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Some names hopping across the pond

Friday, 07.01.2011 / 10:28 AM

By David Kalan - NHL.com Staff Writer / Free Agency '11 Blog

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Free Agency '11 Blog
Some names hopping across the pond
The start of the NHL's free ageny signing period is just 90 minutes away, but that doesn't mean some players aren't making moves. Of course, these aren't your standard players inking deals in the hours before teams lose their negotiating rights.

Some, struggling to break into the NHL full time, are crossing the Atlantic in hopes of greener pastures.

Reports have begun to surface that the Swedish Elite League's HV71 has managed to pursuade Islanders forward Jesse Joensuu and Noah Welch, who spent most of this past year with the AHL's Chicago Wolves, to sign deals in Sweden.

Elsewhere, Canucks farmhand Sergei Shirokov is reportedly heading to the KHL while Hannu Toivonen, who has made appearances with the Bruins and Blues over the past few years, has decided to play goal for Malmo, also of the Swedish Elite League. Toivonen spent the last two seasons in the Blackhawks' system with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs.

Of course, when the clock hits noon and unrestricted free agency opens, deals involving NHL teams will finally begin to come through, and that's when the big names will start to fly around.

Sit tight. The fun is about to begin.
Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins