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2021 NHL Free Agency Extravaganza Open Thread

The new NHL year officially begins at noon today, which means it’s the first day that free agents can talk to new teams and sign contracts for the 2021-22 season.

Earlier this week, we previewed the forwards and defenders who could be targeted by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It was reported yesterday by Aaron Portzline that local product Sean Kuraly could be on the radar, to fill the Riley Nash role of 4th line center/penalty killer.

Among the players already in the Blue Jackets organization, the following are unrestricted free agents today:

Zac Dalpe
Stefan Matteau
Ryan MacInnis
Kole Sherwood
Michael Del Zotto
Mikko Lehtonen
Cliff Pu
Adam Clendening

The restricted free agents are:

Patrik Laine (reported to be signing his $7.5 million qualifying offer)
Alexandre Texier
Jake Bean
Andrew Peeke (exclusive rights RFA, so he’s not eligible for an offer sheet from another team)
Calvin Thurkauf

In the days leading up to free agency, teams have already started making moves to free up space. The Chicago Blackhawks are officially Going For It following their acquisition of Seth Jones, adding Marc-Andre Fleury and Tyler Johnson. Are these moves enough to get Chicago back to the playoffs? They’re still worse than Colorado and Minnesota, and clearly better than just Arizona and maybe Nashville. That leaves St. Louis, Dallas, and Winnipeg to battle with Chicago for the third spot in the Central (and, let’s be honest, probably both wild cards since the Pacific is still weak).

The Winnipeg Jets acquired a couple of overpaid players from cap-strapped teams: Brendan Dillon and Nate Schmidt.

Arizona continues to collect draft picks in exchange for taking on bad contracts, with the latest move being the acquisition of Anton Stralman from Florida.

Remember that CapFriendly remains an indispensable resource for tracking teams’ cap situations.

If you post news or a rumor in the comments, be sure to include a mention of the source, with a link to the tweet or article if possible (do NOT embed tweets).