The NHL and NHL Players’ Association have reached a tentative agreement on the Return to Play plan and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement deal, but nothing is official until the full NHLPA membership ratifies the package. The voting process is ongoing, and a final decision is expected to come Friday.
If or when the deal is signed off on, here are the new critical dates for the rest of the 2019-20 season and looking ahead to the 2020-21 calendar, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli:
- July 13 – Formal training camps open
- July 26 – Teams travel to hub cities
- Aug. 1 – Start of qualifying round
- Aug. 10-12 – Phase 2 of draft lottery (TBD)
- Sept. 20 – Stanley Cup Final begins
- Oct. 2 – Last possible date for Stanley Cup Final
- Oct. 6 – NHL Draft
- Oct. 9 (or seven days after Stanley Cup Final ends) – Free agency opens
- Nov. 17 – Opening of training camps for 2020-21 season
- Dec. 1 – Opening Day of 2020-21 regular season
*All dates are subject to change, but these were the dates listed in the Memorandum of Understanding.
It should also be pointed out that, in the new CBA deal, there will no longer be a negotiation window for pending unrestricted free agents. Previously, teams were given six days to interview potential UFA candidates before they could officially sign players. Now, it will be a free-for-all once the clock hits 11 a.m. CT like the old days.