Though it has been assumed by many, the NHL has not actually officially announced that player contracts that are scheduled to expire on June 30th will be extended through the eventual end of the 2019-20 season. Michael Russo of The Athletic (subscription required) reports today that that uniform slide of all player contracts is expected to happen, meaning pending unrestricted free agents will have to wait until the Stanley Cup is awarded (or the season is canceled) to hit the open market.
More importantly, Russo writes, are the contracts for coaching staffs and scouts all around the league that are also set to expire at the end of the normal season. These employees are not part of a union like the NHLPA, meaning extensions may have to be negotiated individually (though the league could create a standard extension document). In the piece, Russo examines the coaching situations around the league that could be affected by the extension decisions.
- Among the players who are pending unrestricted free agents is Taylor Hall, who at one point pre-coronavirus looked like he was a lock for a huge long-term contract this summer. While some have suggested that Hall (and other premium free agents like Alex Pietrangelo and Torey Krug) could maximize their earning potential by taking a one-year contract and hoping the salary cap bounces back, Hall doesn’t sound like he wants to go down that road. Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet told ESPN On Ice that Hall told him “he doesn’t want to go through another year trying to play on a one-year contract. He wants to get settled somewhere.” The Coyotes are “a team he’s very interested in staying with” according to the Arizona coach.
- USA Hockey is still planning on holding the World Junior Summer Showcase, though Hockey Canada won’t be participating. Mike Morreale of NHL.com reports that the tournament is still scheduled for late-July between the USA, Finland, and Sweden. Nothing is certain in the world right now, but you can bet scouting staffs around the NHL perked up when they heard that they may get the chance to see many of the best young players in the world battle this summer. The tournament is a proving ground for the rosters that will take part in the World Juniors at the end of the year.