Saturday July 1st. Today's the day that we've all been waiting for. The day that the frenzy known as NHL Free Agency officially begins. You've all heard the rumors. Fantasized about the outcomes, and debated till you're blue in the face about who should sign where and for what term/amount.

At 9 AM PST the NHL's premier Free Agent players were officially allowed to sign on the dotted line with whatever team they want.

Now, while many deals leaked before the 9AM PST timeframe, there we're still a number of players who saw the 9 AM mark come and go without putting their names to a contract.

Top free agents

Players such as Joe Thronton, Patrick Marleau, Alexander Radulov, and Kevin Shattenkrik were considered the top-four free agents available. The prize, is 28-year-old defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

To borrow from Commissioner Gary Bettman, "well New York, your long wait is finally over!" After months of speculation, and a morning rife with inaccurate reports, it's now a done deal.

The New Rochelle native has signed his name on the dotted line.

After spending six of his first seven years with the St. Louis Blues, Shattenkirk has come home. When New York had a chance to nab him at the trade deadline last season, they lost out to Washington, as they weren't willing to part with as much talent as St. Louis was demanding. Their thinking was that they would, in the end, end up paying double for him. The cost in prospects and money was too much, so the Blueshirts waited for him to become an Unrestricted Free Agent, and then they nabbed their man.

The deal gets done

Rangers' GM Jeff Gorton got Shattenkirk at a discount. The newly minted 4-yr/$26.6M ($6.65M AAV) contract shows that reports of Shattenkirk willing to give his "hometown" team a break are indeed true. He left money and years on the table to come play in Madison Square Garden. Kevin will immediately slot into the right of Ryan McDonagh and will also man the point of the power play.

New York's top-four didn't do so well last season, and after buying out long-time Dman Dan Girardi, who was in decline, there was an obvious hole in the top-pairing. Well, that hole is now gone. New York's new top-four consists of Ryan McDonagh--Kevin Shattenkirk, and Brady Skjei--Brendan Smith. And that now allows the bottom pairing to be a rotating mix of Marc Staal, Nick Holden, and Anthony DeAngelo.

The Rangers have had an active first day of free agency, as they not only signed Shattenkirk, but they also got a backup goalie in the form of Ondrej Pavelec, formerly of the Winnipeg Jets. With two of their three offseason needs now accounted for, Gorton just needs to sign a center and he's good to go. Shattenkirk's opening statement about his signing was thus, "I think the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup as a hometown kid, that's the reason I came here."

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