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Reports: NHL aiming for December 1 start to the 2020-2021 season

Do we even have to say “subject to change” at this point?

Boston Bruins Vs. Philadelphia Flyers At TD Garden Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

While we’re all wondering what’s going to happen to the current NHL playoff structure, the league and its players are already planning for next season.

According to multiple reports from guys like Frank Seravalli and Elliotte Friedman, the league already has some dates in mind for when the 2020-2021 season will begin.

As always, the dates are subject to change. (Side note: Is anyone else sick of hearing subject to change? I think we all assume everything is subject to change at this point. Okay, complaint over.)

  • 2020-2021 Training Camp: November 17, 2020
  • 2020-2021 Opening Night: December 1, 2020

It’s worth noting that the two also mentioned dates for the beginning of free agency (a week after the Final ends, no later than October 9) and the 2020 NHL Draft (October 6).

Torey Krug will be shopping for a new deal while also shopping for Halloween candy. What a time to be a live.

It will be interesting to see how the NHL handles things schedule-wise if this is how things shake out. A few weeks ago, Gary Bettman insisted that the league would play the 2020-2021 season in full. However, Dec. 1 would represent almost two months lost compared to a normal season.

While the league could get some time back bye eliminating the bye week and All-Star Game, that’s still a lot of hockey to cram into five months (if you assume the regular season will run through April, as it did in 2013).

If you remember, the 2013 season was just 48 games due to the lockout. The first game of that season was played on January 19, and the regular season ended just a few days shy of the end of April.

If the season starts Dec. 1, you’re essentially adding 6 weeks of hockey to the 2013 season. Assuming teams average 3.5 games per week, you’re looking at around a 70-game season.

It seems to me like that’d be a lot to ask of the players, who just had a six-week offseason, but who knows?

Either way, expect these dates to continue to move as the weeks progress. If the puck does indeed drop on the 2020-2021 season on Dec. 1, here’s to hoping we’re all experiencing something a lot closer to normalcy by then.