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.
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.
The Athletic: Blue Jackets expected to pursue a center and defenseman via free agency on Wednesday, and one name has come to the fore …Dublin’s Sean Kuraly#CBJ https://t.co/s57Ucck9cO pic.twitter.com/cnh0mPJkUX— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) July 27, 2021
Among the players already in the Blue Jackets organization, the following are unrestricted free agents today:
Michael Del Zotto
The restricted free agents are:
Patrik Laine (reported to be signing his $7.5 million qualifying offer)
Andrew Peeke (exclusive rights RFA, so he’s not eligible for an offer sheet from another team)
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).
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.
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