Report: Good sign as NHL presents NHLPA with a 56 game schedule and mid-January start date

2021 NHL schedule
Dallas Stars advance (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

TSN’s Frank Seravalli is reporting early this morning that the NHL shared a 56 game schedule with the NHLPA. This was also proposed with a January 1 start date in mind but the discussions concluded with a push to begin on January 15 or 16.

NHL 56 game schedule a positive sign

“This is one of the most positive signs yet that there will be a 2021 season,” Seravalli said. It would be hard for anyone not to concur. While a 56 game schedule starting after January 1st is walking the proverbial tightrope it is very feasible to get in before the mid-July end date.

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Economic issues still loom

nhl 2021 schedule
Rogers Place RTP (Getty Images)

The NHL and NHLPA have to address some genuine concerns. Regardless of the semantics if this is a renegotiation of the CBA signed four months ago or not, the two sides have to deal with the issues as presented by Gary Bettman recently.

“Under our [collective bargaining] deal, and the one we’ve had for more than a decade with the players’ association, whatever the revenues are the players only get 50 per cent,” said Bettman. “And if we overpay them and they don’t pay us back in the short term, they have to pay us back over time. There will be stresses on the system and we’ve had discussions about what those stresses are and how they might be dealt with, but we’re not trying to say ‘You must do X, Y and Z.’ We’re trying to look for ways to continue to work together.

Gary Bettman via Sportsnet

What Bettman appears to be trying to do is head off a future issue that will cause even more consternation down the road. “If the players owe us more money than anybody imagined, the salary cap could well be flat or close to flat for the next five or six years and players into the future will be repaying what we’re owed.”

A flat cap at around $81.5 million for the next 6-7 years will have a major impact on all teams. Furthermore, it will hurt all players looking for new contracts in the near future.

If you think this past offseason was a let down, imagine what that will look like 5 years from now.