Top five UFA defencemen: Teams flock to sign rearguards on first day of free agency

Justin Bourne discusses what all seven Canadian teams need to do once NHL free agency opens.

Headlined by Dougie Hamilton and rounded out by some playoff-savvy veterans, this year's deep class of UFA defencemen will certainly be a focal point of free agency. Where they choose to sign could also show us which teams are poised to contend this year.

On Monday, Frank Seravalli reported that the Vegas Golden Knights are keeping noted playoff performer Alec Martinez off the market with a deal in place.

On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Flyers scooped up veteran rearguard Keith Yandle on a bargain of a deal just days after the Florida Panthers bought out the final two years of his contract.

Here's a look at some of the top defencemen due new deals this summer.

Dougie Hamilton
Age: 28
2020-21 cap hit: $5.75M (Hurricanes)

SIGNED: The biggest UFA name on the blue line has a new hockey home, signing a seven-year deal with the New Jersey Devils that carries a $9-million cap hit.

Tyson Barrie
Age: 30
2020-21 cap hit: $3.75M (Oilers)

RE-SIGNED: Barrie's offensive-driven game fit in seamlessly Edmonton in 2020-21, and the two sides are keeping the partnership alive with a three-year deal that carries a $4.5-million AAV.

Ryan Suter
Age: 36
2020-21 cap hit: $7.54M (Wild)

SIGNED: The veteran defenceman is heading to Dallas with term -- his four-year deal is worth $14.6 million, with a $3.65-million cap hit.

David Savard
Age: 30
2020-21 cap hit: $4.25M (Blue Jackets/Lightning)

SIGNED: The Montreal Canadiens have signed Savard to a four-year, $14-million deal.

Mike Reilly
Age: 28
2020-21 cap hit: $1.5M (Senators/Bruins)

SIGNED: Reilly will remain in Boston, signing a three-year pact on Wednesday to stay with the Bruins.

More defencemen to watch: Ryan Murray, Zdeno Chara, Ian Cole.

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