Welcome to the second half of the year 2022. Today is traditionally the day we are glued to the media and hockey insider reports for news about NHL players on expiring contracts who become unrestricted free agents that can sign anywhere with any team in the league, but not this year. Free Agency is now on Wednesday July 13th. What fun is that if I have to be at work when all the exciting stuff happens? Come on, NHL.

However, there is an activity allowed starting today, and that is contract buyouts. The players will have to clear waivers first, so watch for those at 2:00 p.m. ET. I’m not expecting the Leafs to make any, but there’s definitely a few candidates around the league which some GMs will choose to jettison.

The rest of the league will be focusing on the NHL Draft and signing players. The draft is in Montreal, with the first round event only six days away now. The question is, how will people get there?

Porter will no doubt see an uptick in business from those in Toronto. There is also the oft-maligned VIA rail, with Toronto to Montreal being one of its well working routes. Business class tickets are still available for the 5 hour short-route trip (the one that doesn’t make the three hour detour via Ottawa). The food is not bad, slightly better than you get on a long flight, and there’s actual space for your laptop, not a tray “table” that’s only 10 cm in depth.

If you’re not from the GTA, sorry, you’ll have to drive or find one of the very last available seats to fly, assuming Air Canada and West Jet don’t cancel those ones too.

Other News

Exploring the Maple Leafs' free agent goaltending options - Kevin Papetti at MLHS
Darcy Kuemper, Marc-Andre Fleury, Ville Husso & more.

Buffalo Sabres re-sign goalie Craig Anderson on one-year deal - Die By The Blade
The veteran 41 year-old goaltender is coming back for his twentieth season in the league on a $1.5M deal.

Jim Montgomery appears to be the next B’s Head Coach - Stanley Cup of Chowder
The thing you probably do know about him was that he was fired by the Stars due to unprofessional behavior related to Alcoholism. Montgomery, to his credit, immediately entered treatment and seems to have recovered well, having been an assistant with the Blues since 2020.

Emily Engel-Natzke Washington Capitals first woman to become NHL video coach - TSN.ca
When the Washington Capitals named Engel-Natzke video coordinator on Thursday, she not only accomplished that goal, but she also became the first woman to hold a full-time position on an NHL coaching staff.

Assumption Adds Division I Women’s Hockey Program - SB Nation College Hockey
Assumption University, a private university located in Worcester, Massachusetts, announced on Wednesday that the school will be adding a Division I women’s college hockey program that will be the eighth member of the New England Women’s Hockey Alliance.

The Columbus Blue Jackets broke the trade seal last night, and there is a Maple Leafs connection.

Nashville Predators Trade Mathieu Olivier to Columbus Blue Jackets - On the Forecheck
Olivier played ten games this season for the Preds.

Enjoy your day, without fear of missing a big free agency deal!