Free-agency grades for all 32 NHL teams

    Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

The NHL free-agency frenzy of 2021 started 27 days later than the usual opening day of July 1, but it was as wild as any in recent memory, with more than $500 million spent on deals on the first day alone.

A number of valuable players remain who have yet to make their decisions — and potential franchise-altering trades for Jack Eichel and Vladimir Tarasenko are still possible as well. But after the first big wave, here is where things stand for all 32 teams.

Note: Thanks as always to our friends at CapFriendly for salary and contract data. Advanced stats are from Hockey Reference, Natural Stat Trick and Evolving Hockey. Teams are arrayed alphabetically within each grade level.

A grades

Arizona Coyotes

Key additions: D Conor Timmins, D Shayne Gostisbehere, LW Andrew Ladd, LW Antoine Roussel, LW Loui Eriksson, C Jay Beagle, C Travis Boyd, G Carter Hutton, D Ben Hutton, LW Dmitrij Jaskin, LW Ryan Dzingel, D Anton Stralman

Key losses: G Darcy Kuemper, D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, RW Conor Garland, D Niklas Hjalmarsson, D Alex Goligoski, G Antti Raanta, LW Michael Bunting, C Frederik Gauthier, C Michael Chaput, LW Dryden Hunt, C John Hayden, D Jordan Oesterle, D Tyler Pitlick (expansion draft)

Remaining hole: The Coyotes may not be done trading veteran players yet. Could Christian Dvorak or Phil Kessel be the next to go?

Grade: A+. Now this is how you tank. GM Bill Armstrong was hired in 2020 thanks in part to his prowess as a draft guru in St. Louis. But when he arrived in Arizona, he found a roster that was nudging the cap ceiling as well as an empty cupboard of draft picks — including ones the NHL took away thanks to the previous regime’s draft combine rule violations.

Fast forward a year, and Armstrong managed to move Ekman-Larsson and his onerous contract (although it did cost promising Conor Garland), trade Kuemper for a solid prospect in Timmins and a first-rounder, and build a treasure trove of picks that includes five (!) in next year’s second round.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes have more than $8 million in cap space and just seven players under contract for 2022-23. Arizona has had a top-three pick twice in its existence; a goaltending battery of Hutton and Josef Korenar goes a long way toward rectifying that.

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