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Report: NHL, NHLPA closing in on new 6-year CBA, return-to-play plan

Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

The NHL and its players' association are closing in on a new six-year collective bargaining agreement, as well as the key details involved in facilitating the league's return-to-play plan, reports TSN's Frank Seravalli.

There are more steps to be taken before a formal announcement, but the deal appears to be imminent, Seravalli adds. The agreement would still need to be ratified by the league's board of governors and the entire NHLPA. Players will have 72 hours to vote.

Some of the details in the new deal include training camps opening July 13, with teams reporting to their respective hubs by July 26. Qualifying-round games are scheduled to begin Aug. 1, and the Stanley Cup is to be awarded in early October.

The second phase of the NHL Draft Lottery will be held Aug. 10, with the draft itself taking place in mid-October. Free agency will kick off Nov. 1.

Aside from important dates, Seravalli's report outlines several other critical factors:

  • Any player wishing to opt out of the league's return plan can do so without facing any discipline.
  • The salary cap upper-limit will be frozen at $81.5 million until hockey-related revenue hits $4.8 billion - the amount projected for the current season before the pandemic shut it down.
  • As previously reported, NHLers will participate in the 2022 (Beijing) and 2026 (Milan) Olympics pending agreement with the IOC.
  • Escrow for players will be capped at 20% next season, and that total will dip to 6% by 2025-26.
  • Players will defer 10% of salary and signing bonuses next season, which will be paid back in three instalments in 2023-24, 2024-25, and 2025-26.
  • All no-trade and no-move clauses will travel with players to their new teams if they are dealt, even if the clause hasn't kicked in yet.

Earlier this week, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported Toronto and Edmonton will be used as the two hub cities "barring any last-minute complications."

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