted 17 goals last season and totaled 35 points.
Arizona Coyotes nab Phil Kessel
July 1: Phil Kessel's eight-team trade list included the Arizona Coyotes, and that's where he's headed. The Pittsburgh Penguins dealt him and a fourth-round pick to Arizona in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk and defensive prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph. Kessel was a point-per-game player last season while Galchenyuk struggled with injuries, and it's still undecided whether Galchenyuk will play wing or center. Behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, he'll be expected to put up higher goal and assist totals, likely from the wing.
Golden Knights trade Haula to Hurricanes
June 27: The Carolina Hurricanes remain active ahead of the free agency window opening. The "Bunch of Jerks" acquired forward Erik Haula from the Vegas Golden Knights for forward Nicolas Roy and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Haula registered career highs last season in goals (29), assists (26) and points (55). Haula spent four seasons with the Minnesota Wild before being selected by the Golden Knights in the 2017 expansion draft.
Hurricanes buyout Marleau's contract
June 27: After acquiring him as part of a draft night trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Carolina Hurricanes are buying out the remainder of Patrick Marleau's contract, making the three-time All-Star an unrestricted free agent. The longest-tenured player in San Jose Sharks franchise history is 39 years old and hasn't registered 50 points in a single season since 2014-15.
Avalanche deal Soderberg to Coyotes
June 25: The Arizona Coyotes acquired forward Carl Soderberg from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenseman Kevin Connauton and a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, according to TSN's Elliotte Friedman. The Avs were able to clear $3.375 million in cap space by dealing Soderberg, who set a career-high in goals with 23 a season ago.
Blackhawks acquire de Haan in a four-player trade with Hurricanes
June 24: The Carolina Hurricanes are dealing defenseman Calvin de Haan and forward Aleksi Saarela to the Chicago Blackhawks and will get defenseman Gustav Forsling and goalie Anton Forsberg in return. de Haan is an efficient player who registers excellent advanced statistical numbers and is only a $4.55 million cap hit.
Puljujarvi wants out of Edmonton, and before free agency begins
June 24: Jesse Puljujarvi has made it clear that he wants out of Edmonton, but the Oilers' new front office appears to want to make the situation work, having made him a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent when the window opens. Both the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars seem to be interested in the 21-year-old rising star, and it seems like his time in Edmonton is coming to an end.
Karlsson re-signs with Golden Knights for the long haul
June 24: The Vegas Golden Knights and star center Williams Karlsson agreed to an eight-year contract extension on Monday, the team announced. The deal is worth an average value of $5.9 million and saves the Golden Knights from Karlsson entered the offseason market as a restricted free agent. Karlsson is Vegas' all-time leading scorer, registering 67 goals over the past two seasons.
Panthers meeting with Panarin and Bobrovsky
June 22: The two most important members of the Columbus Blue Jackets -- Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky -- will reportedly be in Florida to meet with the Panthers, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. With Roberto Luongo retiring after 19 seasons, the Panthers will be in major need of a new goalie, making Bobrovsky a prime candidate.
Devils acquire Subban on Draft Night
June 22: The New Jersey Devils acquired P.K. Subban from the Nashville Predators. In return, the Preds get Steven Santini, Jeremy Davies, second-round picks in 2019 and 2020 and the cap space to sign Matt Duchene. Talks between Duchene and the Preds are scheduled for this week.
Sharks re-sign superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson
June 17: Erik Karlsson, the NHL's top defenseman, is staying in San Jose after agreeing to an eight-year contract extension that will play him more than $11 million annually. Karlsson, now the league's highest-paid blue-liner, battled through injuries last season, his first full season with the Sharks after being acquired in a trade prior to the start of the 2018 season. TSN's Bob McKenzie first reported the news.
Rangers and Jets swap defensemen
June 17: Jacob Trouba is now a New York Ranger, and Neil Pionk and the 20th overall pick in the 2019 draft belong to the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets used the pick to take Finnish defenseman Ville Heinola. Part of the decision to trade Trouba to New York was because his girlfriend is a medical professional and she cannot practice in Canada.
Caps, Flyers swap defenseman in Niskanen-Gudas trade
June 14: The Washington Capitals traded defenseman Matt Niskanen to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Radko Gudas. Niskanen spent five seasons with the Capitals, helping lead them to the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship. The Caps desperately needed to clear cap space, and getting rid of Niskanen was one of the worst kept secrets of the early offseason.
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