The NHL and NHLPA ratified an extension of the collective bargaining agreement and return-to-play protocols Friday.
"Today, the NHL and the NHLPA announced a significant agreement that addresses the uncertainty everyone is dealing with, the framework for the completion of the 2019-20 season, and the foundation for the continued long-term growth of our league," commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
The CBA extension runs through September 2026, and the agreement officially paves the way for the league to proceed with the 24-team playoff tournament hosted in Toronto and Edmonton this summer. Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto, and the Western Conference will congregate in Edmonton.
Here's a look at the key dates of the plan:
|July 13||Training camps open|
|July 26||Teams arrive in hub cities|
|Aug. 1||Qualifiers begin|
|Aug. 10*||Phase 2 of draft lottery|
|Aug. 11||1st round of playoffs|
|Aug. 25*||2nd round of playoffs|
|Sept. 8*||Conference finals|
|Sept. 22*||Stanley Cup Final begins|
|Oct. 4*||Last possible date for playoffs|
|Oct. 9-10*||NHL draft|
* Tentative date
The NHLPA voted 79% in favor of the new agreement, reports TSN's Frank Seravalli.
Under revamped terms of the CBA, players will defer 10% of next year's salary, and the salary cap will remain stagnant at $81.5 million, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.
Players have until 5 p.m. ET on Monday to opt out of the return to play, Johnston reports. They don't have to provide a reason, and those who opt out won't be penalized as long as they inform their teams by the deadline.
Despite the safety protocols and the guarantee of labor peace, COVID-19 outbreaks could still jeopardize the league's playoff plans. Between June 8 and July 6, 35 NHLers tested positive.