Blake Wheeler, Matt Duchene added to the mix after buyouts

The 2023 NHL Draft has come and gone, but the offseason movement is just getting started. Free agency starts on July 1, and buyouts have added a couple of big names to an otherwise shallow market this year.

On Friday, just one day before NHL free agency was set to kick off, the Nashville Predators bought out Matt Duchene, and the Winnipeg Jets bought out Blake Wheeler. Those two will now enter the free agency pool and give playoff contenders some options on the wing.

This free agency class won’t break the bank with massive contracts, but someone like veteran forward Ryan O’Reilly can still make a difference on the right team. O’Reilly is a strong defensive presence up front, and he has plenty of playoff experience under his belt.

Other players hitting the market are a pair of players who got traded to the Boston Bruins late last season — Tyler Bertuzzi and Dmitry Orlov. They both hit their stride in Boston and probably made themselves some money. It will be interesting to see where those two land after strong showings on a loaded Bruins team.

Those players and more will be looking for new homes when July begins, so let’s take a look at some of the biggest names in NHL free agency this year.

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