With the official start of the offseason getting closer and closer, here is a look at some of the key dates to watch for in the weeks to come.
June 15 or 48 hours after the end of the Stanley Cup Final (the later of the two)
The NHL buyout window opens up. Teams can buy out players for two-thirds of their remaining pay spread out over two times the length of the contract (one-third of remaining pay for players aged 25 or younger). Unless the player has a no-move clause, they must first pass through unconditional waivers.
While one window opens, another closes. This time also represents the first deadline for club-elected salary arbitration. It’s rare that teams will file at this point; more will come in the second window in July.
NHL Entry Draft
Opening of the interview window for pending unrestricted free agents. Teams can meet with players but are technically not allowed to officially agree to terms on a contract until free agency begins. (That hasn’t stopped teams from agreeing in principle on deals though as we’ve seen in recent years.)
June 25, 4 PM CST
Deadline for teams to tender qualifying offers to their restricted free agents. Those who do not receive one will qualify for unrestricted free agency when it begins in July.
Opening of the interview window for pending restricted free agents to discuss potential offer sheets. Again, nothing can officially be agreed upon until free agency officially starts.
June 30, 4 PM CST
End of the regular buyout window. Teams may still be able to utilize a buyout later in the offseason depending on arbitration filings.
July 1, 11 AM CST
Free agency officially begins.
July 5, 4 PM CST
Deadline for eligible players to file for salary arbitration.
July 5, 4:01 PM CST – July 6, 4 PM CST
The window for teams to take a player to salary arbitration.
July 15, 4 PM CST
Expiration of qualifying offers.
July 20 – August 4
Salary arbitration hearings are held.