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NHL, NHLPA reach agreement for getting 2021 season started on January 13

The NHL is closing in on an agreement for the new season with a start date, length, temporary realignment and more.

General view during the pre-game ceremony between the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on November 26, 2019 in Montreal, Canada. Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Official update: The NHL and NHLPA announced an agreement to get the 2021 regular season started on January 13. The regular season will be 56 games in length and realignment will include an all-Canada division.

The playoffs will feature 16 teams in the traditional best-of-seven, four-round format and conclude around mid-July. The top four teams in each division will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with intradivisional play in the first two rounds (#1 vs. #4; #2 vs. #3). The four teams that advance to the Semifinal Round would be seeded by their regular season points total, with the No. 1 seed playing the No. 4 seed in one series and the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds meeting in the other.

Sunday update: The tentative schedule would include the following notable dates, per Pierre LeBrun:

Training camps open: Jan. 3 for all bubble teams; Dec. 31 for the seven non-playoff teams
Regular season begins: Jan. 13
RFA signing deadline: Feb. 11
Contract extensions: March 12
Trade deadline: April 12
End of regular season: May 8
Seattle expansion draft: July 21
NHL Draft: July 23-24
Free-Agent Frenzy: July 28

UPDATE: Frank Seravelli is reporting a season start date of January 13th, with training camp starting on January 3rd and the seven teams that did not make the playoff bubble starting on December 30th. Seravelli did note those dates could get pushed back.

The NHL and NHL Players Association have reached a tentative agreement and hockey should be getting started sooner than later. Elliotte Freedman reported the two sides agreed on a 56-game season. Pierre LeBrun is reporting a broader agreement on the season as a whole.

There has been talk of a January 13th start date, with Renaud Lavoie hearing that will still happen. That still seems a little difficult. January 13th is 26 days from now and there are still votes to be had by the NHL and NHLPA this weekend. The NHL’s Board of Governors will meet this weekend and the NHLPA executive committee had a call scheduled for 8 p.m. ET, per LeBrun.

Once the agreement is formalized, we would then find out when training camp and preseason play would start. Any deal would include the various dates, but this year would also include realignment of the divisions. Travel restrictions will prevent teams coming and going from Canada, and so we’ll likely see all the Canadian teams playing amongst themselves before the playoffs.