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New NHL critical dates calendar means an October Free Agent Frenzy

The format may be a little different, but the quest for the Stanley Cup remains the same as the stage is set for the NHL to make its return.

The 2019-20 NHL season will resume in August and means that some important dates on the league calendar have been adjusted.

After league and NHLPA agreed to extend the contract expiration date for players set for free agency, the rest of the off-season schedule has fallen into line.

First things first. Training camps will open Monday, July 13. The Stanley Cup Qualifiers will begin August 1 in the hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto. The Stanley Cup will be awarded in late September/early October.

Alexis Lafreniere will know where he’s heading by mid-August, and it will be made official in early October.

July 13: Training camps open (Phase 3) and 5 p.m. ET deadline for players to opt out
July 26: Teams report to their hub city
July 28-30: Exhibition games
Aug 1: Stanley Cup Qualifiers begin (Phase 4)
Aug 10: Phase 2 of NHL Draft Lottery to determine No. 1 overall pick
Aug 11: First Round begins
Aug 25: Second Round begins
Sept. 8: Conference Finals begin
Sept. 22: Stanley Cup Final begins
Oct 4: Last possible date for Stanley Cup to be awarded
Oct. 6-7: 2020 NHL Draft
Oct. 9: free agent period opens
Nov. 17: Training camps open for 2020-21 season
Dec. 1: 2020-21 NHL season begins

All of dates listed are, of course, tentative.


As for the 2019-20 NHL Awards, the league will begin announcing finalists next week.

• Tuesday, July 14: Ted Lindsay Award
• Wednesday, July 15: Jack Adams Award, Calder Trophy
• Thursday, July 16: Lady Byng Trophy, Masterton Trophy
• Friday, July 17: Willie O’Ree Award, Vezina Trophy
• Monday, July 20: Norris Trophy, Selke Trophy
• Tuesday, July 21: Hart Trophy

Plans are for the league to announce winners during the conference finals.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.