NWHL free agency deadline looms, USWNT players unsigned

The NWHL could be facing its first labor battle as the deadline for free agency nears a close on Sunday, July 31.

As of the evening of July 30, the league has 17 total spots over four teams left to fill. They could easily fill the paid positions with any number of the unsigned players from the inaugural season, and would have done so by now if it weren’t for players from the US Women’s National Team (USWNT). All 11 returning and three draft picks from the USWNT roster are not under contract.

Waiting until the last hour to sign the USWNT members isn’t something new to the NWHL.

After the league was announced, the players for the USWNT decided to leave the CWHL for the newly formed NWHL that paid it’s players. Free agency closed on August 17 with the NWHL announcing they had filled all their roster spots, but would not disclose any players not previously named. From a league statement: “The NWHL still plans to announce the final team rosters and contract details as soon as the players are ready.”

“Ready” meant freed from the obligations of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). It took over a month before the issues were resolved and the all the new players announced. The season went on as planned and the heavy USWNT-laden Boston Pride went on to win the inaugural Isobel Cup.

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NHL Free Agent Frenzy 2016: All the small contracts

Not every signing is earth shattering on free agent day. Still the addition of less heralded players can mean the difference between winning and losing in the post-season; even though we may not know it right now.

Here’s a running list of some of the other signings on Free Agent Frenzy Friday with a quick rundown of the details you need to know. Plus we tap the brains of the bloggers and media alike in what this signing does – and in some cases, doesn’t – bring to the team that they joined.

[Ed. Note: We’ll update this post throughout Friday evening as the NHL contracts keep rolling in. Check out Puck Daddy for stories and features on the signings rocking the hockey world.]

UPDATE at 9:36 p.m. EST

Dale Weise (RW), Philadelphia Flyers
Contract: 4 years, $2.35-million AAV
2015-16 team(s): Montreal Canadiens traded to Chicago Blackhawks
Previous contract: 2 year, $1.025-million AAV
2015-16 stats: 14 goals, 13 assists in 71 GP; 42 PIMs
What the pundits say: “Contract aside, Weise is a good option on the ice. He’s a better player than [Ryan] White in just about every way and certainly better than the average fourth line player — I mean, scoring nearly 30 points as a fourth line player in back-to-back years is certainly better than the average. Like White, Weise can also play on the second power play unit. He’s even a few months younger than White! The downside is that he’s coming off of an up year, and I guess there’s no guarantee that he repeats that performance for the next four.”Broad Street Hockey

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