The date for free-agent signings this year has been pushed back to July 5 from the normal July 1 because of the new collective bargaining agreement and the lockout-shortened season.
Teams will be permitted to speak with players and their agents starting July 1, but no contracts can be signed until July 5.
While there are some big names available this summer, including Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne, most of them are past their prime. There are also a number of former Canadiens available, including José Theodore, Mike Ribeiro and Guillaume Latendresse.
Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced on Thursday that the team will use a compliance buyout on Danny Briere, who was due to earn $5 million over the final two years of an eight-year, $52-million contract. The contract had a $6.5-million salary-cap hit for every season.
The buyout won’t become official until 48 hours after the Stanley Cup is awarded and the 35-year-old Briere will become a free agent.
In other news, Hockey Canada made it official during a Thursday morning press conference at the Bell Centre that Montreal and Toronto will co-host the 2015 and 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships.
Both cities will host a preliminary round group at each event, with Toronto hosting the medal round in 2015 and Montreal hosting the medal round in 2017. Canada’s national junior team will be based in Montreal for the round robin in 2015, and in Toronto in 2017.
“This is an exciting day for hockey fans in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario as well as throughout Canada,” Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson said. “These two cities have a proud hockey tradition and have shown interest in this event for many years. We look forward to welcoming the hockey world in Montreal and Toronto.”