While the 2020-21 season isn’t expected to start until December, possibly even January, the NHL has maintained in the past that it would like to have a full 82-game regular season to bring stability back to fans. Nothing has changed in the minds of the NHL, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, who reports that the NHL remains committed to a full NHL season next year, even if that means squeezing more games into the calendar.
With the regular season calendar scheduled for 186 days last season, even an optimistic Dec. 1 start-up date would have the NHL regular season finishing in early June. Regardless, the NHL will have to push the playoffs into the summer for a second season in a row. That will likely force the NHL to schedule more back-to-back games and force teams to play a record number of games each month in order to accomplish that feat. That could eventually return the NHL to a truly normal schedule for the 2021-22 season.
TSN’s Brennan Klak writes that a condensed schedule could doom the NHL all-star game and the players’ bye week. The all-star game was scheduled to be in Florida in 2021, but might be forced to be cancelled to conserve calendar space. The scribe also notes that with such a condensed schedule, injuries and back-up goaltending could play major roles in teams’ successes. Therefore depth could be the key for teams’ success.