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July 1st: Free Agents’ Day and the end of poaching
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Some people like to trot out conspiracy theories when the occasion isn t right.

Was the NHL lottery rigged, or did teams know how the draft was going to go, and trade first-round picks hours, days or weeks before the draft?

It always leads to discussions where nobody wants to change their minds.

But if the above examples aren’t based on concrete facts, here’s something that is: free agents no longer wait until July 1 to “find out” which clubs are interested in signing them.

Even if the NHL has removed the few days that gave free agents the right to talk to other teams before July 1, it doesn’t change much in the end. Why not? Because people talk to each other.

An agent who talks to a GM can easily put in a good word for someone without it being difficult.

In other words, right now, everyone’s talking. And according to what Darren Dreger said on Friday (48 hours ago, in fact), an NHL executive told him he believes 75-90% of the July 1 deals have already been decided.

That’s a high percentage, let’s face it.

Add to that the fact that a GM said that “if the NHL applied its raiding rules, there would be no draft picks left in 2025” and you have further proof that it’s true: the executives know how July 1 is going to play out.

How does Elliotte Friedman know, hours after Chris Tanev had his rights traded to the Maple Leafs and his agent said he hadn’t yet spoken to Toronto officials, that the defenseman was signing on to a six-year contract?

Obviously, this is no surprise. Remember that in 2021, we knew days in advance that Mike Hoffman, David Savard and company would be joining the Habs.

Those who were tuned in in the summer of 2012 knew in advance where one of the guys from La Poche Bleue was going, to give just one example among many. Because there are plenty of examples like that.

We’ll see how it all pans out tomorrow… but it’s worth noting that, once again this year, the Habs aren’t at the heart of the rumour mill. However, with everyone on the Ivan Demidov cloud, we’re forgetting about free agents and the absence of a transaction involving a defenseman at the draft.


– Enjoy.

– He didn’t see the rumors coming.

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