A nice bit of news for your Friday night: it appears that we may have a 2021 NHL season after all!
NHLPA will have a conference call tonight. NHL Board call to be scheduled.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 19, 2020
56 games? Let’s do it!
Additional details trickled out as well, mostly courtesy of TSN’s Frank Seravalli:
- 23-man roster, with an $81.5 million salary cap
- Creation of up to a 6-man “taxi squad” which will travel with NHL team and be paid full AHL salary
- Players have the option to opt out if the player or a family member is considered high risk; the player’s contract would just carry over to the following year
When is the NHL season going to start?
Per Seravalli and Pierre Lebrun, it appears that we’re just a couple of weeks away.
Training camps scheduled to open Jan. 3 although for the seven non-playoff teams from last summer, Dec. 31.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 19, 2020
Tentative agreement between #NHL and #NHLPA (which requires approval) calls for training camps to open on Jan. 3 and regular season on Jan. 13.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 19, 2020
The 7 teams who did not make 24-team playoff can open camp on Dec. 30.
All dates subject to change. Scheduling not finalized.
One thing that all of tonight’s reporters noted: there’s still no real agreement in place with regard to what happens with the Canadian teams.
Travel across the border is likely to still be quite restricted well into this NHL season, which is why an all-Canadian division was originally proposed.
However, it appears that such a set-up isn’t set in stone quite yet.
Big question is - and something #NHLPA will talk about tonight on Exec Board call - what happens if Canadian provincial health authorities don’t sign off on protocols to play?— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 19, 2020
Options are Edmonton hub or all 7 teams move to for season. Players don’t seem wild about either.
All in all, this is a very interesting agreement that raises a number of interesting questions.
- A 6-man taxi squad...that’s going to have a pretty significant impact on AHL rosters. How will those teams adjust?
- Will players be able to opt out in-season and still have their contracts tolled?
- Are there new divisions?
Still, for hockey fans, tonight’s reports are good news. We appear to be just a month or so away from a new season.
One note worth considering: now that these plans are being revealed, does a new deal for Zdeno Chara soon follow?