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Friday, July 5, 2013
Free agency period begins

By Katie Strang

At noon on Friday, the market will open for unrestricted free agents -- the most anticipated day of the NHL offseason.

Several marquee players are already off the board because the league added a two-day window before the official start of free agency, during which pending free agents could speak with interested teams and arrive at agreements. Danny Briere signed with Montreal, and Daniel Alfredsson is reportedly headed to Detroit. But there still are some appealing candidates available to the local NHL teams.

Though the Rangers' salary-cap issues are prohibitive and preclude spending much more than pocket change -- barring a trade that could free up space -- the Islanders and Devils could be aggressive.

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello stunned the hometown crowd at the draft Sunday at Newark's Prudential Center, trading for Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider. Lamoriello has been active ever since, going after Briere before the veteran center signed with the Habs and re-signing Patrik Elias on Thursday.

The Islanders also were interested in Briere (though they were never considered the front-runners) and are looking to make some upgrades after a surprising run to the playoffs this spring. With goaltender Evgeni Nabokov testing the market, the Isles will be looking for help between the pipes. The departure of captain Mark Streit, who was traded to the Flyers last month, also creates an immediate need on defense.

Considering the dramatic reduction of the salary cap for next season, this could be a particularly frenzied first day of free agency.

Stay tuned to ESPN.com throughout the day for updates.