NHL free agency: RFA's won't have signing deadline, could lead to holdouts

Christian Petersen

Restricted free agents in the NHL will not have a deadline to sign this year, which could lead to holdouts.

The NHL will not have a deadline for restricted-free agents to sign this season, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the New York Post on Friday.

Daly explained that the removal of the deadline is due to the condensed 48-game schedule the league will be operating under this season. In previous years, restricted-free agents were required to sign a new deal prior to Dec. 1 or they would be ruled ineligible for the entirety of the season.

Now that the rule is no longer in place (for this season only), it means extended holdouts could potentially occur.

Notable restricted-free agents include P.K. Subban, Michael Del Zotto and Ryan O'Reilly.

As of Friday afternoon, Del Zotto stated that his representation had been negotiating with the New York Rangers since Tuesday. Subban's agent (who is also Del Zotto's agent) was scheduled to speak with the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.

O'Reilly likely holds the most power, as he is currently playing in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. In December, he signed a two-year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk and can continue playing with the team until the Colorado Avalanche provide him with a contract offer of his liking.

For a complete list of RFAs, click here.

Clubs will have to wait until the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified before signing any free agents to contracts. It is expected that the CBA will be ratified on Saturday.

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