Contract signing schedule for the 2020 playoffs


With a new CBA extension in place and the 2019-20 NHL season about to resume, there are special rules for contracts.


June 30 is the normal expiration of NHL contracts and July 1 is when they enter the new year. The players who were due to receive signing bonuses on July 1 got them because the NHL and NHLPA were unable to secure this deal in time to prevent it. But now all contacts that expire on June 30 are extended until the eve of free agency.

Free Agency will be the later October 9 or six days after the Stanley Cup Final.

Players whose expiring contract is on one of the seven teams not playing in the playoffs or who have withdrawn from the playoffs can sign European contracts for 2020-2021 one week after the agreement is ratified. Once a team is eliminated from the playoffs, those players can also sign outside of North America after two days. Players who retire and sign to play elsewhere in 2020-21 are not permitted to play in the NHL this season.

Contract extensions and new contracts can be signed from three days after agreement, so Monday July 13 at noon (assuming the effective date of the agreement is considered Friday July 10 ). This does not mean that free agency arrived early. These contracts relate only to:

  • Unsigned draft choice
  • Unrestricted free agents linked to the draft
  • Unrestricted free agents
  • Restricted free agents

Included are expansions for the last two types, no new contracts on new clubs. Don’t expect a flood of European UFA signings. Most of those players are under contract for next season in Europe and have now passed the IIHF deadline to sign in North America.

Players can also start signing extensions for 2021-2022. On the Leafs which includes Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen.


Since the end of this NHL season could overlap with the start of the 2020-2021 European and North American seasons, there are new rules for lending players with an NHL contract to other teams.

Loans can begin normally as of July 1. There is a special provision to suspend waivers for players who need them during the period leading up to the start of the next NHL season. For example: If the Leafs want to send Jeremy Bracco to the AHL early on, they don’t need to give him a waiver as long as he returns to the NHL roster early in the NHL season. If he doesn’t, they have to use overrides at that time.

Post-season dates

There are always two redemption periods during an off-season. This year the first is the later September 25 or the start of the Stanley Cup Final. While the game is in progress. (You cannot buy back a player who is still on an active roster.) This period ends on October 8 or six days after the Stanley Cup Final.

Teams can have a second redemption window if they or a player chooses arbitration. This period is fixed immediately after the settlement of the arbitration cases of each team. Refereeing is limited to the short offseason and will be completed before training camp begins for next season.

There are two characteristics unique to this offseason, a temporary one this year:

For 2020, in the event that a club exercises its right of withdrawal (in accordance with Article 12.10 of the CBA) regarding a one-year salary arbitration award, the player may, within four (4) days of the receiving a notice from the club, they exercise their right of withdrawal, choose to enter into a CCP with the club under the same conditions as those proposed by the club in the club’s salary arbitration file.

and a permanent in the new CBA:

A salary arbitration issue may not be resolved after the hearing begins.

Qualifying offers for tenders are due on October 6 or four days after the last match played by a team. RFAs may accept the offer from later October 9 or seven days after the Stanley Cup Final. RFAs that do not receive an eligible offer become FMUs when free agency begins.

The Leafs have the following expiring RFAs with arbitration rights:

  • Denis malgin
  • Frédéric gauthier
  • Ilya Mikheyev
  • Max Veronneau
  • Pontus Aberg

And without the right of arbitration:

  • Travis Dermott
  • Jeremy Bracco

If the AHL does manage to start on something close to a normal schedule, its season will begin before salary arbitration hearings can be scheduled, and many AHLers could still negotiate their contracts.

We’ll know more about how this offseason works when we get closer to this actual event. But for now, expect to see players signed for overtime in the weeks leading up to the playoffs while teams have some free time.


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