NHL, NHLPA reach tentative agreement on 56-game season

Originally posted on Pro Hockey Rumors | By Zach Leach | Last updated 12/18/20

A resolution may finally be within reach for the league and its players on a format for the 2020-21 season. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports this evening that the NHL and NHLPA have reached a tentative agreement on the terms of season, which would include a 56-game regular season schedule.

Of course, no agreement between the sides can be finalized until it is approved by each independently first. On that note, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the NHLPA and its player reps are expected to meet tonight while the NHL Board of Governors will meet this weekend.

Among the details trickling in are as follows:

  • The league will start on January 13 as hoped, per TVA’s Renaud Lavoie. Lavoie adds that the agreed-upon plan does include an all-Canadian division, as expected, though concerns exist about the logistics of cross-province travel.
  • TSN’s Frank Seravalli echoes that January 13 start date, though he opines that all dates could be subject to change. That includes training camp start dates as well, which he expects to be December 30 for the seven 2019-20 non-playoff teams and January 3 for all others.
  • Seravalli also reports that rosters are expected to remain at 23 players, but that each team may carry a taxi squad of four to six players who will travel and practice with the team, but will be paid their AHL salaries and will not count against the salary cap.
  • Seravalli adds that all players will be given the right to opt out of the season for personal or familial health concerns and that teams will have the decision of whether or not to toll the contract.
  • Friedman notes that salaries will not be pro-rated despite the shortened season. He also confirms that thre will be no preseason exhibition games.
  • Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater reports that the tentative plan is for every team to play out of their home building this season, at least at the outset, rather than playing in hub cities as some had speculated.
  • With the league expected to be broken down into four realigned divisions without any conference alignment, Friedman reports that each division will produce four playoff teams and the postseason will be inter-division until four division winners become the semifinalists for the 2021 Stanley Cup.

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