The NHL and the NHL Player’s Association gave official confirmation yesterday they will return this summer to complete the 2019-20 season with the Stanley Cup Playoffs happening in Toronto and Edmonton. That means the Maple Leafs are back! Or they will be, playing their first official game on Sunday August 2 against the Blue Jackets.
We expect the Leafs to announce their roster today, but they may hold out a bit if they are waiting on confirmations about any players choosing to opt-out.
The long announcement also included the release of the final version of the Memorandum of Understanding which details the extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, with modifications, to carry through to the end of the 2024-25 season. There is a lot to digest in the dense and jargon filled 70-plus page document, and I don’t think anyone has all of the minor details compiled yet, but we have some highlights and facts published in our recent coverage here.
In the meantime, get ready for some hockey (in four weeks)!
Speaking of opting-out, we will be hearing about all the players who will do that soon. They have to formally notify their teams by 5:00 p.m. on Monday. Some already have.
Earlier this evening Travis [Hamonic] called me to inform us that he has decided to opt out of the NHL Return to Play Program. Travis explained that due to family considerations, he has made the difficult decision not to participate in the Stanley Cup Qualifier and Playoffs.
You can expect most statements to be like that; brief, and with corporate-speak about having “mixed-emotions,” and “difficult decisions,” even if it was actually an easy decision for that player.
I expect a flood of news to come out in the next week, though perhaps it will be more like an avalanche of pebbles; little details and individual items on players will drip out every few hours while the teams gear up to start training camps and the media picks apart the new CBA line by line. In the meantime enjoy the final hockey-free weekends of the summer because once this gets going, the schedule will be packed full of NHL games all day every day.