We already knew the dates for the 2020 NHL Playoff return, but what about the very important stuff that follows? The tentative dates for Free Agency, Training Camps, and the 2020-21 season were just announced!
Oct 9th, or 7 days after the Stanley Cup Final Ends- Free Agency Opens
This is very crucial. The Boston Bruins have until then to negotiate a deal with pending UFA Torey Krug, or else, the 28 year old will enter free agency, where teams will line up and pay him a LOT. What will happen with other UFA’s, like Taylor Hall, Alex Pietrangelo, and many more?
Nov 17th- Training Camps for 2020-21 Season Begin.
What a fast turnaround for whatever two teams reach the Finals. Roughly six weeks after the cup is awarded, it will already be time to get back into the swing of things. The teams who missed the playoffs will have gone EIGHT months without being on the ice as a team. That is an extremely long time. The NHL should allow the teams that failed to qualify for the playoffs- an extended training camp because of such a long layoff.
Dec 1st- 2020-21 season begins
Again- like I mentioned beforehand- this is such a fast turnaround for those teams that make it deep into the upcoming playoffs. Just about two months after the Finals end, it’ll be time for all 31 Teams to start playing again.
These dates are all projected with the hopes that the Return to Play Plan continues without any sort of pause. What happens if there is a hiccup somewhere? What if there’s a team that ends up having a handful of players test positive for COVID-19? I’d like to think the NHL has thought of all potential outcomes, and is prepared for the worst. Then again, it’s the NHL, so who knows about that.
It seems, at least to me, very unlikely that there won’t inevitably be some sort of issue. Whether it’s players going out to bars and not following the guidelines, like the St. Louis Blues have already done. There should be punishment for those who break the guidelines, as it could put so many players, coaches, and general staff at risk.