The layout of the 2020-21 NHL season is finally coming into focus.
The league and NHLPA reportedly had a "tentative agreement" on a 56-game season Friday night, with training camps to begin in late December/early January and the first regular season games scheduled for Jan. 13.
TSN's Pierre LeBrun has reported the key dates for the other notable events during the 2020-21 campaign, including the trade deadline, the 2021 NHL Draft and the expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken.
Here's a list of those dates, per LeBrun:
Puck drop: Jan. 13
NHL trade deadline: April 12
End of regular season: May 8
2021 NHL expansion draft: July 21
2021 NHL draft: July 23-24
2021 free agency: July 28
The Boston Bruins enter the upcoming season as one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, but a mid-January start date could force them to begin the season without their top two scorers from last year in first-line wingers David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand.
Both of these players underwent offseason procedures, with Marchand expected to make a mid-January return and Pastrnak expected to be ready in mid-February.
The Bruins also will be in a different division than normal. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the league to group all the Canadian teams together in one division for this season because of travel restrictions. The B's, as a result, will be in an eight-team division with some familiar rivals.
It's going to be a weird season for a lot of reasons, and there could be a few hiccups along the way, but it's great to see hockey coming back soon. The wait for a new season is almost over.