As expected, Friday, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association voted to ratify the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement extension that will go through the 2025-26 season. As part of the new CBA, they also agreed to the Return to Play plan set forth, which will officially begin with games starting August 1.
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) July 10, 2020
NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis highlighted some key bullet points of the new CBA, Friday, and the most interesting ones are as follows:
- The upper limit of the salary cap will be frozen at $81.5 million for 2020-21 and remain until HRR (hockey-related revenue) hits $3.3 billion.
- NHL players will participate in the 2022 (Bejing) and 2026 (Milan) Olympics, pending negotiations with the IOC.
- All no-trade and no-movement clauses will travel with the player in a trade, even if a player is moved before the clause begins.
- The minimum salaries will remain at $700,000 for 2020-21, then increase to $750,000 for 2021-22 and 2022-23 and will jump to $775,000 for the remainder of the agreement.
- The six-day negotiating window for pending unrestricted free agents leading up to the free agency signing period has been removed.
Along with the new CBA, the postseason play-in round schedule and hub cities were also formally released. Toronto will be the hub city for the Eastern Conference and Edmonton will be the hub city for the Western Conference. According to the posted schedule, there will be up to three games per day at each hub arena.
Beginning August 1 (Phase 4), the following three play-in games will take place at Scotiabank Arena for the Eastern Conference teams:
- New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes
- Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders
- Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
In Edmonton, the following games will also be played at the Rogers Place for the Western Conference teams:
- Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers
- Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames
The full schedule is as follows:
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 10, 2020
Immediately after the play-in round and round-robin seeding games have been completed, the second part of the NHL draft lottery will be held on August 10, followed by the first round of the playoffs on August 11. All statistics accumulated in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers (round robin and qualifying rounds) are considered part of the 2020 postseason and will be valid in the NHL archives.
As far as the Blackhawks are concerned, potential games will be played at the following dates and times:
- Game 1 — Saturday, August 1
- Game 2 — Monday, August 3
- Game 3 — Wednesday, August 5
- Game 4 — Friday, August 7 (if necessary)
- Game 5 — Saturday, August 8 (if necessary)
Chicago will begin phase 3 by opening their formal training camp on July 13, followed by traveling to Edmonton on July 26 in preparation for an undetermined amount of exhibition games on July 28-30, and their first game against the Oilers on August 1.
Give us your thoughts and feelings below!