As part of the Memorandum of Understanding between the NHL and NHLPA, the important offseason dates have been leaked via Sportsnet national reporter Frank Seravalli. And NHL players will not have a long offseason, nor will general managers have a lot of time from the NHL draft to free agency. Everything is still unofficial, so do not book your flight just yet.
A few pinched dates stand out. Stanley Cup Finalists could have as little as six weeks from the end of the Cup run to the start of training camps.
The conclusion of the NHL playoffs will occur in Edmonton. The Stanley Cup Final will take place between Sept. 20 and Oct. 2. This is the lastest possible date for the Final. Of course, that’s if planning goes well and there are no pauses or delays.
Just six weeks later, Nov. 17, 2020-21, NHL training camps are set to begin.
Unofficially, the 2020 NHL Draft is set to happen on Oct. 6, which could be just days after the Stanley Cup Final.
Then the free-agent frenzy begins on Oct. 7, one day after the draft. The start of free agency has a contingency; it will start on the later of Oct. 7 or seven days after the Stanley Cup Final.
Hockey fans, GMs, and the players may have a hard time catching their breath. Perhaps the most important date is the start of the 2020-21 NHL regular season. As part of the MoU, it will begin on Dec. 1.
So, less than two months after the draft and free agency, the season will begin.
The compact offseason will undoubtedly affect GMs at the draft, perhaps adding urgency to draft day deals, as the free-agent feeding frenzy will begin the following day. Typically, there is some offseason leadup to the draft as GMs discuss deals and assess their team needs.
One will also assume the week-long “look” period for UFAs, in which they can talk to teams but not sign, will still occur, which will make the 2020 NHL Draft very interesting. Teams will be talking to free agents and other teams, at the same time.
There is also some potentially bad news. If too many players opt-out or an entire club opts out, the NHL and NHLPA may meet to determine if the 24-team restart will continue.
Important NHL Dates:
Stanley Cup Final: Sept. 20 – Oct. 2, estimated.
2020 NHL Draft: Oct. 6
Start of Free Agency: Oct. 7, or seven days after the Stanley Cup Final
Start of Training Camps: Nov. 17
Start of 2020-21 NHL season: Dec. 1