The Stanley Cup Final has started, which means the hockey season is almost completed for the 2016-17 year. As soon as the Cup Final is over there will be a flurry of activity as teams prepare for the expansion draft, the entry draft and free agency.
Here’s a quick primer for the days to keep in mind.
June 15 (or 48 hours after the final game of the Cup Final, whichever is later)
The buyout window officially opens at 3 p.m. MT. Functionally, all this means is that as of that time teams can place players on what’s known as “unconditional waivers” for the purposes of terminating their contracts. Given how tight the salary cap is expected to be next season, and that teams have had since March to chat with the Vegas Golden Knights about taking their awful contracts, teams should have a good idea of how up against the cap ceiling they’ll be.
If a lot of players get bought out, take it as an indication that the prices being asked by Vegas for bad contracts were astronomical.
The 30 existing NHL clubs submit their protection lists to NHL at 3 p.m. MT. The Flames have until this time to find a goaltender to protect.
Vegas will be provided with exposure lists from the NHL around 8 a.m. MT and can begin to negotiate with any unprotected unrestricted or restricted free agents from any teams. Pending free agents signed prior to the expansion draft will be considered their selections from the appropriate teams. Exposure and protected lists will be released by the NHL to media at the same time (8 a.m. MT).
The redesigned 2017-18 jerseys, the first year of the Adidas jersey partnership, will be unveiled in Las Vegas. (The time has yet to be announced.)
Vegas provides the NHL with their list of selected players at 8 a.m. MT. Their selections will be announced during NHL Awards broadcast, beginning at 6 p.m. MT.
The 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago. (Round 1 is on June 23, Rounds 2-7 are on June 24.)
The free agency courting period for unrestricted free agents begins.
The deadline to qualify restricted free agents is at 3 p.m. MT. Most teams announce their qualifying offers via press release soon afterwards.
The free agency courting period for restricted free agents begins.
The buyout window closes at 3 p.m. MT.
Free agency begins at 10 a.m. MT. Given the courting period, expect a flurry of activity at the very beginning of the day. Things slow down considerably by mid-afternoon, so go to a Canada Day barbecue and celebrate how awesome Canada can be.
Calgary Flames development camp at Winsport.
The deadline for eligible restricted free agents to file for salary arbitration is at 3 p.m. MT.
The deadline for teams to file for salary arbitration with eligible restricted free agents 3 p.m. MT. Given that teams will be hoping that Vegas bails them out of cap trouble in the expansion process, and that teams with salary arbitration cases get a second buyout window opened later in the summer, expect a lot of teams to have arbitration cases just so they give themselves the ability to get out of salary cap jams.