NHL Rumors: Will we see more regular season games and latest on Matt Dumba

Today’s NHL Rumors reacts to a new interview by ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski with new NHLPA head Marty Walsh. While the wide-ranging conversation touches on many topics including the upcoming 2026 Winter Olympics and CBA, we focus on the potential expansion of regular season games from 82 to 84 contests.

Should the NHL and NHLPA do it?

NHL Rumors: More Regular Season Games

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Pittsburgh Penguins
Feb 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) skate up ice during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

On February 16, the NHLPA officially named former Labor Secretary Marty Walsh the new Executive Director.

Walsh, 55, succeeded Donald Fehr after an extensive search by the NHLPA’s search committee. The former mayor of Boston will set his base of operations in that city.

“Marty is a proven leader with a strong union background,” Sabres captain Kyle Okposo said. “His energy and ability to connect with players were immediately evident to the search committee.  These were the very qualities we were focused on throughout our search for the next Executive Director.  We look forward to the NHLPA’s future under Marty’s leadership.”

As Walsh and the NHLPA prepare for the next CBA negotiation once the current deal expires on September 16, 2026, there will be plenty of issues they’ll need to address. Participation in the next Olympics is front and center but so is talk of a different type of expansion.

Chatter around the NHL lately is about potentially increasing the number of playoff teams that get in to the dance. Commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly stated that he isn’t in favor of increasing the number of playoff teams with a play-in round. However, he noted that adding two more games to the regular season was discussed at the executive level.

The league actually had an 84 game schedule for two seasons (1992/93 and 1993/94) to accommodate two games by each team in a non-NHL city. That ended after the 1995 lockout and new CBA reducing it to 82 games. Previously, the league was playing an 80 game schedule since 1974-75.

So is an increase in games to the regular season coming? That remains to be seen.

“Any conversations about rule changes, league changes or the game changes, those are things that I would have a long conversation with players about first,” Walsh said. “I’m certainly not in a position to recommend changes on how we do things in the National Hockey League without having support of the players I represent.”


NHL should increase the regular season

While conversations are expected to take place regarding an 84 game schedule, I believe both sides should absolutely agree to getting it done.

Of course, there has to be a give and take which should start with the reduction of meaningless exhibition games. From there, the players must benefit from the overall increase in revenue and see significant increases to the salary cap ceiling.

At the end of the day, an 84 game schedule works for both sides and is a no-brainer change from my perspective.

NHL Rumors: Dallas Stars interested in Matt Dumba

One of the top remaining UFAs on the market is defenseman Matt Dumba.

The 29 year-old registered 14 points in 79 games for the Minnesota Wild last season. A tough and gritty blue-liner, he would be an excellent addition for many teams.

According to TFP’s David Pagnotta, the Dallas Stars are possibly interested in signing him.

“The Dallas Stars are one of the teams that would love to add Dumba,” he writes. “But they need to clear out money and there’s some chatter Mason Marchment might be in play. He has a 10-team no-trade list and three-years left on his contract.”

Another possibility are the Tampa Bay Lightning.