NHL free agency heating up

By Jacob Onak

Since the June 30 draft, the NHL has been in an offseason buzz.

Throughout the past couple weeks there have been a number of big moves in order for teams to free up some salary space so they meet the new salary cap. There have also been a number of free agent signings that have sent the hockey world abuzz, and the NHL managers have wasted no time.

One of the first, and maybe one that will make a difference in the long run, was the trade of Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for its first round draft pick.

In the same day, our Blackhawks traded Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik for four 2013 draft picks and one 2014 draft pick.

On Thursday, we saw one of the biggest trades in the last couple of years between Boston and Dallas. In an effort to free up salary cap space the Bruins sent a talented, young Tyler Seguin along with Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to the Stars, who have started to make a name for themselves as they rebuild their roster. In return, the Bruins picked up Loui Eriksson, Joseph Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.

The next day, the Bruins used some of that salary cap room to sign veteran Jarome Iginla, while former Bruin Nathan Horton signed a big deal to send him to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Bryan Bickell, Michal Handzus and Michal Rozsival have all signed new deals with the Blackhawks, as Stan Bowman is working hard to keep together the Stanley Cup-winning roster.

In an effort to keep that roster together there must be some casualties, as Viktor Stalberg will join up with the Nashville Predators.

Another loss for Chicago will be goalie Ray Emery, who will join the Philadelphia Flyers. The man to replace Emery in the backup role will be the familiar face of Nikolai Khabibulin, who applied his trade in Chicago from 2005-2009 and was recently resigned.

To round out the big name moves, former U.S. Olympian and Anaheim Ducks star Bobby Ryan was traded to the Ottowa Senators. In return, the Ducks got Stefan Noesen and a 2014 first round draft pick.

Needless to say, Friday was a huge day in the NHL and it will be interesting to see how many more changes there will be around the league in the next coming weeks.

If you’re a Blackhawks fan, though, you don’t want to see many changes to the roster, and I am sure Bowman is thinking the same thing.