1. Training camps are set to open en masse on Jan. 3, with Dec. 31 the date for the seven teams that did not qualify for the 2020 Stanley Cup tournament. The season opener is scheduled for Jan. 13.
But those dates are subject to modification, if the NHL’s talks with Canadian provincial health agencies do not yield an agreement under which the seven clubs north of the border would be able to play the season out of their home cities. Talks continued Saturday.
If the league is required to move the seven teams into a hub in Edmonton for at least the first weeks of the 56-game schedule, or relocate the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Senators, Jets, Flames, Oilers and Canucks to sites in the United States, the starting dates likely would be pushed back.
The league has scheduled a Board of Governors meeting for Sunday afternoon.
2. Details of transition rules will be spelled out to NHL general managers on another conference call Sunday. But the intention is for clubs to carry taxi squads of four to six players, who would practice and travel with the varsity and, thus, would be subject to the same COVID-19-related protocols as the athletes on the roster.
Clubs, presumably, would be limited to promoting players to the NHL off the taxi squad, though the method for changing the taxi squad makeup through the year is unknown. It is also unknown whether clubs have the leeway to carry between four and six players on the taxi squad or whether the number will be fixed at four, five or six players. Players on the taxi squad will receive their full AHL salary.
3. The Post has confirmed that Yegor Rykov, in addition to Vitali Kravtsov, is committed to remaining in Russia for the entirety of the KHL season.
We have also confirmed that Tarmo Reunanen, the 22-year-old defenseman who has been playing in Finland, will be joining the Blueshirts for training camp.
4. The Rangers line up with Ryan Lindgren, Brendan Smith and Jack Johnson on the left side of the blue line. (Ouch.)
Reunanen, K’Andre Miller and Libor Hajek, who has been playing in the Czech Republic, will vie for spots. So too will 30-year-old free agent signee Anthony Bitetto, who played 51 games last year with the Jets.
Up front, figure 10 locks: Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich, Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, Brendan Lemieux and Julien Gauthier.
That leaves Brett Howden, Morgan Barron, Kevin Rooney, Phil DiGiuseppe, Colin Blackwell, Tim Gettinger, Justin Richards, Austin Rueschhoff and Patrick Khodorenko, who should compete for spots on the varsity and taxi squad.
Keith Kinkaid would all but surely be the taxi-squad goaltender. The Rangers will want 22-year-old Tyler Wall, who signed out of Massachusetts-Lowell in May, to get games.
5. Question: Factoring in that the AHL is, (A) not scheduled to open its season until at least Feb. 5, and (B) NHL taxi squads will include four to six players who would normally be the top players in the league, will there be debates about whether a young player’s development would be best served by practicing or by playing games in a diluted AHL?
If recalls are restricted to those on the taxi squad, that obviously becomes a significant element in the decision-making process.
6. It is unclear whether the NHL is instituting a COVID-19 restricted list, apart from regular injured reserve, what regulations would govern it and how it would affect the cap. Would a virus-related recall be calculated differently under the cap than a normal-course recall?
7. Players have the opportunity to opt out of the season, with their contracts tolled (rolling over) for the year.
Players are deferring 10 percent of their pay this season, with escrow set at 20 percent. Next season, there is no deferral, with an anticipated 18 percent escrow hit. In 2022-23, escrow is reduced to 10 percent. It decreases to six percent thereafter (without deferral) for the final three seasons of the collective bargaining agreement.
Players opting out for non-medical reasons, or choosing to do so, “voluntarily,” as per the pending agreement, must notify their teams no later than seven days before the opening of their team’s camp. That’s a Dec. 24 deadline for the 2020 non-tournament teams and Dec. 27 for players on the remaining 24 clubs.
Might a player opt out for financial reasons so he takes home significantly more on the next year or two of his deal? Mets right-hander Marcus Stroman opted out of 2020 once he accrued enough service time to become eligible for free agency following the season. Stroman remained with the Mets, signing the club’s $18.9 million qualifying offer.
Is there a Stroman-esque player in the NHL?
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