One way or another, the date for the start of free agency will almost certainly be moved by the NHL away from July 1. 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 and shows that GMs can’t have nice things, will be tied to the date of the draft and significantly reduced.
Amen to that. Who wants to spend Canada’s birthday in front of a television or computer monitor waiting to hear what players have signed contracts while their non-hockey-loving friends are enjoying the most pleasant holiday of the year? (And who wants to spend the entire day stuck inside writing about it? Amirite?)
It’s pretty clear the situation needs at least some tweaks. This year’s free-agent courting period began June 23, which gave GMs and prospective free agents eight days to cook up deals, and that’s exactly what they did. Any semblance of following the rules and waiting until July 1 was basically tossed out the window in 2019. Many of the biggest deals were done, and leaked by agents or GMs, well before the 12 o’clock noon start of free agency July 1. It made for less-than-riveting entertainment that day and actually breached the rules regarding free agency.