The NHL has reportedly made some changes to its 2020 offseason schedule.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the NHL has moved the first round of the 2020 Draft up to Oct. 6, with the other rounds taking place on Oct. 7. The initial plan was to run the Draft Oct. 9-10.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun added that free agency, which traditionally begins on July 1, is scheduled to commence on Oct. 9.
The league is planning to conclude the 2019-20 season by Oct. 4, Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final if it’s necessary. After that, teams will only have days to finalize their plans and strategies for the draft and free agency.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the league suspended play on March 12. The Stanley Cup Final was slated to end in mid-June, with the Draft taking place at the Bell Centre in Montreal from June 26-27. Free agency, as noted above, was to begin as per usual on July 1.
The NHL resumed play on Aug. 1, with 24 teams returning for a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup. The top four teams in each conference played in round robins to determine the No. 1 to 4 seeds, while the other 16 clubs competed in best-of-five qualifying round matchups to determine the rest of the playoff field.
The Tampa Bay Lightning lead the New York Islanders 1-0 in their Eastern Conference Final matchup. The Dallas Stars lead their Western Conference Final series against the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0 .
The league and NHLPA have tentatively agreed to begin training camp for the 2020-21 season on Nov. 17, with the hope of beginning the regular season on Dec. 1. But that’s far from a guarantee right now, and it’s very possible that the season won’t commence until 2021.
The NBA is also hoping to begin next season in early December, but commissioner Adam Silver has warned that the date might be too optimistic.
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