Recently, Gary Bettman announced that next season will begin in mid-October with a standard schedule of preseason in September. That will set the stage for (we all fervently hope) the rest of the schedule to return to familiar dates.
For this offseason, everything is compressed into the first two weeks of July, as the Stanley Cup Final ran almost two weeks later than usual. A reminder of the July key dates is in order.
June 30 is still the official year end for NHL teams and contracts, although player contracts are essentially in effect until free agency begins. We’ve already seen the coaching carousel, and the Leafs have made some moves down the depth chart in the front office that are not yet official. They may make some more, but the big one is the need to hire a goalie coach and to decide if they are doing anything else in the goalie department. We’ll likely get that finalized in the coming weeks.
As covered on Monday, the buyout period begins on July 1, and the rest of the key dates are as follows:
July 2: Team elected arbitration deadline is 5 pm
July 7: Day one of the draft
July 8: Day two of the draft (the winner of the GM award will be announced at some point during the draft)
July 11: Deadline for teams to issue Qualifying Offers to RFAs
July 12: First buyout window closes at 5 pm; midnight marks the deadline for teams to offer eight-year contract extensions; the RFA discussion period opens
Note: there used to be a UFA discussion period, but it was removed so we all are supposed to pretend the flood of contracts announced at the opening of free agency were just negotiated. It’s very silly.
July 13: Free agency begins at noon. Signing bonuses will be paid out on this date if they are usually paid on July 1. No-trade lists that come into effect for 2022-2023 will take effect on this day as well.
July 17: Deadline for player elected arbitration is 5 pm, and one minute later, the second team elected window opens for 24 hrs.
July 22: QOs expire (an un-signed RFA whose QO expires is not a free agent). This mostly matters for the form the negotiation will take and for offseason cap calculations.
July 27: Arbitration hearings start.
This year, August is full of hockey, so the NHL business will end, barring some low-level UFA signings, and the T25 the WJC and Women’s World Championship will take over the month.