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Key dates for the 2021-22 NHL season

Regular season, trade deadline, playoffs, draft, and free agency.

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON - MAY 8: Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Auston Matthews #34 skate over the logo at centre ice at an NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at the Scotiabank Arena on May 8, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

The 2021-22 regular season will begin on October 12th, with the Toronto Maple Leafs playing their first game against the Montreal Canadiens on the 13th, a Wednesday.

The 2022 Winter Olympics will be held from February 4th to 20th, with the NHL taking February 3rd to 22nd off so players can go compete for their countries after reaching an agreement with the NHLPA, IOC, and IIHF.

From there, we didn’t have a good idea what the key dates for the rest of the NHL season was going to be. Now we know.

NHL Trade Deadline is March 21st, 2022.

The NHL Playoffs will begin on May 2nd, 2022 and will end on or before June 30th, 2022.

The 2022 NHL Draft will be held on July 7th and 8th, in Montreal.

NHL Free Agency will open on July 13th.

If you count the days, the NHL regular season is active for 200 days (Olympic break is counted), meaning NHL salaries will be paid daily as a fraction of that. This is important for tween players who get a limited number of days on NHL salary a year, but also for counting the accrued cap space that can be used at the Trade Deadline, each day of salary or cap space is going to be worth less than last year.

Normally, NHL contracts turn over to the next year on July 1st, as do their signing bonuses. With those once again happening before the first buyout window and NHL Draft, it opens up the opportunity for teams to pay out big signing bonuses and make trades (or contract terminations) more lucrative for them.

Completely unrelated, here are some signing bonuses that are going to get handed out next summer:

  • Mitch Marner: $7.25 million ($16.8 million left over three years)
  • Auston Matthews: $7.2 million ($8.725 million left over two years)
  • John Tavares: $7.04 million ($16.81 million left over three years)

If this season goes like last, the NHL Draft in Montreal is probably going to be a heck of a day.