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Interview period gives teams ‘tremendous advantage’ over free agents: Walsh

Boston Bruins v Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, OH - FEBRUARY 16: Matt Beleskey #39 of the Boston Bruins skates after the puck during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on February 16, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Boston defeated Columbus 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

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You’d think they’d appreciate the additional time to make such a big decision.

You’d think they’d prefer it to the old method, where they were often given mere minutes to choose where they were going to spend the next few years of their lives.

But according to agent Allen Walsh, the six-day interview period for unrestricted free agents is actually a bad thing for players.

“Now there’s no time pressure on the teams to make those decisions,” Walsh told TSN 690 radio, per Today’s Slapshot. “They start and they’ve got five days. By June 28th, they’re either looking good on Plan A, or they’ve gone to Plan B and they’re exploring Plan C. But by the time they mosey on down to July 1, everything is pretty much set.

“With that 10 minutes or five minutes being under the gun to make a decision, having three or four teams on hold with the lights flashing. And you’re talking to one, and you put him on hold and go to the next one, and you put him on hold and go to the next one.

“And it’s like, ‘Hey, I’ve got three teams on hold. We’re making a decision in the next 30 seconds. What’s your number? What’s your best number?’And being able to do that is gone, and it gives teams a tremendous advantage over the players that impacts, in my opinion, dramatically how free agency plays out on July 1.”

It’s an interesting perspective, and last year’s July 1 was noted for the restraint that general managers showed.

This year’s interview period starts Saturday.

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