Key dates for 2021-22 NHL season: When trade deadline, free agency will happen

Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby (87) sees over top of the Stanley Cup logo as he plays against the Philadelphia Flyers during second period exhibition NHL hockey action ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs. (Nathan Denette/CP)

The dates that will shape the upcoming NHL season are starting to emerge.

The trade deadline will take place on March 21, while free agency will begin on July 13, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman has learned.

Friedman also reports RFAs must sign by Dec. 1 to be eligible to play this season and players on one-year contracts can be extended on Jan. 1.

Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk, Vancouver centre Elias Pettersson and Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes are the lone remaining RFAs.

Other key dates include the last possible day of the Stanley Cup Playoffs (June 30), first buyout period opening (July 1), NHL Draft in Montreal (July 7-8), and the salary arbitration period (July 27-August 11).

The traditional NHL calendar has been thrown off by the COVID-19 pandemic the past two years.

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