Octagon Hockey player agent Allan Walsh was on Montreal’s TSN 690 on Thursday evening.
On if he could explain this fairly new window where teams have the chance to talk to reps of potential unrestricted free agents, and how this process works:
“Sure. Roughly five days before free agency on July 1, unrestricted free agency, there’s a window that opens that’s called, under the CBA, the interview period, where teams and agents and players are allowed to officially and legally speak with each other. You’re allowed to discuss interest. The team is allowed to present the general parameters of what a contract would look like, or what an offer will look like on July 1. Those discussions take place right at the beginning of the interview period.
“And really, by the time we get to July 1, there’s a great sense already by June 30 in the evening for at least the most sought-after, or the most elite of elite players going to free agency, where they’re leaning towards or potentially deals might already even be done.
“I think the interview period is terrible for players. I would love to get rid of it. it gives teams a tremendous advantage going into July 1, and really doesn’t benefit the players much, if at all.”
On if he could add to that, and on how the common belief was that this interview period was basically the NHL and NHLPA putting the rubber stamp on stuff that had to have been going on anyway:
“Well, I don’t necessarily – what’s been going on in the past was the past. But when you got to July 1, you truly had on that day a free agent frenzy. And you had teams very concerned about getting their guy, and not knowing whether their Plan B and/or Plan C would already be signed somewhere else.
“Decisions had to be made in five minutes or 10 minutes. Big decisions. For many years of term. And a lot of dollars. And now there’s no time pressure on the teams to make those decisions. They start and they’ve got five days. By June 28th, they’re either looking good on Plan A, or they’ve gone to Plan B and they’re exploring Plan C. But by the time they mosey on down to July 1, everything is pretty much set.
“With that 10 minutes or five minutes being under the gun to make a decision, having three or four teams on hold with the lights flashing; and you’re talking to one, and you put him on hold and go to the next one, and you put him on hold and go to the next one.
“And it’s like, ‘Hey, I’ve got three teams on hold. We’re making a decision in the next 30 seconds. What’s your number? What’s your best number?’
“And being able to do that is gone, and it gives teams a tremendous advantage over the players that impacts, in my opinion, dramatically how free agency plays out on July 1.”
Source: TSN 690/Transcript: Nichols