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“We’re just playing a waiting game,” Rutherford said.

He’s not alone.

Teams will have to wait before simply finding out if they can have a face-to-face meeting with Suter.

Sheehy fielded “countless phone calls, emails and messages” from teams hoping to sign his coveted client. Sheey planned to respond to each team to gather more information before presenting options to Suter and deciding whether to meet with interested clubs.

New Jersey attempted to re-sign Parise and Nashville tried to keep Suter before they hit the market, but the Devils and Predators ended up being relegated to competing with other offers. Parise and Suter are both 27, potentially entering the prime of their careers.

“Sutes is in an enviable position that he has got everybody coming after him and the money obviously is going to be whatever he wants it to be,” Predators general manager David Poile told reporters Sunday. “I’m hopeful that he is going make his decision based on his team and his teammates and the city of Nashville compared to everything else that is out there.”

Teams seeking a short-term answer in net may make offers to 40-year-old goaltender Martin Brodeur, who, like Parise and Suter, has been with only one NHL team. The three-time Stanley Cup champion and four-time Vezina Trophy winner has played for the Devils since the 1991-92 season.

The Dallas Stars determined another 40-year-old player, forward Ray Whitney, has enough left to give him a $9 million, two-year contract in the opening hours of free agency. He had 24 goals and 77 points last season for Phoenix and has 1,003 career points dating to his NHL debut two decades ago with the San Jose Sharks.

“Ray Whitney was among the most productive players in the league last season and showed he remains extremely capable and dangerous,” Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said.

Florida agreed to a two-year deal with defenseman Filip Kuba because the Panthers expected to lose free agent Jason Garrison on their blue line. Garrison got a six-year contract from the Vancouver Canucks later in the day.

The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings kept forward Dustin Penner with a one-year contract. Tampa Bay agreed to a $7.5 million, two-year deal with defenseman Sami Salo.

Shane Doan, Alexander Semin, Matt Carle, Olli Jokinen, Jaromir Jagr and Jiri Hudler were among the players who began the day on the market in the top-heavy free agent class of 2012.


AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.


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