Home News NHL free agency update: Blake Wheeler and Matt Duchene join after buyouts

NHL free agency update: Blake Wheeler and Matt Duchene join after buyouts

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The 2023 NHL Draft has now ended, paving the way for the off-season shuffle. The free agency period commenced on July 1, and buyouts have brought some big players into the relatively sparse market this year.

On the day before the start of NHL free agency, the Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets bought out Matt Duchene and Blake Wheeler, respectively. These players are now eligible for free agency and could be good options for teams vying for the playoffs.

This year’s free agency class may not command gigantic contracts, but veterans like forward Ryan O’Reilly could still bring value to the right team. O’Reilly’s defensive prowess and extensive playoff experience make him a valuable asset.

Other players joining the market include Tyler Bertuzzi and Dmitry Orlov, who were both traded to the Boston Bruins late last season. They found their groove in Boston and may have upped their market value. It’ll be interesting to see where they end up after performing well on a formidable Bruins team.

These players and others will be on the hunt for new teams starting in July, so let’s dive into some of the significant names in NHL free agency this year.

Matt Duchene | LW
Matt Duchene
NSH • C • #95
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After an unexpected buyout by the Nashville Predators, Duchene is now part of this year’s free agent class and is immediately a desirable prospect. Duchene may not have justified his $8 million cap hit in Nashville, but a high price tag and poor performance are not the same thing.

Duchene remains an effective winger, as proven during the 2021-22 season when he set the franchise record for single-season goals with 43. Despite a dip in performance last season with 22 goals and 56 points in 71 games, Duchene still carries great potential for a team seeking a second-line forward. However, there are concerns about his consistency. He only managed 19 goals in his first 100 games with the Predators.

Despite these consistency issues, Duchene will still attract interest due to his skills and the possibility of a discount, as Nashville is obligated to pay him until the 2028-29 season. Expect to see Duchene’s name tied to several teams.

[Other player summaries omitted for brevity]

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about NHL Free Agency 2023

What is NHL free agency?

NHL free agency is a period during the off-season when players whose contracts have expired or have been bought out become unrestricted free agents. They are then able to negotiate and sign contracts with any team in the NHL.

Who are some notable players entering NHL free agency in 2023?

Some notable players entering NHL free agency in 2023 include Blake Wheeler, Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bertuzzi, Dmitry Orlov, Tristan Jarry, Jason Zucker, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Killorn, and Patrick Kane.

What are the strengths of these players?

Each player brings different strengths to the table. For example, Ryan O’Reilly is known for his defensive skills, while Tyler Bertuzzi has a scoring touch and strong forechecking ability. Blake Wheeler is a skilled offensive winger, and Matt Duchene is an effective scoring forward. The other players also possess various skills that make them attractive options for teams.

What should teams consider when pursuing these free agents?

Teams should consider factors such as player performance, consistency, injury history, and fit within their team’s system. Contract demands and salary cap implications are also important considerations.

Are there any risks involved in signing these free agents?

Like any free agent signings, there are inherent risks. These can include player performance not living up to expectations, potential injury concerns, or the challenge of adjusting to a new team or system. Teams need to carefully evaluate these factors before making a signing decision.

When does NHL free agency begin?

NHL free agency typically begins on July 1st each year, allowing teams and players to negotiate and finalize contracts.

How long is the free agency period?

The free agency period usually extends for several weeks, during which teams have the opportunity to sign free agents. However, players can sign with teams outside of the free agency period if they remain unsigned.

Can teams re-sign their own free agents?

Yes, teams have the ability to re-sign their own free agents before they officially hit the open market. This allows teams to retain players they value and maintain roster continuity.

Will these players likely sign long-term contracts?

The length of contracts can vary depending on the player, team, and market demand. While some players may seek long-term deals, others might opt for shorter contracts to maintain flexibility or align with a contender.

What impact can these free agents have on teams?

These free agents have the potential to make a significant impact on their new teams. They bring valuable skills, experience, and leadership qualities that can contribute to a team’s success on the ice, particularly during the playoffs.

How are free agents typically evaluated by teams?

Teams evaluate free agents based on a combination of factors, including their performance statistics, advanced analytics, injury history, age, fit within the team’s system, and potential chemistry with existing players. The evaluation process involves a thorough assessment of the player’s overall value and how they can contribute to the team’s goals.

More about NHL Free Agency 2023

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