Earlier today, the NHL sent out a press release detailing updated critical dates for the upcoming Expansion Draft. It’s the first day of June and this is when the offseason is going to get really bus. Not only is there the Expansion Draft coming up, but the NHL Entry Draft and free agency soon follows. Rather than just give you the dates and call it a night, I’m going to attempt to explain how each date impacts the team that matters on this blog: New Jersey Devils.
Monday, June 12
Per the NHL Press Release: “Deadline for Clubs to request that a Player “waive” his “No Move” clause for purposes of Expansion Draft (5 p.m. ET) (with the exception of Nashville and Pittsburgh, whose Deadline will be the later of: (i) 5 p.m. ET on June 12; or (ii) 5 p.m. ET on the day following the last day of the Stanley Cup Final).”
How this impacts New Jersey: It doesn’t. According to CapFriendly, only Ryane Clowe has a no movement clause. Clowe, who was on the Devils coaching staff last season, is already on the exempt veterans list as he’s never going to play a game in the NHL ever again.
Wednesday, June 14
Per the NHL Press Release: “Last possible day of 2017 Stanley Cup Final.”
How this impacts New Jersey: It really doesn’t. I mean, you may have a rooting interest; but the Devils are still where they are regardless if Sidney Crosby and The Face of the League, P.K. Subban, hold up Lord Stanley’s Cup. (Aside: The media really has a big say who the face of any league is. I run a blog, so this is my attempt, which is far more constructive than whining about how Subban or anyone else isn’t The Face of the League.
Thursday, June 15
Per the NHL Press Release: “First Buy-Out Period begins. Deadline for Clubs to ask Players with “No Move” clauses whether they want to be placed on Waivers for purposes of Buy-Outs prior to Expansion Draft (11:59 am ET).”
How this impacts New Jersey: If the Devils have any designs on buying anyone out right away, then they can do so starting then. I don’t think they will though. If they can make a deal with Las Vegas to have the player picked up in the Expansion Draft, or if they’re just drafted in the Expansion Draft; then there’s no need to it beforehand. This Buy-Out Period ends later in the month, so I would expect that to happen after Las Vegas picks their players. Off the top of my head, I’m not sure who the Devils would buy out. Devante Smith-Pelly, maybe? But he’s already likely to be exposed anyway, so if he’s picked up in the Expansion Draft, it’s a moot point.
As for the no movement clause issue, well, that doesn’t impact New Jersey since, again, only Clowe has it and he’s exempt as it is. Teams with multiple players with NMCs will be more interested in this day.
Friday, June 16
Per the NHL Press Release: “Last day to place Player on Waivers prior to Expansion Draft Trade/Waiver Freeze (12 p.m. ET). Deadline for Players to agree to “waive” their “No Move” clauses for purposes of Expansion Draft (5 p.m. ET).”
How this impacts New Jersey: I don’t think the Devils will need to place anyone on waivers. However, that Trade/Waiver Freeze is a big deal and it kicks in on...
Saturday, June 17
Per the NHL Press Release: “Commencement of the Expansion Draft Trade/Waiver Freeze for all NHL Clubs with exception of the Expansion Club (3 p.m. ET). Commencement of Expansion Draft Signing Moratorium on NHL SPCs for all NHL Clubs with exception of the Expansion Club (3 p.m. ET). Deadline for each Club to simultaneously submit its Protection List to Central Registry and the NHLPA (5 p.m. ET).”
How this impacts New Jersey: This is the day where teams have to establish who is and is not protected. This has been a hot point of discussion throughout the league. While I wrote about who the Devils would protect way back in November, I don’t think there will be too many changes from what I projected then.
As for the other events, they effectively lock the other 30 teams into place. Shero & Co. can talk with other teams, but they can’t do anything about it for a few days. The Expansion Draft isn’t a one day event. Las Vegas can (and probably will) sign pending free agents instead of picking a player in the proper Expansion Draft. They can (and probably will) make trades with the other teams to perhaps get more desirable players or assets instead of picking someone else. Because they are allowed to have multiple avenues of selecting players, the other team’s rosters have to be kept intact.
Here is a good place to point you in the direction of this post on our network: The rules of the Expansion Draft for all involved is excellently laid out here by B_T of Silver Seven. Check it out for a refresher about all of that and what the requirements are in terms of who has to be protected, exposed, and so forth.
Sunday, June 18
Per the NHL Press Release: “Deadline for Central Registry to approve and simultaneously distribute the Protection Lists to all NHL Clubs (including the Expansion Club) and the NHLPA (10 a.m. ET). Opening of the UFA/RFA Interview Period (only applies to Players who are available for selection in the Expansion Draft) for the Expansion Club only (10 a.m. ET).”
How this impacts New Jersey: This is the day where Las Vegas will do their work. New Jersey will be losing a player. But we may not find out who until the Expansion Draft is “over.”
Wednesday, June 21:
Per the NHL Press Release: “Deadline for the Expansion Club to simultaneously submit its Expansion Draft Selections to Central Registry and the NHLPA (10 a.m. ET).
Deadline for the Expansion Club to submit SPCs for any pending UFA/RFAs who are selected by the Expansion Club and signed to a new contract (10 a.m. ET). The Expansion Club is permitted to sign a current or pending Free Agent on a Current Club’s list of Available Players during the period between 10:01 a.m. ET on Sunday, June 18, and 9:59 a.m. ET on Wednesday, June 21, and in so doing will be deemed to have made its Expansion Draft selection from such Current Club. If the Expansion Club signs a Restricted Free Agent from the Available List of a Current Club during said period, the Current Club will not be entitled to any compensation from the Expansion Club.
Official distribution and announcement of the Expansion Club’s Selections in conjunction with the 2017 NHL Awards presented by T-Mobile (8 p.m. ET).”
How this impacts New Jersey: The Expansion Draft will end on this day, making it Provided there aren’t any leaks - and there will likely be leaks - we will know who from the Devils became a member of the Golden Knights by that evening at the latest. As no Devil is up for any award, that would be the main reason to pay attention to the night’s events.
The part about the free agents contains an important wrinkle. Unprotected pending restricted free agents can be signed by Las Vegas without any compensation given back. Normally, RFAs have to be qualified first otherwise they will become unrestricted free agents. And qualified RFAs require an offer sheet, which allows the original team to match the offer or receive compensation based on how much the offer sheet was if they don’t match. The Golden Knights can just say, “OK, we will sign Unprotected Player X,” and there’s no offer sheet or compensation. The Devils will undoubtedly protect their biggest RFA, Damon Severson. However, if, say, Jacob Josefson is unprotected, then Las Vegas could sign him. Of course, if they do that with anyone’s RFA, then that counts as their pick from that team. Meaning, no one else from the team would be lost. Basically, it boils down to whether Las Vegas will just sign a pending, unprotected free agent or select an unprotected player from each team.
Thursday, June 22
Per the NHL Press Release: “Expansion Draft Signing Moratorium and Trade/Waiver Freeze are lifted (8 a.m. ET).”
How this impacts New Jersey: Shero & Co. can start wheeling and dealing as they want as of 8:01 AM on Thursday. Expect plenty of rumors. And plenty of excitement because this day is right before another draft.
From this point on, that’s that for the NHL Press Release. But there’s more to the June calendar for the offseason. To convey that, I’m following CapFriendly’s list of important dates for the offseason.
Friday, June 23
The first round of the NHL Entry Draft takes place on this evening.
How this impacts New Jersey: The Devils have the first overall pick. It’s their first first overall pick as the New Jersey Devils. It’s a very big deal! We will know then who the Devils will take: Nico, Nolan, or possibly (but not likely at this point) someone else.
By the way, in 2015, one of Ray Shero’s earliest moves was to trade a second round draft pick for Kyle Palmieri. With numerous draft picks after first overall, the Devils could be very active when it comes to deals.
Saturday, June 24
The second through seventh rounds of the NHL Entry Draft will take place on this day.
How this impacts New Jersey: The Devils have two second round picks, two third round picks, two fourth round picks, one fifth round pick, two sixth round picks, and I believe a seventh round pick. They have a lot of picks and they’ll be used up on this day. It’s a big deal. The numerous selections gives the Devils plenty of options. They can move these picks to move around in the draft or pick up a player, such as how the Devils obtained Beau Bennett last summer. They could just use all of their picks as-is to really fill the prospect pipeline as to how Shero, Paul Castron, and management see fit.
Sunday, June 25
This day has two important events. First, this is the first day where pending unrestricted free agents are allowed to discuss potential new contracts with other teams. They cannot sign anything until July 1, but they can negotiate ahead of time. Second, by 5 PM EDT, all teams must submit their qualifying offers. Restricted free agents who are not qualified will become unrestricted free agents as of July 1.
How this impacts New Jersey: Well, Keith Kinkaid can go out and talk with other teams if he likes. But with few UFAs at the NHL level, Ray Shero will likely be talking to potential signees and their agents to potentially add to their team. While Free Agency Frenzy will be on that Saturday, the groundwork for what happens then begins on this day.
As for qualifying RFAs, Shero has plenty of them to qualify if he wants to keep them all. I doubt he will; I think some will be set free, for lack of a better term. I wouldn’t expect any major names to go free, though.
Monday, June 26
I did not know this, but pending restricted free agents can also talk with other teams. They cannot sign anything - not even an offer sheet - until July 1 either.
How this impacts New Jersey: While the Devils have a lot of RFAs, I wouldn’t not expect much impact. Offer sheets aren’t common these days. The Devils have a lot of cap space and a rich owner. They could match whatever comes their way - if anything does. I’m not sure there would be a ton of interest in most the Devils’ RFAs anyway.
Friday, June 30
At 5 PM EDT, the first Buy-Out Period ends. Additionally, this will be the day where the upper and lower limits of the salary cap will be set. This is also the last day pending free agents can negotiate with other teams without signing a contract.
How this impacts New Jersey: While the word on what the cap ceiling and floor will be will likely come out before this day, knowing the limits is always good information. Should a team be hamstrung by the cap after the Expansion Draft, then these limits could give Shero leverage for a potential deal.
The Buy-Out Period ending on this day means the Devils - and everyone else - has over a week after the Expansion Draft to make a decision on players. Again, I’m not sure off the top of my head who on the Devils should buyout. It’ll be clearer once it is known who Las Vegas took.
Saturday, July 1
Free Agent Frenzy begins at noon EDT.
How this impacts New Jersey: It impacts everyone. Teams can sign unrestricted free agents. For the Devils, this is the first day where they can sign Ilya Kovalchuk and trade him to the team he wants to play for.
June is an important and a very busy month for any team. The Expansion Draft and its additional rules adds to a schedule that contains the NHL Entry Draft, a contract buyout period, pending and negotiations for free agency. With plenty of cap space, draft picks, and the allowance to make many roster changes, there’s a lot of opportunity in this month for Ray Shero and his people to re-build the Devils further. Hopefully, it’ll be enough for the team take a step forward in 2017-18. We’ll see what happens. But get ready for a lot to happen over the next few weeks.