Photo provided by NHL.com
The NHL will feature new divisions for the 2020-21 regular season. It will include 56 games, starting on Jan. 13.
Teams will only play other clubs in their division during the regular season. This will help with COVID-19 protocols. Last season, the NHL completed 33,174 COVID-19 tests in those two hub cities (Edmonton and Toronto) and had zero positive cases — the only professional league without one positive test during the relaunch of the season.
“The National Hockey League looks forward to the opening of our 2020-21 season, especially since the return to play in 2019-20 was so successful in crowning a Stanley Cup champion,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a release from the league. “While we are well aware of the challenges ahead, as was the case last spring and summer, we are continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our participants and the communities in which we live and play.”
“The players are pleased to have finalized agreements for the upcoming season, which will be unique but also very exciting for the fans and players alike,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA executive director in the release from the NHL. “During these troubled times, we hope that NHL games will provide fans with some much needed entertainment as the players return to the ice.”
Realigned divisions can be seen below:
Toronto Maple Leafs
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit Red Wings
Tampa Bay Lightning
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues
Vegas Golden Knights
The playoffs will begin after the season ends on May 8.
During the postseason, the top four teams from each division will make the playoffs and the four teams that advance to the semifinal rounds would be seeded by their regular season points total, with the No. 1 seed playing the No. 4 seed in one series and the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds meeting in the other.
The NHL will release a schedule in the coming days.