NHL News: Where we stand with the 2021 season, realignment, expanded rosters, and more

Gary Bettman talks realignment (Getty Images)

The ball continues to roll on towards an announcement for the 2021 NHL season. One of the particulars being worked out is realignment, as Gary Bettman recently reiterated will likely happen this season.

NHL 2021 season: Canadian Division

nhl 2021 start date
Scotia Bank, Toronto (Getty Images)

“If everything stays the way it is, we’re probably going to have to have a Canadian division and realign in the U.S.,” Bettman said on The Maccabi USA Sports Show. “We’re trying to focus on dealing with all of those challenges.”

The U.S. realignments would see a configuration based primarily on geography as the Boston Bruins would slide into a more Northeast Division with the likes of the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. Other moves would have the Pittsburgh Penguins move towards a Central Division with teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks.

Expanding rosters and more

Also coming out of late yesterday reporting are the following items:

  • 56 game schedule
  • Estimated 1/13 start
  • Expanding rosters from 23-26 (no insight as to cap implications yet)
  • Taxi Squads (players on AHL salary receiving NHL benefits)
  • Teams to begin COVID-19 testing on 12/26
  • Training camp start dates estimated at 1/3

Another important side note is the AHL will also look to resume operations on 2/5.

Vegas Golden Knights owner thinks start date may slide

Bill Foley, the owner of the Vegas Golden Knights is certain a season will start, but wasn’t as sure about a mid-January start.

“It may not start Jan. 15, it may slide a week or two, but we will be playing hockey and we’ll be at T-Mobile,” Foley said on Fox Business. “But, unfortunately, we may not have fans, which is really sad, especially for our team because we intend on winning the Stanley Cup this year.”

Let’s hope for the sake of hockey fans all over the globe, Mr. Foley is wrong. Or at least off by 10-14 days.

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