The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association announced the format and timing of their pandemic-delayed 2021 season on Sunday.
NHL, NHLPA announce plans for 2020-21 regular season and playoffs ➡️ https://t.co/8Ah3WKwvZa pic.twitter.com/l295cVayj8
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) December 20, 2020
The season will begin on January 13 and end on May 8. Between those dates, each team will play a 56-game schedule made up entirely of matchups with divisional opponents. Additionally, to accommodate issues with cross-border travel, the league’s seven Canadian teams will be placed into the temporary “North Division” while the American teams are split across the East, Central, and West Divisions.
The Red Wings will be in the Central Division, alongside the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Current plans include teams playing in their home arenas, though some level of flexibility is expected to be necessary.
Training camps will begin league-wide on January 3 but the seven teams who did not participate in the Toronto and Edmonton bubbled to close out the 2019-20 season – including Detroit – will begin on December 31.
Other expected milestone dates include the Trade Deadline on April 12, the Expansion Draft on July 21, the Entry Draft on July 23-24, and the opening of Free Agency on July 28.
The start to the 2021-22 season would be at the league’s traditional time in early October.