NHL Free Agency 2011: Live Blog of All of the News and Rumors from Opening Day

Mark JonesSenior Analyst IJuly 1, 2011

SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 6: Goaltender Tomas Vokoun #29 of the Florida Panthers gets a drink of water during a break in action against the Ottawa Senators on April 6, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Senators defeated the Panthers 5-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

It's here.

July 1st.

For some of us, it's Canada Day. For others, simply a hot first day of July. 

But for the entire hockey world, it's the biggest holiday imaginable: the opening of free agency.

At noon E.T., hundreds and hundreds of players will hit the wires as free agents, and it won't take but two minutes for the contracts to start pouring in (for there's already been a lot of negotiations before now, most definitely).

On the forwards' side of things, Brad Richards highlights a group of UFAs heavy on mid-line players and not so much on first-liners. Back on "D," a flurry of last-minute rights trading has resulted in an extremely shallow and undoubtedly mixed-up class of defensemen. And, for the goaltenders, Tomas Vokoun stands out among a most mediocre group just happy that there's a lot of teams needing netminders this summer.

The newly recreated Winnipeg Jets will make their first addition to the team today. They made their first draft pick a week ago; now it's time to start attracting the real NHL-ers.

Tomas Kaberle, after many years of trade rumors, will be stirring things up in free agency instead this afternoon. And the Philadelphia Flyers, after their massive overhaul, will hit the ground running with the cap space to sign perhaps just one player.

As the day goes along, we'll be running a live blog with instant updates, reactions and analysis of the day's signings the minute they happen. We'll be tracking every source possible to get you the news as fast as possible, from the most common places—like NHL.com—to the some hole-in-the-wall sites and from the most reliable sources—CapGeek.com, perhaps—all the way down to Twitter.

Of course, we'll manage to throw in plenty of opinion, bias and half-baked criticisms to make sure our favorite day of the year will never become dull.

So, as the day wears on, keep us up on your desktop—even in a minimized box in the corner, possibly—for instant reactions of all of the frenzy of happenings around NHL free agency on this special occasion...for most of us, at least.