Tentative Agreement Reached Between NHL & NHLPA

Graphic: NHL

By Michael Walters

The National Hockey League(NHL) and Players Association reached a tentative agreement for the 2020-21 season on Friday, December 18th, 2020.

Today the NHL Board of Governors approved the agreement. The official update is listed at the bottom of the article.

Season Start & Training Camps

The next season would officially start on January 13th, 2021 with training camps opening on January 3rd. The seven teams that were not in the recent playoffs will be able to start their training camps on December 31st, 2020. The 2020-21 season is scheduled to be 56 games. The plan is for the regular-season to conclude in May with the Stanley Cup Playoffs to follow and finish in July.

Opt-Out Option

Players do have the option to opt-out for the 2020-21 season if they are an immediate family member is considered high risk. The team would have the option of tolling the contract for the year.

Roster Size & Salary Cap

Each team would be a 23-man roster with an $81.5 million salary cap. A part of this season each team will be able to have a 4-6 player taxi squad. Those players will be paid their AHL salaries unless officially called up to the NHL level. The CBA has also been expanded to include more emergency recalls.

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Players will be paid 72% of their salaries for the 2020-21 season. Of the salary the players receive, 20% will be used to repay the owners from last season, and 10% will be deferred to be paid later in installments.

Realigned Divisions

North: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

West: Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota, San Jose, St. Louis, Vegas

Central: Carolina, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, Florida, Nashville, Tampa Bay

East: Boston, Buffalo, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington

Graphic: NHL

The top four teams of each division would make the playoffs, which will result in a division champion for the Stanley Cup Semifinals. There would be no wild card playoff teams under this proposal. The Central, East, and West will play each of the other division teams 8 times during the season. For the North or Canadien Division, they will play their division opponents 9 or 10 times.

Work In Progress

There are still a few details to work out. It’s unclear how the Canadien division will play their games. Some options include playing in an Edmonton hub or all the seven teams playing the season in the US.

For the US divisions, teams will be able to play at their home arenas. Fans will be allowed to attend games depending on their local regulations.

Update: 12-20-20

The NHL Board of governors approved the agreement.

Here are the key dates for the season:

Training Camp For Non-Playoff Teams: December 31st
Training Camp For League: January 3rd

Season Start: January 13th
Trade Deadline: April 12th
Season End: May 8th
Playoffs Start: May 11th

Expansion Draft: July 21st
NHL Draft: July 23rd-24th
Free-Agency: July 28th

Sources: Frank Seravalli, Pierre LeBrun, Elliotte Friedman, John Shannon, Dan Rosen

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December 19th, 2020


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