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NHL, NHLPA have tentative agreement on CBA extension, return-to-play plan

This means there won’t be an NHL work stoppage for 14 years!

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association have tentative agreements in place to extend the CBA through 2025-26, and resuming the 2019-20 season. The good news for Anaheim Ducks fans is that this means the NHL will go without a work stoppage for at least 14 seasons.

Both are pending ratification from the NHL Board of Governors and NHLPA. With the 2004-05 season completely wiped out, and 2012-13 shortened to 48 games, it’s a good sign that the league won’t have any labor disruptions for an extended period.

Under the new deal, players are expected to sign-off on a deferral of 10% of next season’s salary, with another 20% going to the cap escrow. The upper limit of the salary cap will be held flat at $81.5-million.

Of course the flat cap is a result of the economic fallout of the pandemic. The NHL has been shutdown for nearly four months now, decimating its bottom line. This hurts the Ducks as the projected salary cap for the 2020-21 season was originally in the $86 million range. Even though Anaheim isn’t expected to shell out big bucks in free agency, it limits the organization’s options to round out the roster.

Although it doesn’t impact the Ducks —as they aren’t one of the 24 teams in the league’s return-to-play plan— the NHL and players union also took a big step in resuming the 2019-season.

Under the current format, teams will begin training camp on July 13, with each squad expected to land in its hub city on July 26. The league would then restart with the play-in round on Aug. 1.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman says the Western Conference teams will be in Edmonton, while the Eastern Conference squads will be playing in Toronto.

Setting up in Canada is the right choice. With coronavirus cases spiking across the country, it was difficult to peg a U.S. city as a potential hub.

I am optimistic the NHL could pull this off without a hitch. With vigorous testing, and strict guidelines in place, the league should be able to keep things controlled in their hubs.

As part of the agreement, players can opt out of playing without consequence, and we should know by the end of the week which ones will sit out the return-to-play plan.

How confident are you that the NHL will be able to finish the 2019-20 season?