NHL moves up virtual draft to Oct. 6-7; free agency to open Oct. 9

FILE - In this June 26, 2015, file photo, an NHL logo is shown before the start of the first round of the NHL hockey draft, in Sunrise, Fla. The NHL Free Agency period begins at noon Sunday, July 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

EDMONTON, Alberta — The NHL on Friday moved its draft up to Oct. 6-7 and set an Oct. 9 start for free agency.

The first round of the draft will be Oct. 6, with the New York Rangers on the clock and Alexis Lafrenière the consensus top option for the No. 1 pick. The remaining rounds will take place Oct. 7, and all the drafting will be done virtually.

Free agency begins at noon Eastern two days later. And after the league and NHL Players’ Association agreed to a collective bargaining agreement extension, there won’t be an interview period in the days leading to the start of the free agent frenzy.

The draft was originally scheduled for Oct. 9-10, with free agency happening either one of those days or nine days after the Stanley Cup Final ended. With the conference final round ongoing, the Stanley Cup could finish in late September or stretch into early October.