Today is something new that it was mentioned but that most fans may not have remembered. Due to a new rule in the CBA, GM’s are allowed to talk to RFA’s and UFA’s starting now. This has never happened before and this is why the Islanders were so quick to try to move Dan Boyle for anything the last week or so.
From Michael Russo:
“Please be advised that clubs are permitted to discuss the potential interest in as well as general parameters of a potential future contractual relationship with another club’s pending RFA or UFA during the applicable interview periods. The clubs may not enter any agreements or make any binding offers, promises, … oral or written concerning the terms of a potential SPC (standard players contract) with another club’s pending RFA or UFA.”
So in other words, teams and agents can now discuss the general parameters of a deal, as in, “I’ll be looking for a seven-year deal at around $5 million annually,” etc., meaning now players and agents at least know where each other is at heading into July 1 and know who’s in the game and who isn’t.
Last year, there seemed to be confusion where nobody had any idea of what could and couldn’t be discussed during the interview period. Some teams/agents apparently followed the rules, some teams didn’t, which created a conundrum that ticked off the teams that did follow the rules.
It’ll be interesting to see if this revision leads to some quick deals as free agency opens July 1.
My take: It also could determine which player gets drafted this year and every year from now on. If a team was confident they can sign a UFA to get that immediate help, the GM’s may change their focus on draft day. It also would mean that teams with a large number of RFA’s have to match very quickly or they will lose them, witch also improves the other team quicker. So for example, if the Isles had a great chance at either Vanek or Vrbata or whoever, would they still draft Dal Colle? They are not allowed to have a gentleman’s agreement, but it makes Free Agency that more interesting and quick, but it makes draft scenarios change all the more.