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GMs Want NHL Free Agency Interview Period Back, Pitching Unique Idea

Should the NHL bring back the free agency interview period? Some GMs are pitching the idea.

This past week, NHL general managers met to discuss a number of things related to future business. The NHL Draft Lottery was key among them, but according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, he reports that the GMs also addressed questions about this year’s free agency period. The hot topic of discussion was the interview period, or lack thereof this season.

Related: Golden Knights Were in On Taylor Hall and Steven Stamkos [Report]

Seravalli writes that many of the GMs were pushing for that interview period to be brought back. The suggestions made during the meeting were that either a 48- or 72-hour interview window be considered. That’s not the full week that used to be on the table, but it is helpful for teams who are planning on making a pitch to a certain player and might want to base their free agency strategy around them. And, if in those three days the team learns the player isn’t interested, they can veer another direction.

If the GMs all agree to move forward with the pitch, it would need to be approved by the NHLPA, since it is a collectively-bargained policy.

No Interview Period Was Odd This Year

This was a challenging year for the NHL not to have the interview period. Only Wayne Simmonds signed extremely quickly out of the gate with Toronto because the Buffalo Sabres had given him permission to seek a deal. The rest of the signings came a bit later than they typically would have in previous offseasons.

For a player like Taylor Hall, he set up a number of Zoom calls with as many as 25 teams interested in his services. It took him a couple of days to realize only a couple of teams could make him offers that actually worked based on his priorities. Fans were surprised to hear he’d signed with Buffalo and there are still a number of forwards available on the market today.

Much of the reason the action was slower this year had nothing to do with GMs having the chance to talk to free agents early. It was more about the flat cap and having little money to work with. But, perhaps that’s a reason GMs are adamant about reconsidering the stance to have the interview period removed. The less money available, the more planning required and the more helpful it becomes to have an opportunity to speak to players.

Next: Duclair Turns Down Huge Offer, Did He Sabotage His Own Free Agency?

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