The NHL and NHL Players' Association have officially agreed on a 56-game schedule for the 2020-21 season beginning Jan. 13, the two sides announced in a joint statement Sunday.
The regular season will conclude on May 8, with the Stanley Cup Playoffs wrapping up in mid-July. The goal is to return to a normal schedule for the 2021-22 season, which would begin in October.
The NHL and NHLPA are expected to release the health and safety protocols, transition rules and critical dates calendar, along with the 2020-21 schedule in the next few days. The current plan is to play games this season in each team's home arenas, but the league is prepared to play games in neutral sites if necessary.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs will feature 16 teams in a traditional best-of-seven, four-round format. The top four teams in each division will qualify for the postseason, with intradivisional play in the first two rounds (No. 1 vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3).
Here's a look at the realigned divisions for the 2020-21 season:
- North: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg
- West: Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota, San Jose, St. Louis, Vegas
- Central: Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Nashville, Tampa Bay
- East: Boston, Buffalo, New Jersey, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington
The Blackhawks will open training camp on Jan. 3. There will be no preseason games.