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THN.com Blog: Free agency opens with many storylines to follow

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Yes, children, it’s that special day that comes but once a year – the one where NHL player agents rise from their beds having barely slept after visions of no-trade clauses and 10-year contracts danced in their heads all night long.

In other words, it’s unrestricted free agency day, and there should be lots of deals – and perhaps even a few trades mixed in – for hockey fans to dissect and debate.

If the rumor mill is any indication, the one team I’d keep a close eye on is the Chicago Blackhawks. GM Dale Tallon has somewhere in the area of $13 million to spend and I fully expect him to come away with one of the higher-end, puck-moving defensemen (Brian Campbell, Wade Redden, Mark Streit or Michal Rozsival) over the course of the next 24-48 hours.

One of the more intriguing side plots I’ll be watching is the level of interest in two players – Todd Bertuzzi and Ray Emery – whose less-than-ideal reputations precede them in a major way.

If either one of those guys come away with anything other than a one-year contract and a pay cut, there really is no saving NHL owners (and GMs, for that matter) from themselves.

• As always, THN.com will have all the signings and moves of UFA Day. Click here for a full list of unsigned players and keep coming back to the home page all day for instant analysis of each and every significant deal.

Adam Proteau is The Hockey News' online columnist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

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