Everyone in the hockey world knows July 1st as the official beginning of free agency. There are, however, several other important dates and deadlines during the offseason that aren’t quite so well known. Here are the key dates and times to watch for in the weeks and months ahead.
48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final ends: First buyout period begins. It’s also the deadline for First Club-Elected Salary Arbitration (4:00 PM CST).
June 24th, 25th: NHL Entry Draft
June 25th: Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) interview period begins. Teams may meet with and interview players that they are interested in signing although they cannot put pen to paper on a contract until July 1st.
June 27th: Deadline for teams to submit Qualifying Offers (4:00 PM CST). Players who do not receive Qualifying Offers are eligible to become UFA’s on July 1st.
June 28th: Restricted Free Agent (RFA) interview period begins. Similar to the UFA interview period, teams cannot sign players to offer sheets until July 1st.
June 30th: First buyout period ends.
July 1st: Free Agent Signing Period (for both UFA’s and RFA’s) begins (11:00 AM CST).
July 5th: Deadline for Player-Elected Salary Arbitration (4:00 PM CST). One minute later, the Second Club-Elected Salary Arbitration window opens.
July 6th: Deadline for Second Club-Elected Salary Arbitration (4:00 PM CST).
July 15th: Expiration of Qualifying Offers (4:00 PM CST).
July 20th – August 4th: Salary Arbitration hearings.