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What You Need to Know: NHL and NHLPA Reach Tentative Deal On 56-Game Season

The NHL and NHLPA have come to terms on a tentative agreement to play a 56-game season starting January 13th.

According to multiple sources on Friday night, including a post from NHL.com, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association have reached a tentative agreement to play a 56-game regular season starting Jan. 13, 2021. The agreement was confirmed by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, and is merely pending a vote by the NHL Board of Governors and the NHLPA.

Related: Where Teams May Relocate and Why an NHL All-Canadian Division Still Matters

Recent news about provincial restrictions had people thinking a January 13th start date was going to be next to impossible. But, as things started to look bleak, strides were made on Friday night to get the ball rolling again, especially considering there’s not a lot of time left before the proposed start of NHL training camps.

NHL.com notes:

The NHL and NHLPA have had to adjust to government regulations at all levels, from restrictions at the Canada-United States border to local limits on gatherings, and the coronavirus situation in each of the markets for the 31 NHL teams. The agreement includes health and safety protocols.

Speculation is the regular-season will end in early-May, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs will wrap up in mid-July.

What Does Division Realignment Look Like?

As per Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic, here’s how it would look, pending a vote:

  • Bos-Buf-NJ-NYI-NYR-Phi-Pgh-Was
  • Car-CBJ-Dal-Det-Chi-Fla-Nas-TB
  • Ana-Ari-Col-LA-Min-SJ-STL-VGK
  • All-Canadian Division

As for playoffs, Elliotte Friedman reports, “Playoffs will be top four in each division — each division produces a champion for the Stanley Cup Semifinal.” He also notes that there will be a 4-6 player taxi squad, teams have option to “toll” (carry-over) contracts if a player opts out, and there will be no proration of salaries and no exhibition games. Non-playoff teams will get a few extra days of camp.

The Canadian situation with where the teams will play has not been sorted out yet.

NHLPA vs NHL Bettman Donal Fehr

Next: Canadian Teams Could Have to Play 2020-21 NHL Season in the U.S.

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