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Here’s all the key dates (Trade deadline/Playoffs, etc) for next NHL Season starting January 13th

The National Hockey League has taken another step closer to returning for a new season. The NHL has confirmed that there is a tentative agreement between the league and the NHLPA to officially start a 56-game regular season on Jan. 13.

As reported all week, the NHL is currently planning on going forward with four divisions, including one division for the seven Canadian teams to avoid dealing with travel across the US/Canada border that remains closed by pandemic restrictions. However, the possibility remains that Canadian provinces would not allow hockey games to be played within their own borders, forcing the NHL into of two options: moving all the Canadian teams to a “hub” in Edmonton or moving all the Canadian teams to the US. Neither option appealed to the players, according to Seravalli.

That factor won’t affect the Blackhawks, who are in one of the three divisions comprised of teams from the US. The divisional realignment necessary for this approach to an NHL season will lead to two familiar Blackhawks foes heading west and an old Original Six rivalry being renewed:

  • Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Stars, Red Wings, Blackhawks, Panthers, Predators, Lightning
  • Bruins, Sabres, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Penguins, Capitals
  • Ducks, Coyotes, Avalanche, Kings, Wild, Sharks, Blues, Golden Knights
  • (Canadian Division) Canadiens, Canucks, Flames, Jets, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Senators

The postseason will remain intra-division until each division produces a single winner. Those four teams will then compete for the final two postseason rounds and the Stanley Cup.

So, to recap:

Puck drop: Jan. 13
Trade deadline: April 12
End of reg season: May 8
Expansion draft: July 21
NHL draft: July 23-24
Free-agent Frenzy: July 28

These are the big dates for the 2020-21 NHL Season that we know of now.

One thing clearly missing from this is the issue regarding what to do with Canadian NHL teams if the country decides to not sign off on protocols allowing play, regardless of whether it’s through an all-Canada division.

Commissioner Gary Bettman has been discussing the idea of the season starting in January since his state of the league press conference during the Stanley Cup Final.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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