There have been some significant developments in talks between NHL owners and players, and it appears a new season is on track to start in mid-January.
That’s according to multiple reports from NHL insiders, including TSN’s Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun, as well as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Owners have reportedly agreed to drop their proposed financial changes, after players scoffed at renegotiating a deal that was finalized just five months ago.
The target date is now January 13, with teams each playing a 56-game schedule.
Both sides targeting Jan. 13 start to season in order to get 56-game sked but even with financials no longer an issue as @DarrenDreger first reported, still some work to be done on protocols, schedule, critical date, etc, plus subject to NHL BOG and NHLPA executive board approval https://t.co/ESSjY94Slt
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 8, 2020
The Stanley Cup could be awarded in July this year, as the NHL needs to wrap up its season before the Tokyo Summer Olympics, due to television commitments from rights-holder NBC.
Division realignment is expected due to the closed border, with all seven Canadian teams likely to form a new division, playing games only amongst themselves.
Nothing finalized, however, focus in discussions related to NHL training camps has been on 10 day camps with no exhibition games. In the summer, RTP non playoff teams were hoping for a 7 day head-start to 20-21 training camps. 7 days is unlikely at this point.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 8, 2020
Training camps are expected to last 10 days, and there are no plans to hold exhibition games.
There will be many more logistical challenges, to be sure, as the league tries to play hockey during a pandemic without the help of a full-scale bubble environment like they had during the playoffs.