Puck drops on NHL free agency, flurry of deals expected

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2015, file photo, Boston Bruins left wing Loui Eriksson (21) skates during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston. Steven Stamkos isn't the only "big fish" available when NHL free agency opens Friday at noon. The top-tier talent is deeper than in many recent years with Milan Lucic, Loui Eriksson, Brian Campbell and others available. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Charles Krupa/AP

The puck has dropped on NHL free agency.

A slew of deals were expected to be done before the sun sets Friday.

Steven Stamkos stopped the sweepstakes for his services Wednesday with a $68 million, eight-year contract to stay in Tampa Bay. That deal was announced on the same day as a blockbuster trade that sent defenseman P.K. Subban to Nashville and Shea Weber to Montreal.

The Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs were projected to be major players in free agency, hoping to make a splash by signing big-name players.

Milan Lucic, Kyle Okposo and Loui Eriksson were among the top players available.

The NHL's salary cap went up slightly to $73 million for next season.