The NHL free agency period begins at noon on Saturday, July 1. That day is also the first official day of the 2023-24 NHL calendar year. Teams have a negotiation window between themselves and their free agents between the NHL Draft and the start of the new calendar year. At noon opposing teams can talk and negotiate with free agents.
2023 NHL Free Agency: Top Defensemen
The big free agent prize among the blueliners is going to be Dmitry Orlov, a 31-year-old veteran that can still offer 20+ minutes a night as a top-four guy. He is a good teammate and an productive piece on the power play. After a long run with the Washington Capitals, Orlov was sent to the Boston Bruins as a playoff rental. Whoever signs him is going to have to likely invest five-plus years at $7 million AAV.
It’s a pretty thin group of defensemen on the market, which will open the door for some veterans like John Klingberg (Minnesota Wild) to cash in. But no one should benefit more from this market than Klingberg’s Minnesota Wild teammate Matt Dumba. As a 28-year-old right-handed shot defenseman that can take on a top-four role, the market for Dumba is going to be higher than expected.
Other top free-agent defensemen: