If the NHL and NHLPA officially ratify the rules for the 2020-21 season in the coming days, training camp for the seven teams that did not make the 2020 playoffs would start on December 30. The rest of the league would open four days later on January 3.
On January 13, the puck would be dropped on a 56-game regular season where each team in every division would play each other seven different times (8x in the Canada Division). A Divisional Playoff would begin in May and the Stanley Cup would be awarded in late June or early July.
Now, thanks to reporting from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, we’re learning of some more important dates ahead of next season.
Much like the 2020 playoffs, NHL players will have the opportunity to opt-out of the season. Players from the non-playoff teams must opt-out by December 24 and the others must give their notice on December 27. Players will not be paid their salary if they opt-out, but teams will have the option to “toll” or carry-over the player’s contract if they do so.
Teams must sign Group II restricted-free agents by February 11 to play this year and teams can extend players on one-year deals on March 12.
Some new key dates: Opt-out deadline is Dec. 24 for non-playoff teams, Dec. 27 for playoff teams. Group II RFAs must be signed by Feb. 11 to play this season (usually Dec. 1). And, players on one-year deals can extend on March 12 (usually Jan. 1).
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 19, 2020
The first day of free agency is July 28, meaning the Expansion Draft and the NHL Draft should come a week or two before.
Fun date for hockey fans to circle: Free Agent Frenzy set for July 28 as per NHL-NHLPA agreement
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 20, 2020
If the 2021-22 season starts on time, the NHL will potentially be playing games 11 months out of 12.
Here are the months in 2021 where there may be NHL hockey games played
– June (playoffs)
– July (playoffs)
– September (preseason)
* That's 11 months of hockey possible if 21-22 starts in 1st week Oct
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) December 19, 2020
So everybody strap in, 2021 is going to be a very busy year.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.