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07-19-2005, 06:25 PM
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News article with new CBA dates

Good article from Canadian news article about the dates and deadlines for buyouts, signing FAs, 2003 draft picks, etc.
Open for business

Buyout period should start Saturday

A look at what's on tap this week

First on the NHL agenda of critical dates in the buyout period. Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Owen Nolan could be a candidate for a buyout. (SUN/Craig Robertson)
(CP) - Barring the players rejecting the proposed labour deal, the NHL officially re-opens for business Saturday.

That marks the start of a six-day window in which clubs can determine buyouts and a nine-day period to negotiate exclusively with their own unrestricted free agents. Player agents better be quick learners. They'll be under the gun just 24 hours after wrapping up their orientation sessions with the NHL Players' Association in Toronto

IMG's J.P. Barry is expecting "one of the busiest summers ever."

"There will be an extreme amount of work for everybody," he said Tuesday from Calgary.

The union did e-mail agents a 21-page document Monday detailing most of the transitional and free-agent issues that will affect their clients this summer. Also included in the document, obtained by The Canadian Press, is a list of critical dates:

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-July 23: Buyout period begins; also begins the period to negotiate with 2003 draft picks and teams' own free agents.

-July 28: 5 p.m. EDT deadline for signing 2003 draft picks (otherwise they re-enter 2005 draft); deadline for exercising club/player options for 2005-06 season.

-July 29: 5 p.m. EDT deadline for player buyouts.

-July 30: NHL entry draft in Ottawa. Modified version with only top prospects invited and cut down from nine to seven rounds.

-July 31: 5 p.m. EDT deadline to extend qualifying offers to clubs' own free agents. Qualifying offers are needed to retain rights of restricted free agents.

-Aug. 1: Official free-agent signing season begins.

-Aug. 10: Players notify teams whether they've elected salary arbitration.

-Aug. 11: Clubs notify players whether they've elected to bring them to salary arbitration.

-Aug. 12: NHL and NHLPA schedule arbitration cases.

-Aug. 15: Qualifying offers expire automatically.

-Aug. 22-Sept. 1: Salary arbitration hearings.

But first thing's first. The players and owners must ratify the deal. More than 200 players will meet Wednesday evening in Toronto and resume the next morning before a vote is taken some time Thursday.

Following the players' vote, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his right-hand man Bill Daly, the league's executive vice-president and chief legal officer, will join NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow and senior director Ted Saskin for a joint news conference in Toronto around 5 p.m. EDT.

Then the league will have its show Friday in New York, a board of governors meeting slated to begin around 1 p.m. EDT that will feature a vote on the new deal and a vote on new rule changes proposed by the newly created competition committee. The draft lottery, now a live event instead of the original idea of holding it behind closed doors, will be held around 4 p.m. EDT. Afterwards Bettman will then host another news conference.

Some agents have privately grumbled that their counterparts, the league's 30 GMs, got their crash course over the weekend and have a step up in learning the long and complicated labour document. But GMs did not go home from New York with the CBA in hand. The full document was still being proofread as of Monday night.

The 21-page e-mail agents got Monday will be the most important part of knowing how to prepare for this summer. Some other interesting tidbits:

-Restricted free agents have until Dec. 1 to re-sign with their teams otherwise they cannot play in the NHL for the duration of the 2005-06 season.

-Those players qualifying for Group 5 unrestricted free agency - 10 years of pro hockey and making less than the NHL's average salary - will get to count the 2004-05 wiped-out NHL season as a year of service. The average salary for determining Group 5 free agency is set at $1.39 million US, which was the 2003-04 average salary reduced by the 24 per cent salary rollback.

-Unsigned draft picks from 2003 and 2004 can negotiate under the terms of the old CBA but with the 24 per cent rollback lumped on. That means 2003 draft picks can earn a maximum of $942,400 next season - which includes salary, games played bonus and signing bonus. The maximum for 2004 draft picks will be $984,200.

-Any player bought out during the six-day period starting Saturday cannot re-join his old team under any fashion during the 2005-06 season, not through the waiver wire or a trade.

Last edited by 54fightin: 07-19-2005 at 08:32 PM. Reason: cited link won't open
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