Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, 2021 NHL Free Agency will open on Wednesday, July 28 at 12 PM ET. The NHL and NHLPA are discussing key dates and details for the 2020-21 season, which is reportedly set to start on Wednesday, January 13 and will be 56-games long.
Some other key dates for the upcoming season include the opt-out deadline on Thursday for the seven teams that did not participate in the NHL’s return-to-play format last summer (Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators, and Detroit Red Wings); Sunday, December 27 for the 24 that did; Thursday, February 11 as the last day for unsigned restricted free agents to sign and participate in the 2020-21 season; and Friday, March 12 as the first day players on one-year contracts can sign extensions.
The one hold-up for the NHL in planning for the upcoming season is that British Columbia’s government remains unwilling to allow other Canadian teams to travel into the province to play the Vancouver Canucks.
The NHL Board of Governors will have a vote on the upcoming season on Sunday. All players will be restricted to just their teams’ hotel, the local practice rink, and the game rink when on the road.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, defenseman Paul LaDue, defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk can all become unrestricted free agents after this season while forward Jakub Vrana, goaltender Ilya Samsonov, and defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler can all become restricted free agents. All can sign extensions now except Siegenthaler, LaDue, and Van Riemsdyk, who can sign on March 12. The Capitals currently have $16,333,334 left in cap space with 15 players under contract for the 2021-22 season.
Other than Ovechkin, the most notable players eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season include Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton, Buffalo Sabres forward Taylor Hall, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta, and Blues forward Jaden Schwartz.
The most notable non-Capitals players eligible for restricted free agency next summer include Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine, Sabres forward Sam Reinhart, Minnesota Wild forward Kevin Fiala, New York Islander forward Anthony Beauvillier, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko, Canucks center Elias Pettersson, Florida Panthers forward Anthony Duclair, and Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand.
Fun date for hockey fans to circle: Free Agent Frenzy set for July 28 as per NHL-NHLPA agreement
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 20, 2020
By Harrison Brown