NHL announces 2021 season plans


The NHL and NHL Players Association came to an agreement this weekend on their 2021 season dates, division parameters and other adjustments, which means that the pandemic-shortened, 56-game regular season will begin on Jan. 13, 2021.

This process begins with the opening of training camps and the NHL regular season as well as the divisional layouts. With the season beginning in just over three weeks, formal training camps will begin on Jan. 3. The seven teams that did not participate in the 2019–20 Return to Play will be permitted to open their training camps as early as Dec. 31. There will be no preseason games as teams get ready to jump into what will surely be a chaotic schedule.

To make traveling easier, the NHL temporarily restructured the divisions. Teams like Colorado, Minnesota and St. Louis head west while Columbus, Detroit and Tampa Bay move into the new Central Division. The new Canadian North Division, created to avoid teams having to cross the US/Canada border, is made up of Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg.

Teams will play each division foe eight times with the exception of the North Division, who will play each other either nine or 10 times. Playoffs will return to a more traditional format of 16 teams, with the top four in each division qualifying.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun laid out several key season dates including the Seattle Expansion Draft and NHL Entry Draft as well.

According to Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman, the there is a Dec. 24 opt-out deadline for non-playoff teams, and Dec. 27 for playoff teams. Group II RFAs must be signed by Feb. 11 to play this season. Players on one-year deals can extend on March 12. These are a few more details that Friedman laid out:

  • Entry-level contract slide for rookies drops from 10 games to 7
  • Training camps will include 36 skaters and an unlimited number of goalies
  • No-movement clauses extended through July 28, which means that any player with one will have it through the expansion draft

As far as the Seattle Kraken are concerned, the expansion draft will be July 21, 2021. Pick submissions and interview periods are as follows, according to <ahref=”https://twitter.com/reporterchris/status/1340693553215905793?s=20″>Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston:


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