NHL Free Agency 2012: Start Date, Latest Rumors and More

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJune 26, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 07:  (L-R) Ryan Suter #20 and Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators talk during a break from Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on May 7, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Predators 2-1 to win the series 4 games to 1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

An exciting summer of player movement will commence July 1 when NHL free agency begins, when teams will compete for the signatures of the best players available on the market.

Even though there is a chance that next season could be affected by a lockout, any possible work stoppage won't affect the start of free agency since the current CBA doesn't expire until September 15.

Let's look at everything you need to know for free agency, including the latest rumors on the best talents available.

When: July 1 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Top Targets (UFAs)

Zach Parise, LW, New Jersey Devils

Ryan Suter, D, Nashville Predators

Alexander Semin, RW, Washington Capitals

Ray Whitney, LW, Phoenix Coyotes

Shane Doan, RW, Phoenix Coyotes

Dennis Wideman, D, Washington Capitals

Dustin Penner, LW, Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04:  Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils looks on as Dustin Brown #23, Anze Kopitar #11, Justin Williams #14 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate Kopitar's goal in the second period of Game Three of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at S
Harry How/Getty Images

Latest Rumors

Ryan Suter might be the answer to the Penguins' woes on the blue line since the team is reportedly interested in his negotiating rights, according to Rob Russo of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Told #pens are looking into rights to Ryan Suter. They tried similar with Hamhuis 2 years ago #nhldraft

— Rob Rossi (@RobRossi_Trib) June 23, 2012

Veteran forward Jaromir Jagr might not return to the Flyers after an impressive season offensively for Philadelphia. Here's the latest from TSN's Darren Dreger.

Jaromir Jagr enjoyed Phildadelphia, but plans on testing free agency. Also plans to change training to shed some lbs and get faster.

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 18, 2012

Peter Mueller will hit free agency, according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post, but he will be a risky signing given his injury history.

Defenseman Aaron Rome's tenure with the Vancouver Canucks will likely end, according to Vancouver News 1130.

Epp not surprised no interest from Van but excited about Rome being available on July 1st.

— News1130 Sports (@News1130Sports) June 25, 2012

The Penguins seem to be one of many teams interested in Zach Parise this summer, according to Rob Russo of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

#pens will make play for Parise if they can move Martin, just was told ... Team trying to clear space to find Crosby a winger

— Rob Rossi (@RobRossi_Trib) June 23, 2012

Young defenseman Jordan Schultz will be one of the most coveted players when he can be signed as a free agent.

Justin Schultz becomes UFA at midnight Sunday night. Blue-chip D prospect to meet with agent(s) in Toronto on Tuesday. Will field offers Wed

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 23, 2012

Where will the top free agents play next season? Let your opinion be heard in the comment section below.