NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 19, 2020
The NHL and NHLPA reach a tentative agreement for the 2020-21 season. Check out the details in today’s morning coffee headlines.
TSN/SPORTSNET: reported on the tentative agreement on the 2020-21 season reached last night by the NHL and NHLPA.
The agreement requires ratification by the league board of governors and the PA executive board. The latter verbally supported moving ahead with the agreement last night. The board of governors’ vote is expected Sunday or Monday.
Here are the pertinent details:
– It will be a 56-game schedule commencing on Jan. 13. Training camps for last season’s seven non-playoff clubs will commence on Dec. 31. The other 24 teams will begin camp on Jan. 3. There won’t be exhibition games.
– The regular season would tentatively end on May 8. The Stanley Cup playoffs would end by the first week of July.
All dates are subject to change.
– The proposed divisions break down as follows:
Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg,
Boston, Buffalo, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington,
Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Nashville and Tampa Bay,
Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota, San Jose, St. Louis and Vegas.
– Each division will produce four playoff teams. The postseason will be inter-division with each division winner becoming Stanley Cup semifinalists seeded by regular-season points.
– The tentative plan is for every team to play in their home arenas this season instead of playing in hub cities, though the latter remains a possibility.
– A player can opt-out from this season if he or an immediate family member is considered part of a high-risk category. That player will not be paid for this season and his team will have the option of carrying over his contract for one year.
– Rosters will be capped at 23 players with the salary cap at $81.5 million. Players on one-way NHL contracts will not have their salaries prorated. Those in the AHL on two-way contracts will have prorated salaries based on how many games are played in that league, with a 40 percent minimum salary payout.
– Teams will be permitted to carry four-to-six extra players (taxi squad), including a mandatory third goaltender. Those players will practice and travel with the team. For salary cap purposes, those extra players will be treated as AHL call-ups. Players will have to clear waivers to be put on the taxi squad. Players on that squad will be paid an AHL salary if on a two-way contract.
– As part of the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, players will be tested every other day, possibly every day, and will be expected to have minimal outside contact. Charter planes will be used for all travel and health standards at road hotels and restaurants strictly monitored. Players will be confined to the rink and the hotel.
– The fate of the proposed Canadian Division rests with the five health authorities in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. The league and the seven Canadian teams are in ongoing discussions with those provincial and regional authorities.
It’s believed the biggest sticking point is whether NHL players will be subject to intra-provincial travel quarantine restrictions. Failing that, the Canadian teams could play in a hub city like Edmonton or spend the season in the United States.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The proposed agreement is expected to be rubber-stamped by the BoG and the PA executive. We’ll likely learn more details in the coming days. Much will depend, of course, on whether the five provincial health authorities sign off on the plan of an all-Canadian division. Some reports cited sources expressing confidence that agreement will be reached. We’ll find out soon enough.
The fate of the seven Canadian teams will determine most of those aforementioned dates and the divisional realignments. Those could change if those clubs are forced to spend the season playing in the United States.
Understandably, that’s the last option for the league and those clubs, whose players won’t be thrilled about potentially spending at least five months living in hotels away from their families. They also probably wouldn’t be happy about playing in a hub city in Canada but at least they could have the opportunity to travel back to their NHL cities to see their families.
A Canadian team would be guaranteed a spot as a Stanley Cup semifinalist under the proposed playoff format for the season.
It’ll be interesting to see how many players opt-out of this season. Only a handful did so during the 2020 playoffs. Going any entire season without a paycheck will be a strong enticement to suit up.
Certainly many hurdles (many on the Canadian side) still to overcome, but a step in the right direction
Pushing the start a week (to the 20th) imho has a high probability
Will be very happy if the CanDiv comes through…. almost definitely assuring a Leafs playoff spot…. current Div and playoff format…. possibility of missing playoffs again
That Col/Knights series for place in semis is going to be great
“Teams will be permitted to carry four-to-six extra players (taxi squad), including a mandatory third goaltender. Those players will practice and travel with the team. For salary cap purposes, those extra players will be treated as AHL call-ups. Players will have to clear waivers to be put on the taxi squad. Players on that squad will be paid an AHL salary if on a two-way contract.”
That one is “murky” to say the least. Say a team starts the season with 6 on the taxi squad – one of which must be a goalie. It’s safe to assume that that 3rd goalie won’t be seeing a whole of action – and perhaps most – if not all – of the other 5 will be in the same boat, barring a slew of minor injuries. It’s also safe to assume that most teams will prefer to select the best of their AHL prospects for the taxi squad.
On the other, since they’ll have to clear waivers to be put on a taxi squad how many teams would expose their best prospects to the waiver wire?
And wouldn’t sending players up and down during the season use up options that may otherwise protect a player from waivers?
Those paid an AHL salary of on a two-way contract will, I assume, be paid at the NHL rate if activated. But if the player they’re replacing is only suffering a short-term injury which doesn’t call for LTIR, and the team is already at or near the cap limit, could they be added if that puts the team over the top?
Clear as mud. Or – what am I missing here?
If we assume that the purpose of a taxi squad is to limit the spread of covid by reducing player movement, would it follow that a team planning to remain cap compliant by demoting and recalling exempt players on a game-by-game basis (e.g., the Leafs) would have its strategy disrupted? I’m supposing that an exempt player couldn’t be on the taxi squad, since squad members must pass through waivers.
How does it make sense for the decision makers to target a triple header with all US teams ? Wouldn’t you want to include the Canadian audience and division in an ideal world ? Who would want to see a mcdavid vs Mathews opener ? What are they thinking ??
Lots of questions, but any hockey is better than none. Less than 2 weeks for non playoff teams to start camp. Should see more roster additions and subtractions. They’re also going to have to sort out rules for expansion draft. Some players were added to rosters to be exposed. Teams will need to know how many games they’ll need to play.
Dallas & ST. Louis should be switched … the Blues should be with Chi, Detroit & Columbus …
” Teams will be permitted to carry four-to-six extra players (taxi squad), including a mandatory third goaltender. Those players will practice and travel with the team. For salary cap purposes, those extra players will be treated as AHL call-ups. Players will have to clear waivers to be put on the taxi squad. Players on that squad will be paid an AHL salary if on a two-way contract”
Practice and travel doesn’t equal hard playing time in a full schedule. Grooming prospects in the AHL is more valuable than being on a taxi squad.
It makes more sense to forgo the waiver process for a fixed number of players making recall practical.
The AHL teams shouldn’t lose top players/prospects for the season to just sit in the stands for the season as opposed to developing them.
Habsfan30, are you suggesting the waiver exempt players get payed at their NHL salary?
I am guessing the players wanted waivers left in. It is an opportunity for a guy who is buried on a deep team to get picked up by a team who may give him a shot and earn an NHL paycheck.
IE Vegas picked up Subban from Boston off waivers, and stuck with the NHL team for a couple years.
Ray, I’m saying that player development is more important than having a body in a seat.
As it is, teams take waivers into consideration when juggling and that’s part of the game.
The goal of a taxi squad is to easily fill roster spots for the expected covid positive testing.
I’m suggesting that teams be able to have waiver exemptions this year for players that would be a taxi squad but at the same time allow for their continued development.
There are some real unintended consequences of this proposed divisional alignment – huge travel advantage for the teams in the northeast. And there will be a few teams that really are penalized – in this case Minnesota and St. Louis – who will need to spend too much time traveling to the west coast. And much travel for the all Canadian division – but a good break for them for the playoffs. I hope we end up with a better solution than this – but better to have hockey (at last) than none at all.