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Top 20 players available via free agency

Tuesday, 06.30.2015 / 12:05 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The next phase in the run-up to the 2015-16 season begins at noon ET on Wednesday, when the unrestricted free agent signing period begins.

The list of unrestricted free agents grew to include forwards Mike Richards, PA Parenteau, Cody Hodgson and Viktor Stalberg in the past few days. Richards cleared unconditional waivers and had his contract terminated by the Los Angeles Kings. The others cleared waivers and were bought out.

Meanwhile, forwards Jay Beagle (Washington Capitals) and Drew Stafford (Winnipeg Jets), goaltender Antti Niemi (Dallas Stars) and defenseman Adam McQuaid (Boston Bruins) were re-signed prior to reaching free agency. Niemi had his rights traded to the Stars from the San Jose Sharks during the 2015 NHL Draft.

Here are the 20 best unrestricted free agents (in alphabetical order) expected to be available when the market opens Wednesday:

Lightning sign defenseman Sustr to two-year contract

Tuesday, 06.30.2015 / 10:08 AM / News

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Andrej Sustr to a two-year, one-way contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Sustr, 24, played in 72 games with the Lightning this past season, recording 13 assists and 34 penalty minutes. The Plzen, Czech Republic native set career highs for games played, assists, plus/minus (+10) and penalty minutes. Sustr also appeared in 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Lightning, registering one goal and two points. He scored his first career postseason goal in Game 2 against the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs.

Bruins sign McQuaid to four-year contract

Tuesday, 06.30.2015 / 9:00 AM / News

The Boston Bruins signed defenseman Adam McQuaid to a four-year, $11 million contract, general manager Don Sweeney said Tuesday.

The sides agreed to terms on the contract shortly before the 2015 NHL Draft began Friday.

Canucks sign goalie Markstrom to two-year contract

Monday, 06.29.2015 / 8:27 PM / News

The Vancouver Canucks re-signed goaltender Jacob Markstrom to a two-year contract, general manager Jim Benning announced Monday.

The contract will average $1.55 million per season, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reported.

Markstrom, 25, played three games for the Canucks this season, when he was 22-7-2 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in 32 games for the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League.

VandeVelde signs multiyear contract with Flyers

Monday, 06.29.2015 / 7:40 PM / News

The Philadelphia Flyers have signed 6-2, 190 lb. C Chris VandeVelde to a multi-year contract extension, according to general manager Ron Hextall.

VandeVelde, 28 (3/15/1987), is coming off a breakout season in which he recorded nine goals and six assists for 15 points in 79 games. Prior to 2014-15, he had never appeared in more than 18 games in any of his previous four NHL seasons, and had posted a goal and three assists over 46 NHL games.

To read more from the Flyers website, CLICK HERE.

Lidstrom, Fedorov, Pronger lead Hall of Fame class

Monday, 06.29.2015 / 6:43 PM / News

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

Nicklas Lidstrom , Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger, Phil Housley, Angela Ruggiero, Peter Karmanos Jr. and Bill Hay are the Class of 2015 for the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Hall announced Monday.

The induction ceremony will be Nov. 9 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Lidstrom, Fedorov and Pronger each was chosen in his first year of eligibility.

"It's very humbling to be included alongside the esteemed group of players and builders in the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2015," Pronger said. "It's very exciting to think about becoming an honored member. It's certainly something I didn't expect while playing."

Capitals sign center Beagle to three-year contract

Monday, 06.29.2015 / 5:08 PM / News

Kristen Nelson - Correspondent

Forward Jay Beagle could have re-signed with the Washington Capitals a little sooner had he not been riding around the mountains of Alberta in a motor home.

When he finally received cell reception Monday after a day of missed calls from his agent, Beagle stopped in the nearest town outside of Calgary and signed a three-year, $5.25 million contract.

"I all of the sudden had about five messages on my phone when I hit cell reception, so I figured I better stop and make sure that I get this thing done," Beagle said.

Stars goaltender Niemi signs three-year contract

Monday, 06.29.2015 / 4:14 PM / News

Goaltender Antti Niemi signed a three-year contract with the Dallas Stars on Monday. Financial terms of the contract were not announced, but Sportsnet reported it has an average annual value of $4.5 million.

Niemi could have become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday.

Dallas acquired Niemi's negotiating rights from the San Jose Sharks on Saturday for a 2015 seventh-round pick.

"We explored every angle of it. We had our meetings back in May, and we went to the free agent list for our different options for goaltending," Stars general manager Jim Nill said. "We knew we had to make some changes, and there's two ways we could have gone. One way was the free agent route, and the other way was to make a trade using either draft picks, prospects or players off the team.

"Antti was the No. 1 UFA that we had targeted, and we went over the course of the last 4-6 weeks, I've been talking to teams, seeing what the other options were going to be, and in the end, Antti always came up as the No. 1 choice."

Flyers trade Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 draft pick

Monday, 06.29.2015 / 3:40 PM / News

The Philadelphia Flyers traded forward Zac Rinaldo to the Boston Bruins on Monday for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Rinaldo, 25, had one goal and five assists and led the Flyers with 109 penalty minutes in 58 games this season.

A sixth-round pick (No. 178) in the 2008 draft, Rinaldo has eight goals, 24 points and 572 penalty minutes in 223 NHL games.

Maple Leafs mourn death of Stanowski

Monday, 06.29.2015 / 3:39 PM / News

It is with great sadness the Toronto Maple Leafs learned on Monday of the passing of Wally Stanowski. He was 96 years old.

Before he became an NHLer, Stanowski enjoyed a decorated junior career with the St. Boniface Seals. In 1938, he was part of a Memorial Cup winning club. During the tournament he scored six goals and 10 points in 11 games from the back end. That came at the tail end of a productive season, where he had 21 points in 15 games and another 11 points in 10 playoff games.

To read more from the Maple Leafs website, CLICK HERE.

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