According to multiple reports, the National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association have reached a tentative agreement on the logistics for the 2020-21 season. Sportsnet hockey insider Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the news.
With this agreement reached by both parties, the 2020-21 NHL season is expected to start on Wednesday, Jan. 13 and will likely feature a 56-game schedule.
According to reports, the NHLPA executive board will have a conference call on Friday night to begin the process of approval for the plan. Meanwhile, the NHL's Board of Governors will have a conference call for their vote of approval at a later date.
TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger reports that a formal announcement of the agreement between both parties for the season could come as soon as Sunday or Monday.
While all the details of the logistics for the 2020-21 season have yet to be formally announced, here are some of the details that are being reported as of Friday night:
- Training camps for the 24 teams that played in the Return To Play plan this past summer will start on Sunday, Jan. 3.
- Training camps for the seven teams that failed to qualify for the Return To Play plan will be able to start on Thursday, Dec. 31.
- NHL rosters will consist of 23 players with an $81.5 million salary cap
- Each team will have a taxi squad consisting of 4-6 players that travel and practice with the team. Taxi squad players will be paid full AHL salary unless called up, and the current Collective Bargaining Agreement has been expanded to include for more flexible emergency recalls.
- The NHL may limit how long a team can keep players on the taxi squad without playing in a game.
- Teams will have the option to carry-over contracts of players who elect to opt out of the 2020-21 season.
- The NHL will play no exhibition games leading up to the start of the season.
- If the NHL season does start on Jan. 13, the league would have until Jan. 12 at 5 p.m. EST to submit their final roster and be cap compliant.
One of the main talking points over the last 24-to-48 hours has become the possibility of the seven Canadian teams in the league playing the 2020-21 season in the United States if agreements can't be reached with the league, the teams and provincial health authorities in Canada.
David Pagnotta from The Fourth Period reports that the five provinces that hold the seven teams are working together to formulate a plan to allow the teams to play in their home arenas this season. If that happens, all seven teams would play in an "All-Canadian" division and only play the 56-game regular season against those teams.
While the NHL will work with the Canadian provinces to finalize some sort of plan, there appears to be a pair of contingency plans if a plan cannot be finalized.
The first option would be to have all seven teams play in one central hub city, which would likely be the city of Edmonton, where the NHL held its Return To Play plan over the summer. The other option would be to move all seven Canadian teams to play the season in the United States.
Stay tuned for the latest on this developing story...