NHL announces 2021-22 critical dates including Trade Deadline and Free Agency

Key NHL Dates.

NHL 2021-22 CRITICAL DATES
Jun 19, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is pictured on the red carpet during the 2019 NHL Awards at Mandalay Bay. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL announced updates to key dates on the calendar. All are listed below for your convenience.

  • March 21: Trade deadline (3 PM ET)
  • April 29: Last day of Regular Season
  • May 2: Stanley Cup Playoffs begin
  • June 30: Last possible day of Stanley Cup Playoffs
  • July 1: First buyout period opens
  • July 2: Deadline for Club-Elected Salary Arbitration (5 PM ET)
  • July 7-8: NHL draft
  • July 11: Deadline for Qualifying Offers
  • July 12: First buyout period ends*
  • July 13: Free agency opens (12 PM ET)
  • July 17: Deadline for Player-Elected Salary Arbitration (5PM ET)
  • July 18: Deadline for Club-Elected Salary Arbitration Notification (5 PM ET)
  • July 22: Qualifying Offers expire (5 PM ET)
  • July 27: First Day of Salary Arbitration Hearings
  • August 11: Last Day of Salary Arbitration Hearings**

* Also on July 12, RFAs may speak with clubs regarding potential interest. Club’s ability to offer 8 year contracts to their own free agents expire at 11:59 PM ET.

** 48 hours after last salary arbitration award is the deadline to exercise walkaway right.

Montreal to host NHL Draft

The Montreal Canadiens will host the 2022 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre, the league announced Friday.

The city had been scheduled to host the draft in 2020, but the event was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic instead, as it was in 2021.

“We are proud to announce that, once again, we are conducting our Draft in front of the great fans of the Montreal Canadiens,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “Montreal, the site of the first NHL Draft in 1963, is a wonderful place to bring the NHL family together and to focus on the future of our game.

The draft will start July 7 with the first-round picks. Rounds two through seven will be held the following day.

Montreal has hosted the event 26 times, most recently in 2009. The league conducted the 2019 draft in Vancouver.