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NHL Free Agents 2011: LIVE Updates On UFA Day

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NHL FREE AGENTS 2011 LIVE
AP

It's July 1, and that means UFA Day for the NHL: unrestricted free agents will have the opportunity to sign with any team they choose.

The chaos starts at noon Eastern Time and you can follow live updates below in our live blog.

It's an interesting year as the free agent crop doesn't have as much star power as years past, but several teams are well below the cap floor so they'll have to put up big dollars.

The most prized free agent is center Brad Richards, and rumor has it the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres will all put together strong offers for him.

Richards refused to waive his no-trade clause from Dallas in June. For those looking for clues where he might go, he said on Twitter last night, "Big day tomorrow. Very open minded to all the situations that will be presented. To bad I couldn't try them all.... Will be good to move on."

Other big names to test the market include Erik Cole, Simon Gagne, Ville Leino, Michael Ryder, Tomas Fleischmann and Jan Hejda. Follow live updates below.

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Center Brad Richards, the most prized free agent this year, remains without a team as of this hour and some believe he will sleep on his big decision.

The New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames are all rumored to be in the mix still. There are rumblings the Philadelphia Flyers could put together a pitch too. The Buffalo Sabres for their part have said they're pulling out of the Richards sweepstakes after signing Ville Leino earlier today.

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The Colorado Avalanche have signed Jean-Sebastian Giguere to solidify a one-two goaltending tandem, CBC reports.

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Tomas Fleischmann has signed a 4-year deal worth million with the Florida Panthers, The Globe and Mail's James Mirtle reports.

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The Montreal Canadiens signed forward Erik Cole to a 4-year, million deal. ProHockeyTalk has more on the deal.

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The Buffalo Sabres have signed forward Ville Leino to a 6-year deal worth million, TSN reports.

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Kris Versteeg has been traded to the Florida Panthers for a second round pick and a third round pick in 2012, per the Flyers Twitter account.

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The Colorado Avalanche have signed goaltender Semyon Varlamov to a two-year deal, per TSN, after acquiring him from the Washington Capitals earlier in the day.

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After signing Jagr, the Philadelphia Flyers added center Max Talbot to their roster, just signed for five years, million total, per Darren Dreger. The Pennsylvania rivalry with the Pittsburgh Penguins just got that much more interesting.

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TSN's James Duthie notes, "27 signings so far in two hours and change. 30 last year in our entire 6-hour show."

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Center Marcel Goc has just signed with the extremely active Florida Panthers, according to the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle.

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The Denver Post reports that the Avalanche have signed defenseman Jan Hejda, previously with Columbus. TSN's Bob McKenzie reports the deal is for 4 years, .25 million per year.

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The Florida Panthers have been active! After inking Upshall and Theodore, the Panthers just signed veteran defenseman Ed Jovanoski. The 35-year-old played in Florida from 1995-1999 before spending time in Vancouver and Phoenix.

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Not long after Jaromir Jagr was said to have his heart in Pittsburgh, he has signed with cross-state rival Philadelphia, The Fourth Period reports. He will make his NHL comeback bid with the Flyers, having been gone from the NHL since playing for the Rangers in 2008.

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James Mirtle from the Globe and Mail reports that Scottie Upshall has signed with the Florida Panthers. The 27-year-old winger was previously with Columbus.

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Veteran goaltender Jose Theodore signs with the Panthers for two years, .5 million per year, per Bob McKenzie.

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Goaltender Mathieu Garon leaves Columbus for Tampa Bay, signing with the Lightning a two year deal, .3 per year, per TSN.

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Via ViewFromMySeats, "#LAKings show up to Brad Richards' agents office and cant get into the building. Um, that can't be a good sign."

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Drew Miller re-ups with the Detroit Red Wings for two years, 0k in year one and 0k in year two, TSN's Bob McKenzie reports.

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Jaromir Jagr's much-hyped NHL comeback attempt (having left the league in 2008) won't happen in Pittsburgh or Detroit, as both clubs have withdrawn their offers. Jagr's agent Petr Svoboda told ESPN today that several teams are in the mix for his client.

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The Pittsburgh Penguins just announced forward Tyler Kennedy signed a two-year deal with the club.

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TSN reports that Chris Higgins has signed a two-year deal with the Canucks for .9 million.

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Just before Noon, the Columbus Blue Jackets signed offense-minded defenseman James Wisniewski to a 6-year million deal, according to TSN. The Jackets acquired Wisniewski's rights from the Canadiens in a deal on Wednesday. Wisniewski set career-highs in goals (10) and assists (41) last season in 75 games.

Yahoo's Greg Wyshynski explains why the Wisniewski signing was essential for Columbus here.

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You can follow along here of course, but for diehard hockey fans, you can also keep tabs on SI, TSN, and hockey rumor site HockeyBuzz.

For the quickest updates, you may just want to watch Twitter with hashtag #NHLFA, but be careful getting too excited as there are also plenty of rumors there.

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