When does NHL free agency start? Date, time for when players can begin to sign new contracts

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The Stanley Cup was given out for the 2021-22 season, as the Avalanche were crowned the champions of 2022 after defeating the Lightning on Sunday. 

Now it's officially onto the offseason, as teams begin to retool in hopes of taking the Avs' spot at the top of the NHL mountain. 

While the NHL Draft is the first order of business of the offseason, free agency is just around the corner. It's an opportunity for players to cash in after a career year, find a new contender to call home, or just simply get that next guaranteed contract. 

Teams have already been busy re-signing players before they hit the market, while others are waiting around for free agency to officially begin to seek out new ones. As always, it should be a crazy few weeks in the NHL.

MORE: When is the 2022 NHL Draft?

Here's what you need to know ahead of NHL free agency. 

When does NHL free agency start?

The market to sign free agents in 2022 begins on Wednesday, July 13, at noon ET.Players that are unrestricted free agents (UFAs) cannot begin meeting and talking with teams until that date and time. 

Who are the top 2022 free agents?

This summer, some big names are likely going to be on the move to a new club. 

Stars like Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau and Panthers' rental Claude Giroux headline the 2022 free agent class. 

Some already have officially inked new deals, as Bryan Rust re-signed with the Penguins and Mark Giordano with the Maple Leafs. Both Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith have reportedly agreed to re-sign with the Bruins and Golden Knights, respectively. 

Here is a look at some of the top free agents still available. 

Top 25 2022 NHL Free Agents
No. 1 Johnny Gaudreau Left Wing
No. 2 Filip Forsberg Left Wing
No. 3 Claude Giroux Center/Wing
No. 4 Nazem Kadri Center
No. 5 Ville Husso Goaltender
No. 6 Vincent Trocheck Center
No. 7 John Klingberg Defenseman
No. 8 Kris Letang Defenseman
No. 9 Ondrej Palat Left Wing
No. 10 Evgeni Malkin Center
No. 11 Rickard Rakell Right Wing
No. 12 Evander Kane Left Wing
No. 13 David Perron Left Wing
No. 14 Max Domi Left Wing
No. 15 Darcy Kuemper Goaltender
No. 16 Jack Campbell Goaltender
No. 17 Ben Chiarot Defenseman
No. 18 Valeri Nichushkin Right Wing
No. 19 Andrew Copp Center
No. 20 Josh Manson Defenseman
No. 21 Ryan Strome Center
No. 22 Marc-Andre Fleury Goaltender
No. 23 Ilya Mikheyev Right Wing
No. 24 Phil Kessel Right Wing
No. 25 Andre Burakovsky Right Wing
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Bryan Murphy is an NHL content producer at The Sporting News.