With the CBA being agreed upon in principle, we now have a better idea of when certain contracts will be allowed to be signed again. Here is an overview of the various timelines and scenarios.
Yesterday, it became official that players that were unsigned as of the shutdown in the schedule will not be allowed to play for the rest of this season, even if they were on a reserve list beforehand. But there will be a very narrow window where those players will still be allowed to sign contracts for this season.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that if and when the CBA is ratified by the NHLPA, teams will have a 53-hour window running between 11 AM CT of the third day following the ratification of the agreement through 4 PM CST on the fifth day to sign those players to a current-year deal. Signing bonuses will not be permitted and since no physical payment can be made, those entry-level deals can be structured with a base salary of the league minimum of $700K. In doing so, the cap hit for any subsequent year will be lowered while the player still gets to his second contract earlier. CapFriendly adds (via Twitter) that players that sign under this avenue will not accrue a year of professional experience and thus will be classified as 10.2.c players (ineligible for an offer sheet) when their deal expires.
As for players looking to head overseas, Friedman adds in a separate tweet that any player not participating in the resumption of play in August (due to elimination or non-inclusion on the playoff roster) will be eligible to sign a contract in another league seven days after the CBA has been ratified. Those that opt out of playing next month can also do so but unlike the other players, they will not be eligible to sign an NHL for 2020-21 if they go that route. For any player who is looking to go overseas but will be playing when games resume, they will be eligible to sign outside of North America two days after their team is eliminated, adds Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston (Twitter link).
Then there are those that will be entering the final year of their contracts and normally would be eligible to sign an extension by this time as we normally would be in the next NHL calendar year by now. However, the 2020-21 league year likely won’t begin until November now. However, Friedman reports (via Twitter) that anyone that is about to enter the final year of their contract can sign an extension three days after ratification instead of having to wait until November. Additionally, players wanting to sign 2020-21 contracts can do so three days after the agreement is finalized as well.