FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2013, file photo, hockey pucks are stacked on the boards as Vancouver Canucks players skate past during an informal NHL hockey practice at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. NHL free agency day began with two rivals helping each other out of a jam by way of a trade. The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Cody Ceci, a 2020 third-round pick and minor leaguers Ben Harpur and Aaron Luchuk from the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, forward Connor Brown and minor leaguer Michael Carcone. The teams announced the trade early Monday, July 1, 2019, roughly 3½ hours before the start of free agency. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck, File)

The Latest: NHL free agency opens, Panarin among top targets

July 01, 2019 - 12:14 pm

The Latest on NHL free agency (all times Eastern):

Noon

NHL free agency is under way with all eyes on Russian winger Artemi Panarin.

Panarin told the Columbus Blue Jackets a year ago he would not sign an extension and wanted to test free agency. The Florida Panthers and New York Rangers are among the teams that brought Panarin in for a free agent visit.

The 27-year-old recorded 28 goals and 59 assists for a career-high 87 points last season.

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11:25 a.m.

Jimmy Vesey will be a member of the Buffalo Sabres, after all.

The Sabres gave up a 2021 third-round draft pick to acquire the third-year forward in a Monday trade with the New York Rangers. Vesey joins the Sabres three years after he turned down an opportunity to sign with Buffalo upon completing his college career at Harvard.

Buffalo acquired Vesey's rights in a trade with Nashville in June 2016 in hopes they could sign college hockey's 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner before he was eligible to become a free agent. He instead signed with the Rangers.

The Predators selected Vesey in the third round of the 2012 draft.

Vesey scored 17 goals and had a career-best 35 points in 81 games last season. Overall, he has 50 goals and 40 assists for 90 points in 240 NHL career games.

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10:25 a.m.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have re-signed goalie Joonas Korpisalo to a one-year contract.

The 25-year-old Korpisalo was a restricted free agent who had a 10-7-3 record and 2.95 goals-against average in 27 games backing up Sergei Bobrovsky last season.

The signing comes at a time when the Blue Jackets are in jeopardy of losing Bobrovsky once the NHL's free-agent signing period opens.

General manager Jarmo Kekäläinen says the upcoming season will provide Korpisalo "a great opportunity to prove himself," and is confident the goalie is ready for that challenge.

The Blue Jackets selected Korpisalo in the third round of the 2012 out of Finland. He has a 41-31-9 record in 90 career NHL games.

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10 a.m.

The Dallas Stars have moved quickly to restore their forward depth.

A person with knowledge of the decision says the Stars have agreed to a deal with veteran winger Corey Perry. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the contract has not yet been signed. The NHL permits contracts to be signed beginning at noon Eastern.

The 34-year-old Perry was bought out by the Anaheim Ducks after a knee injury limited him to 10 points in 31 games.

Dallas will likely lose trade-deadline acquisition Mats Zuccarello, and the team let veteran center Jason Spezza walk in free agency. A person with knowledge of the move tells The AP that Spezza agreed to a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Stars may also be looking to sign center Joe Pavelski, the longtime San Jose Sharks captain.

— AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno

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9:40 a.m.

A person with knowledge of the move tells The Associated Press the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to sign veteran center Jason Spezza to a one-year contract when free agency opens.

The 36-year-old Spezza is expected to sign for roughly the $700,000 NHL minimum salary. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because contracts cannot be signed until noon Eastern time.

Spezza is a Toronto native entering his 17th season after spending the first 11 in Ottawa and past five in Dallas. He gives the Maple Leafs veteran depth. He had 27 points last season.

— AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno

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9:15 a.m.

Two NHL rivals helped each other out of a jam by way of a trade in the hours before NHL free agency opened.

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Cody Ceci, a 2020 third-round pick and minor leaguers Ben Harpur and Aaron Luchuk from the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, forward Connor Brown and minor leaguer Michael Carcone. The teams announced the trade early Monday.

The deal represents a much-needed change of scenery for Ceci, Zaitsev and Brown. Zaitsev had asked to be traded and waived his no-trade clause to complete the move across Ontario.

Salary cap-strapped Toronto, which still needs to sign restricted free agent forward Mitch Marner to a new contract, clears $6.6 million in space. Ceci is a restricted free agent who needs a new contract and has arbitration rights, but the Maple Leafs likely need him on their thin blue line.

Zaitsev is signed for $4.5 million a season through 2023-24. Brown has one year left on his contract and should get more ice time in Ottawa than in Toronto with its glut of talented young forwards.

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