Most NHL free agent business is dealt with in the early summer months. There is one important date later each year, however. August 15 marks the date when NHL teams lose their exclusive signing rights to most college-drafted players if they’ve graduated (or completed without graduating) college and are not yet signed to an entry-level contract.
Earlier this month, we published a list of players slated to hit the UFA market yesterday if not signed to an ELC within the coming days. However, the guidelines the NHL uses to determine a college graduate are some of the most complex sets of rules relating to contractual obligations in pro sports. That means it’s often impossible to glean a full list of players whose rights have expired (or not expired) until after the August 15 deadline has passed.
This year was no different, as CapFriendly issued multiple updates today on their X account regarding the list of August 15 free agents they’d made public earlier in the month. Three players who were slated to expire actually remained on their team’s reserve list: Calgary Flames 2018 fourth-round pick F Demetrios Koumontzis, Ottawa Senators 2018 seventh-round pick F Jakov Novak, and Senators 2018 second-round pick D Jonny Tychonick.
On the flip side, 12 players they expected to remain on teams’ reserve lists hit the free-agent market yesterday. With that in mind, we have a revised, accurate list of players who became unrestricted free agents yesterday. Asterisked players were not originally expected to come off their team’s reserve list.
*F Trevor Janicke (2019 fifth round, 132nd overall)
*D Dustyn McFaul (2018 sixth round, 181st overall)
*F Joshua Nodler (2019 fifth round, 150th overall)
F Kevin Wall (2019 sixth round, 181st overall)
F Jake Wise (2018 third round, 69th overall)
*F Matt Stienburg (2019 third round, 63rd overall)
Columbus Blue Jackets
D Robbie Stucker (2017 seventh round, 210th overall)
Detroit Red Wings
F Skyler Brind’Amour (2017 sixth round, 177th overall)
*D Marshall Warren (2019 sixth round, 166th overall)
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
*F Luke Loheit (2018 seventh round, 194th overall)
F Jay O’Brien (2018 first round, 19th overall)
San Jose Sharks
D Arvid Henrikson (2016 seventh round, 187th overall) Originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens
Toronto Maple Leafs
D Ryan O’Connell (2017 seventh round, 203rd overall)
G Jared Moe (2018 sixth round, 184th overall)
Of the list above, Krygier and Pivonka are remaining in the Islanders organization on confirmed AHL contracts for 2023-24, although they remain eligible to sign with another NHL team should one come calling. All others are either returning to school for 2023-24, have contracts signed in other leagues, or are not signed for next season.
Notably, this is the official confirmation that the Flyers’ exclusive signing rights of O’Brien have lapsed. As compensation for not signing a first-round pick to their entry-level contract, the Flyers will receive a compensatory second-round pick from the league in the 2024 NHL Draft.