Friends, we’re expecting to get word from both the NHL’s Board of Governors and the players association later on Friday regarding their respective votes to ratify the Return to Play plans and the proposed new collective bargaining agreement.
Update: the agreement has been ratified and we’ve updated the dates to the current, somewhat final, form.
July 13 (Monday): Phase 3 begins, which means training camps open for the 24 teams involved in Phase 4.
July 26 (Sunday): Teams expected to travel to their respective hub cities – Edmonton for the 12 Western teams, Toronto for the 12 Eastern teams.
July 28-30 (Tuesday-Thursday): Exhibition games will be played in the hub cities. Each team will play one game.
August 1 (Friday): Qualifying round begins
The plan is for games in each hub city as follows:
- 10 a.m. MT, 2 p.m. MT and 6 p.m. MT (Toronto)
- noon MT, 4:30 p.m. MT and 8:30 p.m. MT (Edmonton)
August 10 (Monday): Phase 2 of the draft lottery
August 11 (Tuesday): First round begins
August 25 (Tuesday): Second round begins
September 8 (Tuesday): Conference finals begin (Edmonton)
September 22 (Tuesday): Stanley Cup Final begins (Edmonton)
September 25 (Friday): Buyout window opens
October 4 (Sunday): Last possible day of Stanley Cup Final
October 4 (or two days after the last playoff game played if a team is playing after October 2): Deadline for club-elected salary arbitration
October 6 (or four days after the last playoff game played if a team is playing after October 2): Qualifying offer deadline
October 8 (or six days after the Final ends, whichever is later): Buyout window closes
October 9 & 10 (Friday & Saturday): 2020 NHL Draft (Round 1 on Friday, the other rounds on Saturday)
October 9 (or seven days after the Final ends, whichever is later) (Friday): Free agency opens (10 a.m. MT).
October 10 (or eight days after the last playoff game played if a team is playing after October 2) (Saturday): Deadline for player-elected salary arbitration
October 18 (or 16 days after the Final ends, whichever is later): Qualifying offers expire
October 20-November 8: Salary arbitration hearings
November 17 (Tuesday): 2020-21 camps open
December 1 (Tuesday): 2020-21 regular season begins
The intention is for the 2020-21 season to be 82 games, but there won’t be an All-Star or CBA break involved. It’s also entirely unclear when fans will be allowed into games and, if so, how full buildings can be.
The “usual” regular season runs from the first week of October until the second week in April (followed by two months of playoffs). On one hand, they’re starting two months late. On the other hand, they’re axing about two weeks of breaks and going with a compressed, Olympic-style schedule. So it seems like this season would potentially run from December 1 through the end of May, followed by playoffs in June and July.
That said, plans mean very little in 2020, so we’ll see how things actually unfold.