Well folks, Monday begins a new week, the first full week since the Bruins’ season ended. The finality has now set in.
While there’s plenty to debate around who re-signs, who walks, what new guys come in, etc. there are also a few set-in-stone dates that will shape what next season looks like for the Bruins.
Two of these dates/events happen every year, but one doesn’t roll around every year.
The events in question:
- The Seattle Kraken expansion draft
- The 2021 NHL Draft
- The start of 2021 free agency
Because of the late start to this season, events like the draft and the start of free agency will be delayed from their usual dates as well.
When is the NHL expansion draft?
The Kraken will finally start to resemble an actual NHL team on July 21, 2021, when they hold their expansion draft.
Seattle will get to build a roster by choosing one player from every other NHL team. The expansion draft carries another important date with it as well: on July 17, 2021, the Kraken will receive the protected lists from the other NHL teams, meaning the planning can officially begin.
Per Sports Illustrated, Seattle will also be free to negotiate with pending free agents as of that date; this means, for example, that Seattle could negotiate with, say, Taylor Hall prior to the opening of free agency for everyone else.
The Bruins will lose a piece of some kind by July 21, though it remains up in the air which player that will be.
The expansion draft will also likely impact what teams do with pending unrestricted free agents.
If, for example, the Bruins know that Hall is going to re-sign with them and have a wink-wink deal in place with his camp, they can leave him unprotected and use the protection spot on someone else.
However, if you’re a team with a key UFA who you fear may leave for Seattle during that negotiating window, it puts you in a tough spot as to whether you protect him or not.
For my money, if the Bruins are going to re-sign guys like Hall, David Krejci, or Tuukka Rask, don’t expect those deals to be signed prior to the expansion draft.
When is the 2021 NHL Draft?
This year’s entry draft will take place from July 23-24, 2021.
This will be just the second time in the last four seasons that the Bruins have a selection in the first round (as long as they don’t trade it before then), with the B’s set to make their first pick 20th overall.
The Bruins will have picks in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th rounds, with two picks in the 7th round.
When does NHL free agency start?
We’re not going to get our usual dose of July 1/Canada Day free agency madness this year, unfortunately.
NHL free agency will officially begin on July 28, 2021.
After a rather muted start to free agency last fall, it will be interesting to see if NHL teams return to their big-spending ways.
Plenty of teams never got to benefit from a return to playing in front of packed houses, so budgets may still be tight; still, we’re virtually guaranteed to see a lot of money changing hands on the 28th.
...and that’s kind of it! Not a ton really going on for about a month.
I’m sure news will crop up here and there as we edge closer to the expansion draft, but it will likely be a lot of innuendo and rumor.
Since Sky already covered the expansion draft, let’s end with this: the Bruins have a first-round pick this year - which need should they address with it?