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Volume 26 No. 50
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NHL Almost Certain To Move Up Start Of Free Agency Window

The date for the start of NHL free agency will "almost certainly be moved" by the league away from July 1 next year, according to Ken Campbell of THE HOCKEY NEWS. What will likely happen in the near future is that the “interview period,” which "appears to have taken any of the intrigue out of free agency ... will be tied to the date of the draft and 'significantly reduced.'" This year's free-agencyperiod began June 23, which gave GMs and prospective free agents eights days to "cook up deals." Many of the biggest deals "were done, and leaked by agents or GMs, well before" the 12:00pm ET start of free agency July 1 (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 7/9). The AP's Stephen Whyno writes the post-draft "interview window" this year for teams to talk with free agent targets was the "longest in its short history." That gave it the "biggest impact since the window was added to the calendar" in '14. Some execs "hated it, but the extended chance to wine and dine played a big role in a number of deals." With more time, many contracts were "agreed to before free agency began, similar to how things work in the NFL and NBA." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that the league each year "sends a memo to its clubs reminding them that deals cannot be signed until July 1 but he was not concerned about how the process went this time" (AP, 7/12).