NHL Free Agency: Start Date and Key Dates to Know

The NHL free agency period is set to begin on July 1, and there are a few key dates to keep in mind. Here’s everything you need to know about the NHL free agency period.

NHL Free agency start date

NHL Free Agency begins on July 1, 2019, at 12:01 am ET.

Prior to free agency beginning, each team must submit their qualifying offers to their respective pending unrestricted and restricted free agents no later than 5:00 pm ET on June 25. If a team does not extend a qualifying offer to a pending restricted free agent that player then becomes an unrestricted free agent

Key Dates to Know

As the NHL’s free agency period approaches, here are some key dates to keep in mind:

-June 23: Last day of the Stanley Cup Final
-July 1: Start of the NHL’s free agency period
-July 5-August 4: NHL salary arbitration hearings

NHL free agency How it Works

NHL free agency is complex. There are different rules for restricted and Restricted Free Agents and the landscape can change rapidly as teams look to improve their rosters.

Here’s a primer on how NHL freeagency works, with all the key dates you need to know.

June 30: expiration of player contracts and beginning of free agency period
During the NHL season players’ contracts are set to expire on June 30. On this date, they become either unrestricted or restricted free agents

Players who have completed at least three professional seasons or who are 28 years old or older become unrestricted free agents (UFA) and can sign with any team. Players who have completed fewer than three professional seasons or who are 27 years old or younger become restricted free agents (RFA) and can sign only with their previous team or teams that offer them a qualifying offer.

July 1: the opening of free agency
At noon ET on July 1, teams can begin signing UFAs to new contracts. For RFAs, their previous team can match any contract offer they receive from another team (called a “poison pill” offer) or let them walk away in exchange for draft-pick compensation.

Who is Eligible for NHL free Agency?

NHL Free Agency begins on July 1st of each year. In order to become an unrestricted Free Agent a player must have completed at least seven professional seasons or turned 27 years old before September 15th of the year prior to free agency If a player does not meet either of those requirements, they become a restricted free agent.

What Happens When a Player is Claimed off Waivers?

Waivers are a tool that all NHL Teams use in order to sign players within the league. In order for a player to be eligible for waivers, they must first meet certain criteria. The player must be 24 years old or younger, or they must have played less than three professional seasons in North America If a player meets one of these criteria, they will be placed on waivers by their team.

Once a player is on waivers, any team in the NHL can claim that player for themselves. If more than one team makes a claim on the player, the team with the Worst Record in the league will get priority. When a player is claimed off of waivers, they are immediately removed from their original team’s roster and placed on the claiming team’s roster. The claiming team will also be responsible for the remainder of that player’s contract.

What is the Salary Cap?

Under the current NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which was agreed to in 2013 and runs through the 2021-22 season the salary cap is calculated using a percentage of league-wide hockey-related revenue (HRR). For the 2019-20 season the NHL salary cap has been set at $81.5 million.

What is the NHL Entry Draft?

The NHL Entry Draft is an annual event in which NHL teams select eligible players who have been drafted by the league. The draft order is determined by a combination of factors, including team records, reverse standings, and previous Draft results NHL teams take turns selecting players until all rosters are full.

The first round of the NHL Entry Draft is typically held in late June, with subsequent rounds taking place over the summer. This year’s Entry Draft is scheduled to take place from June 21-22, 2018 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

NHL teams are not required to draft players, but most teams use the event as an opportunity to replenish their farm systems with young talent.

What is an Offer Sheet?

In order to sign a Restricted free agent (RFA) to an offer sheet, the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement requires that a team present the player with a formal, written offer. The offer must include the dollar amount and length of the proposed contract, and it must be submitted to the player’s team as well as the NHL office.

Once an offer sheet is presented, the player’s team has seven days to decide whether to match the contract or let the player sign with the other team. If the original team decides to match, then the player remains with that team under the terms of the new contract. If the original team declines to match, then the player is free to sign with the other team, but his former team is entitled to receive draft-pick compensation from his new club.

Offer sheets are rare in today’s NHL; most restricted Free Agents simply re-sign with their original teams without testing the market. However, every now and then an offer sheet does get signed, usually resulting in a heated legal battle between teams and/or agents.

What is an Arbitration Hearing?

An arbitration hearing is a procedure whereby a player and team unable to agree to terms on a new contract submit their respective contract proposals to a third party arbitrator. The arbitrator then picks one of the two proposals.

What is a restricted free Agent?

Restricted free agency is a system used in the National Hockey League (NHL) that gives certain players the opportunity to become free agents while still allowing their former team to retain or match the contract offer made by another team.

A restricted Free Agent (RFA) is any player who is age 27 or older with at least seven accrued seasons, or any player age 26 or younger with at least eight accrued seasons. An accrued season is defined as a season in which a player was on an NHL, AHL, or European club’s active roster for 40 or more games (excluding playoff games). Once a player meets RFA eligibility requirements, he can file for RFA status with the NHL Players’ Association.

If an RFA receives an offer sheet from another team, his former team has seven days to match the terms of the contract and keep him. If the former team does not match the offer sheet, it will receive draft-pick compensation based on the value of the contract.

NHL Free Agency begins on July 1 every year, but RFAs can sign with their former team any time before that date if they agree to terms on a new contract.

Scroll to Top