The NHL again is looking at tweaking its rules for the expansion draft on June 21.
This time, it’s the predraft period the Golden Knights will have to pursue unrestricted and restricted free agents. Originally, there was going to be a 72-hour window for the Knights to take a run at any unrestricted free agent or restricted free agent. But the league confirmed Tuesday the length of the window might change.
“We are still discussing the precise parameters of the expansion draft windows,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. “The team had asked us to see if we could find ways to extend, and we are in discussions with the union regarding that.”
Golden Knights general manager George McPhee said extending the time to pursue free agents is fair for both sides.
“All I know is in previous expansions, teams had three to five days to deal with free agents,” McPhee said. “We’ve known all along that the window would be from the 17th to the 21st. So we haven’t focused on that a lot. We’ll let the league decide that.”
Daly said talks are ongoing with the players association and he did not know when the sides would reach an agreement. But it impacts the Knights and their ability to sign free agents. It also puts pressure on free agents to make a decision.
Daly confirmed that any unprotected free agent that is signed during the period counts as the player that the Golden Knights select from his prior club. Only one free agent per club can be signed.
Teams have begun formulating their expansion draft strategy. They have the option of protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender, or eight skaters and a goalie. Most teams are expected to opt for scenario No. 1.
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