NHL GMs woke up Friday morning, just a few hours before the 2021 NHL Draft was set to begin, and said, “Alrighty, let’s make a deal.”

With a flat cap and free agency on the horizon, the moves have started to come fast and furious, and all before the draft itself gets going.

Sporting News is keeping track of the latest rumors, trades and picks, as well as handing out some grades, as it all goes down July 23 and 24.

NHL Draft tracker 2021

(All times are Eastern)

7:54 p.m. — Details.

7:37 p.m. — A lot of people thought Jake Bean would be on the move to the Kraken. He is on the move but sounds like it’s Columbus. 

7:32 p.m. — One way or another the Jones trade will be official soon.

7:09 p.m. — Hmmm. Looks to be a little more term and a little less money. Still, a good day for Seth Jones who, if it does go through, will join his brother Caleb in Chicago.

7:01 p.m. — Seth Jones is, reportedly, getting paid quite handsomely. 

6:50 p.m. — There is no chill today.

6:35 p.m. — Looks like Zach Hyman is heading to Edmonton. He’s a really good top-six fit for the Oilers.

6:16 p.m. — Canucks and Coyotes deal is official.

Canucks grade: B

Coyotes grade: B

This is an interesting move for both clubs. OEL has a huge contract, with almost $50 million remaining through 2027. The Coyotes are retaining salary, which helps the Canucks, who also dumped salaries with the three bottom-six guys they sent to Arizona. Vancouver needs cap room — per CapFriendly, it has almost $19 million to work with — to re-sign stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. They also added a star in Garland, who had 39 points in 49 games last season and led the bronze-medal winning USA Hockey team in goals (six), assists (seven) and points (13) at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship. He is an RFA and will need to be signed as well.

The Coyotes, by the way, who had to forfeit their first-rounder, now get it back.

July 23 Canucks Oliver Ekman-Larsson (D), Conor Garland (F) Coyotes Loui Eriksson (F), Antoine Roussel (F), Jay Beagle (F), 2021 first-round pick (9th overall), 2022 second-round pick, 2023 seventh-round pick

6:15 p.m. — As expected, Taylor Hall is sticking around Beantown.

5:24 p.m. — The first blockbuster deal.

4:15 p.m. — The flat cap strikes.

Rangers grade: B-

Blues grade: B+

Buchnevich is coming off a year where he potted 48 points in 54 games, but as a restricted free agent he’s surely set for a salary raise. He’ll be a good addition to the Blues’ top six, especially if they do indeed move Vladimir Tarasenko. As for the Rangers, new GM Chris Drury has revamped the team’s third line — and added some much-needed grit with the acquisition and signing of Barclay Goodrow and now Blais.

July 23 Blues Pavel Buchnevich (F) Rangers Sammy Blais (F), 2022 second-round pick

2:15 p.m. — The first move of the day. 

Sabres grade: B+

Flyers grade: D-

The Flyers overpaid for a guy who has struggled in recent years and has a big cap hit of $5.4 million. It wasn’t a secret that the Sabres wanted to get rid of Ristolainen and the Flyers wanted to revamp their D, but this one is a head-scratcher for GM Chuck Fletcher, who before the trade freeze made the smart move of adding Ryan Ellis.

July 23 Sabres Robert Hagg (D), 2021 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick Flyers Rasmus Ristolainen (D)

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