Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NHL and NHLPA have tentative deal for 56-game season

After weeks of delays and dry spells between updates regarding whether or not the NHL would actually get their 2020-21 season going, we finally got the news we’ve been waiting for that the league and its players had reached an agreement on a 56-game season.

According to the varying insiders, the NHL and players have finally knocked out the details required to get us all to a 2020-21 NHL season with a targeted start date of January 13th still on the board. Before the deal is finalized, however, there still needs to be a vote by the Board of Governors which is expected to happen at some point in the coming days as well as a decision regarding the ongoing discussions between the league and health officials to determine the fate for the Canadian teams. Based on what I could find tonight, it looks like the options would be to have Edmonton as a Hub City to start the season or have all seven Canadian teams move south of the border, both of which are not expected to be popular.

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In addition to the reported agreement regarding the 56 games, TSN’s Frank Seravalli tweeted that training camps would open on January 3rd except for the seven teams who did not qualify for the playoffs this past summer. Those squads would be able to get going and open their camps five days earlier on December 30th to help them work through the near calendar year since they last played. Each NHL team will have a 23-man roster ($81.5 million maximum cap hit) and a four to six-man taxi squad (AHL salaries) available to guard against possible outbreaks of COVID-19. In total, a maximum of 29 players will be allowed to travel and practice with each team.

While we’re still some time away from an official announcement regarding concrete start dates and am actual playing schedule, there’s little doubt in my mind that this is the best Christmas present any NHL fan could have asked for right now. Put another way, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel but the journey is far from over. More details to follow…