Free agency kicks in

Archived from 1998-99 season.

NHL teams

List of unrestricted free agents

As of July 1 all free agents are available to all NHL teams and this year's list includes some big names. The biggest surprise so far is the St. Louis Blues announcing they would not try to re-sign Brett Hull.

Hull, 33, has spend last 11 seasons in St. Louis and wanted to finish his career as a Blue. He turned down a three-year, $15 million deal from the Blues in March because it did not contain a no-trade clause. The Blues pulled their offer off the table at that point and the two sides had not talked since.

"I am disappointed that the Blues wouldn't agree to a no-trade clause," Hull said. "I wanted to know that I'd finish my career in St. Louis. It never had anything to do with money."

Blues general manager Larry Pleau said the final decision was made last weekend at a meeting of the hockey staff in Buffalo, N.Y., the site of the NHL entry draft. It seems Blues hockey staff thought Hull looked slow in the playoff series loss to Detroit and concluded the team could survive without him.

"The bottom line is that the hockey operations department unanimously decided that we felt more comfortable going forward now and in the future without Brett." Pleau said.

"He refused the $15 million, and we gave concessions on a no-trade clause, we offered what we felt comfortable with."

Hull didn't like the limited no-trade clause that would have allowed the Blues to trade him in the first two years of the contract and that remained the sticking point.

"We were talking about a small piece of ownership and a contract after I retired," Hull said. "I would have been part of the organization forever. Now, I'll never be part of this organization."

Other big name free agents include forwards Ron Francis, Doug Gilmour and John MacLean, defensemen Steve Duchesne, Jyrki Lumme and Larry Murphy and goalies Mike Richter, Curtis Joseph and John Vanbiesbrouck.

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