I got this from the league regarding the process for protecting players in the CHL:
"There are two steps.
"First, teams submit their protected list by June 10, and this can be everyone on your team. You have to complete all trades from the regular season (any for future considerations, etc.) before you can submit this list.
"You then have to extend qualifying offers in early July that the players must receive by July 18 for as many as eight players (no more than four veterans).
"If you sign a player before the qualifying offers go out than they are not included on the qualifying offers. So in theory, you protect 22 guys by June 10 and sign 14 of them to Standard Player Contracts, you can protect the other eight by sending them qualifying offers."