Three teams remain in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, the draft order is nearly set, and the NHL offseason is almost in full swing.
In preparation for a busy summer ahead, here are some key dates to keep in mind over the next few months with regards to the NHL, the Nashville Predators and the hockey world at large:
May 12-28: 2023 IIHF Men’s World Championship
The best-on-best tournament is well attended by scouts from around the league and serves as a showcase of sorts for NHL players and prospects alike ahead of the draft and free agency. The semifinal matchups have been set, with Preds forward Cody Glass and Team Canada taking on Latvia on Saturday for a chance to face the winner of USA vs. Germany in the final on Sunday.
May 28-June 4: CHL Memorial Cup
The national championship of the Canadian Hockey League is a four-team round-robin tournament played between the champions of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL), and a fourth, hosting team, which alternates between the three leagues annually. (This year’s host team is the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL.) The CHL is the world’s largest development hockey league and top supplier of talent to the NHL, so plenty of top-tier talent will be on display in Kamloops, B.C., later this month – including Preds prospects Luke Prokop and Reid Schaefer of the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds.
June 4-10: NHL Scouting Combine
The weeklong event held in Buffalo, N.Y., showcases the top draft-eligible prospects from North America and Europe ahead of the NHL Draft. Programming includes 1-on-1 interviews with NHL teams, as well as numerous physical and medical assessments.
June 15 or 48 Hours After Stanley Cup Final Ends (Whichever is Later): Buyout Period Begins
After the Stanley Cup has been awarded, NHL teams are permitted to buy out a player’s contract if they so choose and incur a reduced salary cap hit over a period of twice the remaining length of the contract. The buyout amount is a function of the player’s age at the time of the buyout.
Monday, June 19: Last Possible Day of the Stanley Cup Final
This is also the notification deadline for club-elected salary arbitration, a tool used in the NHL to settle contract disputes between teams and certain restricted free agents (RFAs). Once arbitration is filed, a hearing date will be determined during a two-week span, but the two sides can continue to negotiate and settle on a new contract before the hearing. The Predators have four arbitration-eligible RFAs at the NHL level this offseason: Rasmus Asplund, Glass, Alexandre Carrier and Cal Foote. At the AHL level, the Preds have five arbitration-eligible RFAs: Jimmy Huntington, John Leonard, Markus Nurmi, Isaac Ratcliffe and Tomas Vomacka.
Monday, June 26: NHL Awards
The 2023 NHL Awards will be broadcast live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on TNT, Sportsnet and TVA Sports, beginning at 7 p.m. CT. It will be the Predators first time hosting the event. To purchase tickets for the NHL Awards, click here.
June 28-29: NHL Draft
For the first time since 2003, the NHL Draft returns to Bridgestone Arena this year. The first round takes place on June 28 (6 p.m. CT; ESPN, SN, TVAS), and rounds 2-7 will follow on June 29 (10 a.m. CT; NHLN, SN, TVAS). The Predators have 13 picks in this year’s draft, including two in the first round (No. 15 and No. 24 overall). To purchase tickets for the NHL Draft, click here.
Friday, June 30: Buyout Period Ends
This is the final deadline for NHL teams to buy out a player’s contract before free agency opens.
Saturday, July 1: Barry Trotz Takes Over as Preds GM; Free Agency Opens at 11 a.m. CT
This is one of the most exciting days of the offseason, when the NHL’s annual free-agent market officially opens for business. During free agency, unrestricted free agents (UFAs) who remain unsigned are free to sign with any of the 32 teams with no required compensation to their previous team. Zach Sanford is currently the only player from the Predators 2022-23 roster who will be a UFA this offseason, while Milwaukee Admirals players Anthony Angello, Austin Reuschhoff and Devin Cooley will also reach UFA status.
July 2-6: Development Camp
Several of the Predators top prospects – including some of those selected in the 2023 draft – will participate in the team’s 2023 Development Camp in Nashville. The purpose of the camp, led by the Predators and Admirals coaching and hockey operations staffs, is to educate and direct players in their pro development and conditioning programs.The training itinerary features a variety of on- and off-ice testing, dry-land activities and workouts, on-ice fundamentals work, video sessions, media and nutrition education and team-building activities. The prospects will also receive instruction on training principles such as sport-specific power and strength enhancement, flexibility and off-ice conditioning.
Wednesday, July 5: Deadline for player-elected salary arbitration notification (4 p.m. CT)
If a player plans to request salary arbitration (see above), he must notify his club by this date.
July 20-August 4: Salary Arbitration Hearings
If RFAs and clubs have not reached a contract agreement by this date, they will proceed with their respective arbitration hearings. Decisions are due to the NHL by Aug. 6.
Training camp is expected to begin in mid-to-late September, with preseason games to follow. The 2023-24 regular season will begin in mid-October.