The NHL Entry Draft has been moved up a few days meaning the New York Rangers will get that first pick even sooner
The NHL Entry Draft had been tentatively scheduled for October 9-10, but now Corey Pronman of The Athletic (subscription required) is reporting that the draft will be held on October 6-7, less than a month from now. It will be a big night for the New York Rangers as they will pick first for the first time in modern NHL draft history.
The reason for the change is that the window for free agency will begin on October 9 at noon EST and the draft must be concluded by then.
Beginning of free agency (Oct. 9) fell on the same day as Day 1 of the draft, so one or the other had to be moved. As @coreypronman said, Oct. 6 and 7 it is. Evening of the 6th, during the day on the 7th. Free agency on the 9th. https://t.co/Rg1a2P3VNF
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 8, 2020
The October 6 date was first proposed in the Memo of Understanding signed in July when the NHL resumed play with an extension of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Here are the key dates for the rest of this year in hockey.
September 20 – Stanley Cup Finals begin
September 25 – Buyout window opens
October 2 – Last possible date of the Stanley Cup Finals
October 6 – Deadline for teams to make qualifying offers to RFA’s
October 6-7 – NHL Entry Draft
October 8 – Buyout window closes (could be earlier since it is set for six days after the end of the Finals)
October 9 – Free Agency window opens (12 noon EST)
October 10 – Deadline for RFA’s to elect arbitration
October 20 – Arbitration hearings begin
November 17 – Training camps open for 2020-21 season
December 1 – 2020-21 season begins
Looking at the dates, this off season schedule is incredibly compact. Instead of weeks between qualifying offers, arbitration elections and arbitration hearings, the time frame will be days.
With this compact schedule it means that teams will be wheeling and dealing while the Playoffs are still being played. We’ve already seen two major deals (Toronto-Pittsburgh, Montreal-St.Louis) and no doubt there will be more.
Free agency will be even more chaotic. In the past, teams were given a six day window to interview Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA’s) before the free agency window opened. Now, that pre-interview window is gone and there can be no conversations until noon on October 9.
What that means is we will once again see a parade of team executives pitching high profile UFA’s as soon as the window opens an noon. For someone like Taylor Hall, the line could go out the door.
While all of the off-season dates are set, there are still many questions about the start date for next season. Without any determination of restrictions on resumption of play due to COVID-19, those dates are extremely optimistic.
So, less than four weeks until Jeff Gorton takes the virtual stage to announce who they will be selecting with the number one pick (barring a trade). Before that it will be a roller coast ride. We can’t wait!