A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

free agency

The NHL has the most complex system of free agency in professional sports. It makes my head hurt thinking about it, and trying to figure out all the infinite scenarios. I can't possibly explain it, but here's a primer on the different levels of free agency. Although I couldn't find much about it, here's an article that makes the NBA free agency system seem quite simple. The NFL system seems slightly more complex, but not as brain-rattling. The only thing I could find about baseball is that a player automatically becomes an unrestricted FA after six seasons. There must be more to it than that, but that's all I could find.

The reason I'm thinking and writing about this is that there's only something like 300 NHL players who actually have contracts right now. Until the CBA is officially ratified, nobody can talk to anybody about contracts. According to the NHLPA, there are exactly 288 players under contract, leaving roughly 500 players in some form of free agency. That means there's a whole lot of work to be done. Most clubs will try to retain their restricted FAs, but teams like Detroit, the Rangers, the Leafs will have to shed some of their big contracts to fit under the newly imposed cap. This will send some more name brand players into the open market.

As the teams scramble to re-sign their RFAs, allow some of them to walk, and try to pick up UFAs, there's going to be a lot of smoke and dust. That's gonna be the fun part. When all of that settles, the new NHL should be very exciting.
Heck, just having the ice back in the arenas is exciting enough.

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