2021 NHL Free Agency: Open Thread

Commence silly season.

The commencement of the NHL’s free agency period is mere hours away. Changes to this year’s free agency eliminated the negotiating window where teams could get exact terms agreed upon in handshake deals before making them official once contracts can begin being filed at the league’s front office.

That doesn’t mean that NHL teams aren’t basically aware of what players are looking for, though. Teams can speak with agents to get a general sense of term and desired salary ranges. Which means insiders are starting to place “educated guesses” as to where some of the biggest names are headed today.

The Dallas Stars need to fill a top four defenseman role after the departure of Jamie Oleksiak to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft last week. Ryan Suter, who was bought out by the Minnesota Wild along with teammate Zach Parise, has been commonly linked to the Stars, with Bob McKenzie placing his betting odds on Suter replacing one shade of green for another this year. (And Bob McKenzie is rarely wrong in these instances.)

Reportedly, Suter is looking for a four year term. The 36-year-old defensemen has been declining in effectiveness per advanced analytics, and a four year term would make him 40 years old when his contract ended. But with a core that is potentially entering its last year of contention, is one year of Suter as an effective partner for Miro Heiskanen enough to take on the risk of such a contract? And how does that impact the ability of the team to try to fit John Klingberg into their cap situation next year when he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent?

Stay tuned closely, check those Twitter verified accounts, and don’t fall for people creating fake accounts to “break trades” because they have nothing better to do with their time than to try to draw you offside.