According to Pierre LeBrun, the NHL has cleared their financial issues for 2021 and there will be a season for the Islanders and all the other 30 teams.
Good news Islanders fans! The hard part of getting a season going for 2021 seems to be over. The finances seem to be figured out according to Pierre LeBrun and The Athletic which means the next steps are figuring out a season.
One of the biggest issues with restarting the season was the NHL and NHLPA agreeing on the financial terms of a season. With the NHLPA getting back to the NHL over the weekend, the next step is to iron out season details.
Both sides are pushing for a January 13, 2021 start date. That would give the NHL five weeks to come up with a schedule and get all their players back and ready for the season to start up.
With January 13 as the planned start date, the assumption is that the NHL will be able to play a 56 game season. Under normal circumstances, the NHL season usually gets to 56 games at around the mid-point of February.
That would put the regular season to roughly the end of May. You’d have to assume that the NHL would like to end their regular season a little bit earlier than that. In 2012-2013, the regular season began on January 19 and finished up on April 26 for the Islanders.
Now that was a 48 game season, so obviously the NHL is going to have to fit an extra eight games in somewhere but the assumption is that the league would like their playoffs to begin around May so that they can get back on track for the 2021-2022 season.
Also, due to COVID travel restrictions, there is likely to be division realignment. There is expected to be an all Canadian division, an East, Central, and West. It still needs to be decided on but this is what Greg Wyshynski of ESPN came up with this:
Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg
East: Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, New Jersey, NYI, NYR, Philadelphia, Washington
Central: Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Nashville, Pittsburgh, St. Lous, Tampa
West: Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, San Jose, Vegas
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The league still has a ways to go before January 13 but it’s a good sign that the wheels are in motion. It looks like we’re set to have hockey in a little over a month which is a great thing.