One thing the NHL free agent circus showed this past week is the league needs something similar to what the NBA and NFL does.
Once free agency hits on July 1, there needs to be a seven- to 14-day window where players get the opportunity to visit different teams, or teams go to visit the player.
This would be beneficial for a variety of reasons.
There is something to the fact some of these players are making crucial, long-term life decisions in a short period of time. Why not give them a week, or two, to let the different presentations from teams sink in and make a truly informed decision?
Imagine the media hype of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter actually visiting these different teams. It would be great for the league.
Actually, the way rumors and speculation abounds in the NHL, the entire free agency saga could grow even larger given the opportunity for teams to expose the variety of free agents for two weeks.
Fans would eat up the excitement and anticipation.
Also, with so many North American fans away on vacation during this time frame – Canada Day (July l) and Independence Day (July 4) – the league would get away from a time on the calendar that’s not ideal to gain maximum exposure.
This was a good week for the NHL in terms of excitement and exposure. But it could have been much, much better.