The NHL and NHLPA today released the details on their Memorandum of Understanding regarding the agreed-upon extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The memorandum, as detailed by TSN’s Frank Seravalli, reveals a number of potential key dates for the adjusted 2020 postseason and 2020-21 off-season and regular season. The dates are as follows:
July 10 – Beginning of training camp
July 24 – Travel to hub cities
July 25 – Beginning of exhibition games
July 31 – Beginning of qualifying round
Aug. 9 – Beginning of Stanley Cup Playoffs
Aug. 23 – Beginning of Second Round
Sep. 6 – Beginning of Conference Finals
Sep. 20 – Beginning of Stanley Cup Final
Oct. 2 – Last possible day of Stanley Cup Final
Oct. 6 – 2020 NHL Entry Draft
Oct. 9 – Opening of free agency
Nov. 17 – Beginning of training camp for 2020-21 season
Dec. 1 – Beginning of 2020-21 regular season
Not only are these dates of course pending a vote to ratify the CBA extension by the players, but Seravalli also notes that they are subject to change based on logistical delays. This has in fact already occurred, as training camps are listed as opening on Friday, when in reality they will open on Monday, July 13. Regardless, the NHL clearly has a plan to start play within a month and wrap the expanded postseason by early October. This would set the league up to take nearly two months off for the off-season but still begin the next season less than two months later than usual.
Seravalli also noted that there are some proration rules in place with regards to eligibility for player bonuses for this season but that does not extend to trades that were made with conditions for players reaching certain statistical thresholds, such as the James Neal–Milan Lucic trade. The league will instead allow teams to make arguments and then potentially have it decided by an arbitrator.
Other key CBA notes revealed by Seravalli include:
- An increase in maximum entry-level contract salaries from the current $925K to $950K from 2022-2024, $975K from 2024 to 2026, and finally $1MM beginning in 2026-27.
- An increase in the minimum salary from the current $700K to $750K from 2021-2023 and $775K from 2023-2026
- An agreement that the NHL and NHLPA will discuss abandoning the Return To Play plan if players opting-out on a league-wide or club-wide basis “materially impacts the integrity” of the postseason