Teams around the NHL have started to receive potential 2021 schedules according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, and they include some very interesting oddities. For one, Johnston tweets that games have been grouped in two-game series against the same opponent but he has heard of three or even four-game segments as well. Several other reports including from Mark Spector of Sportsnet have indicated that the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks will play each other ten times, hitting the ice against the other Canadian teams just nine times. The All-Canadian division of course has one fewer team in it, leading to the different schedules.
Some other scheduling notes:
- Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic wondered about the trade deadline in his recent column, noting that though it is scheduled for April 12, Canada-U.S. border restrictions could complicate things this year. Players acquired from a team based in the U.S. would likely face at least a two-week quarantine if joining a Canadian team for instance, making him quite a bit less valuable in a deadline deal.
- Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell told reporters including Dan Rosen of NHL.com that players recalled from the AHL will have to go through the “taxi squad” period and quarantine for at least seven days before joining the NHL club, meaning there will be no day-of recalls this season. That too will complicate things this season and make teams think hard about who they want to include with their extra roster spots.
- The QMJHL has announced that their season will not resume until January 21 at the earliest, with the Quebec-based teams starting the next day. There hasn’t been a game played since the end of November due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, meaning it will be nearly two months between competitive action for many prospects.
- The WHL draft meanwhile, which is normally scheduled for May, has now been moved to December for the upcoming year. As the league explained today, the decision was to give 2006-born players more time to be evaluated in competitive situations. The 2021 WHL Cup, which is a showcase for WHL draft-eligible players (not NHL draft-eligible) will be held in October.