The 2023 NHL Free Agency window is officially open at noon ET on Saturday, July 1. While most people will be out celebrating the long weekend and upcoming 4th of July, this time of year always marks when players can sign with new teams. Below we’ll go over the free agent class a bit and track all the latest contracts and deals.
It’s been a while since the NHL has had a legit free agent class. If we look back, the year Zach Parise and Ryan Suter went to the Minnesota Wild comes to mind. We also saw Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos test free agency before returning. John Tavares left the Islanders to sign with the Maple Leafs in free agency.
This year, a few of the top names in free agency were under contracts a few days ago. Former Nashville Predators C Matt Duchene and former Winnipeg Jets RW Blake Wheeler were each bought out of their contracts prior to free agency beginning. Duchene immediately became the top name on the open market while Wheeler should be sought after by many contending teams. Aside from those two, Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly and James van Riemsdyk.
2023 NHL Free Agency tracker
4:28 p.m. ET — The Miles Wood deal with the Avalanche is for six years at $2.5 million per season. The Avalanche are also signing forward Jonathan Drouin to a deal.
4:15 p.m. ET — The Penguins have joined the fray. Pittsburgh is signing former Devils defenseman Ryan Graves on a six-year deal worth $4.5 million per season. The Pens also brought back goaltender Tristan Jarry on a five-year deal and goalie Alex Nedeljkovic on a one-year deal to serve as a potential backup with Casey DeSmith.
3:43 p.m. ET — Former Lightning forward Alex Killorn went out and got himself a shiny new deal. Killorn is signing a four-year contract with the Ducks worth an average annual value of $6.25 million, which is very high. At the moment, Killorn is the highest paid Ducks forward, which shouldn’t last long. Killorn brings a lot of experience from his time winning Cups in Tampa. He’s also a solid PP specialist.
2:24 p.m. ET — Of course the best forward in free agency only gets a one-year, $3 million deal. The Stars are signing Matt Duchene to that contract, which is an absolute steal. Duchene is already making buyout money from the Predators and moves to Texas where there is no state income tax, so he didn’t really need to seek a ton of money. Duchene can try and help Dallas win the Cup.
This is also a good play by Duchene’s agent. If Duchene has a good season, the cap is expected to go up for 2024-25, potentially to $87 million. Duchene will be 33 years old in January. He could help himself land one last deal with a quality season, which may not be too difficult on the Stars’ loaded roster.
2:13 p.m. ET — The Avalanche are bringing in former Devils LW Miles Wood, per Dreger.
1:56 p.m. ET — The Hurricanes are signing former Leafs forward Michael Bunting to a contract, per Weekes. It’s a three-year deal for Bunting, who was a late-bloomer, breaking out with the Maple Leafs in 2021-22. He scored 63 points that season to finish third in Calder Trophy voting despite being 25 years old. The Hurricanes were in need of scoring and Bunting should help solve that in the middle-6 somewhere.
1:54 p.m. ET — Former Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy got himself a three-year deal with the Canucks worth $3.25 million per season. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk also signed with the Bruins.
1:31 p.m. ET — The Capitals are bringing in veteran forward Max Pacioretty on a one-year deal worth $2 million.
1:20 p.m. ET — The Hurricanes had been in on Erik Karlsson but are signing Dmitry Orlov on a short-term deal, per LeBrun. Orlov being brought in could mean the ‘Canes aren’t going to pursue Karlsson heavily. Carolina could also flip Brett Pesce or Brady Skjei in a deal for Karlsson. Each is in the final year of his contract. Orlov’s deal is over two years for a total of $7.75 million.
1:10 p.m. ET — The Preds have been busy and Gustav Nyquist is the latest signing on a two-year deal worth around $3 million per season. Nyquist joins O’Reilly as the top signings for Nashville so far.
1:01 p.m. ET — There were reports of this earlier in the week. The Bruins are bringing back forward Milan Lucic.
12:57 p.m. ET — We’re almost an hour into free agency and there are plenty of big names without deals. We’ll go over some minor signings below:
Morgan Geekie to the Bruins
Erik Johnson to the Sabres
Tyler Pitlick to the Rangers
Radko Gudas to the Ducks
James Reimer to the Red Wings
12:45 p.m. ET — The Senators are shoring up goalie by signing Joonas Korpisalo to a deal, per Friedman. The term seems long. Korpisalo is an OK starter on a good team. Ottawa could put that team in front of him. This could also look bad, similar to the Jack Campbell deal with the Oilers.
I can't re-tweet them...but the Senators announced Joonas Korpisalo on a 5x$4M contract— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 1, 2023
12:39 p.m. ET — Sike, the Hurricanes are bringing back Andersen on a two-year deal, per reports. So Carolina will proceed again this season with three NHL goalies under contract. Raanta and Andersen played well splitting time in the postseason. Andersen was also out due to injury and Kochetkov and Raanta played well. The deal is worth $3.4 million annually.
12:26 p.m. ET — The Rangers are signing RW Blake Wheeler to a contract, per reports. Wheeler was bought out by the Jets this week. New York will lose Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko in free agency most likely. Wheeler brings some size and offense to a lineup that needed help at even strength. The contract is only a one-year, $800K deal with bonuses up to $1.1 million, which is great value. Goalie Jonathan Quick is also joining the Rangers on a one-year contract.
12:23 p.m. ET — Semyon Varlamov is remaining on Long Island, signing a one-year deal with the Islanders, per reports.
12:19 p.m. ET — This is an interesting deal. The Boston Bruins are apparently going to sign wing James van Riemsdyk to a one-year, $1 million deal, per reports.
12:12 p.m. ET — The first big name has landed in Nashville. Center Ryan O’Reilly is ditching a chance to contend by signing with the Predators, per Friedman. We’re awaiting details on the deal.
12:05 p.m. ET — Twitter remains down but we’ll throw in some of that later. For now, we have a few deals. Luke Schenn is going to the Predators, per Friedman. Joel Edmundson is also being traded to the Capitals from Montreal, per LeBrun. The Habs will retain 50% of his salary for this season.
11:53 a.m. ET — The Hurricanes are busy already today. Jesper Fast is back on a two-year contract and Antti Raanta is also returning on a one-year deal, per Darren Dreger. With Raanta back and Pyotr Kochetkov under contract, Frederik Andersen appears unlikely to be back in Carolina.
Antti Raanta stays in Carolina. 1 yr $1.5 mil— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2023
11:48 a.m. ET — Lightning F Alex Killorn will head to the open market, per Pierre LeBrun. There was a report earlier that the Devils could look into adding Killorn. New Jersey signed his former teammate Ondrej Palat last offseason. The Devils are expected to bring back Nathan Bastian and Michael McLeod, but Jesper Boqvist is likely not being re-signed, which opens up a spot in the bottom-6.
Agent Matt Keator says client Alex Killorn is headed to the UFA market. Last minute negotiations with the Tampa Bay Lightning did not produce an extension.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2023
Killorn tied for UFA lead with 27 goals this past season@TSNHockey @TheAthletic
11:40 a.m. ET — We’re not too far from free agency opening and other than Twitter not working, we’re in good shape. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet is already reporting a few potential deals, including D Oliver Ekman-Larsson to the Panthers. That could mean Florida won’t pursue Shayne Gostisbehere. Kevin Weekes of NHL Network is reporting Cam Talbot is going to the Kings to serve as backup goalie.