NHL Key Summer Dates

By JD Lagrange – When your team is out of the playoffs, we are smack down the middle of a period where nothing happens. As fans, all we have to do is sit here and envy the fans of teams still battling for NHL supremacy, the Stanley Cup. Or we repeat the same old stuff on social media over and over again, like whom the Canadiens should select with their first pick at the Draft, until we’re blue in the face… as some do.

For that reason, for those whom, like me, don’t want to get into another “Draft Shane Wright or else…” type scenario (currently happening with Matvei Michkov), I have decided to list the off-season’s next few upcoming important dates.

They are:

June 4-10: NHL Scouting Combine

From Buffalo, NY this year.

Buyout period

Can start on the later of June 15 or 48 hours after the Playoffs end, and the buyout period ends June 30th at 5:00 pm Eastern, the day prior to the start of free agency.

June 26: NHL Awards

The Awards will be held in Nashville this year.

June 28-29: NHL Draft

From Nashville as well. The Canadiens are set to speak fifth at this year’s NHL Draft. They also own the Florida Panthers’ first round pick, which will be anywhere between 29-32, depending how far they make it in these playoffs.


Normally, Qualifying Offers to Restricted Free Agents (required by teams to retain their RFA rights) are due by the later of June 25 and the Draft. This year, because the draft is June 28/29 and free agency starts on Sat July 1, the Qualifying Offer deadline is June 30.

July 1st: Start of Free Agency

For a complete list of available Unrestricted and Restricted pending Free Agents, Capfriendly.com has a great tool which allows you to narrow down and sort your result in many different ways.

Get fresh air

In the meantime, do as I do. Spend less time on social media, particularly arguing with people who will do anything to convince you that they’re experts, and enjoy the Spring and Summer days. Get some sunshine, which is excellent for the morale and well-being. Spend time with your loved ones.

Remember that when arguing with a fool, make sure that the other person isn’t doing the same. Also, know that they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience, as Mark Twain once explained…

July Key Dates – It Will Be Fast and Furious!

By JD Lagrange – With the Stanley Cup finals over, seeing our own boy Artturi Lehkonen being a key contributor helping the Colorado Avalanche win, we can now fully move on to the off-season. June is coming to an end in just a few days and July promisses to be hot… in more than one way.

And it all starts with the first buyout window, which will remain open for the first 12 days of the month. With that in mind, here are the key dates for the month of July, which promises to be a very busy and, truthfully, franchise changing month for the Montreal Canadiens.

July 1 – 1st Buyout window opens

Will the Canadiens buy out one of its contracts? The most vulnerable might be Paul Byron. Here’s what the repercussion would be for the Canadiens if they chose to go that way.


The Canadiens might be better off trying to trade him instead. Even if they were to keep half his salary, it would add $1.7 million on the cap (under $200,000 more the first year), but they wouldn’t have the $933,334 on their cap in 2023-24.

July 7-8 – NHL Draft

The Canadiens have the first overall pick. Who will they select with it? Shane Wright? Juraj Slafkovsky? Or do they have something else up their sleeve? At the time of writing this, they also have 14 picks in this draft, 10 of which are in the first four rounds.

July 11 – Qualifying Offer deadline

The Canadiens currently have 10 players eligible for qualifying offers:

  • Alexander Romanov
  • Rem Pitlick
  • Michael Pezzetta
  • Kale Clague
  • Samuel Montembeault
  • Nathan Schnarr
  • Joel Teasdale
  • Josh Brook
  • Corey Schueneman
  • Cayden Primeau

July 12 – 1st Buyout window closes

That’s it for now, no more buyouts!

July 12 – Ability to offer player own player 8-years ends

The Canadiens are unlikely to make any 8-year contract offer this season, based on the current roster.

July 13 – Free agency opens

What will they do? Will Kent Hughes be able to free up enough cap to be a player on the free agency market? And if so, what will he be looking for?

July 17 – Player elected Arbitration deadline

Currently, the Canadiens have five restricted free agents who can file for arbitration:

  • Michael Pezzetta
  • Rem Pitlick
  • Kale Clague
  • Samuel Montembeault
  • Corey Schunemann

July 27 – 1st day of Arbitration hearings

Off those five players, if a contract hasn’t been reached, Arbitrations will be starting. Note that players and their team can reach a contract agreement any time prior to their hearing.

So as you can see, July will be a busy month and, quite frankly, a pivotal month for the Canadiens. If Kent Hughes wants to take a few weeks off in August, he has a race to the finish line by the end of this upcoming month. Expect a somewhat different team when August arrives.

More reading…