Believe it or not, Training Camp starts on Monday, July 13th! 24 teams, including the Colorado Avalanche, will be out on their home rinks to get their bodies and brains sharp ahead of the 2019-20 Playoffs that begin on August 1st in Edmonton and Toronto. This is all possible because the NHL and NHLPA have agreed to a Return to Play Protocol (RTP) and an extension to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
These next two weeks are going to be exciting, but also tentative. Each team is going to have to spend two weeks going to work from their homes and the potential for COVID-19 infecting teams is high. No one’s in a bubble and the precautions that have been set during Phase 3 aren’t perfect, they’re only able to minimize risk. Keeping players and staff healthy will be a task that could go sideways very quickly.
Bill Daly says an "outbreak situation" could cause the NHL restart to be shut down and adds "there's no hard and fast numbers on that."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 11, 2020
Training Camp begins on July 13th, and the Stanley Cup will hopefully be awarded around October 4th. The NHL’s wording makes it sound like they’ve set October 4th in stone and they don’t plan on having any delays to the playoffs due to any outbreaks. From there, it’s the NHL Draft on October 8th and 9th, then Free Agency (TBD), then a quick “offseason” break and the 2020-21 season should start on December 1st, 2020.
In terms of the playoffs, here’s what the Colorado Avalanche schedule will look like. I wrote about the specifics of each round, including seeding, series lengths, and possible examples.
Top-Four Round Robin
Each of the Round Robin games will be the second of three games on each day in each city. The Round Robin games will not have continuous overtime, but instead a 3v3 overtime and shootout in order to keep from nightly delays. The Qualifying Round will have full continuous overtime, so they’ll need as much time as they can get to go long. The league is only using one rink in each city so games can’t overlap.
The Qualifying Round should conclude on August 9th.
Here's how a typical schedule of games will look in the NHL restart (all times ET): 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 10, 2020
The first round will begin on August 11th and will definitely include the Avs. They will have home-ice through their seven game series with whoever lines up with them. If the Avalanche sweep the Round Robin, they’ll steal home ice throughout the Conference playoffs from the Blues and play the lowest seed out of the Qualifying Round.
The first round will run for 14 days, starting on August 11th and ending on August 24th.
The second round will run for 14 days, starting on August 25th and ending on September 7th.
The third round will run for 14 days, starting on September 8th and ending on September 21st.
The Stanley Cup Final will be in Edmonton, so if the Avalanche make it there, they won’t have to leave their hotel. The fourth round will run for 13 days, starting on September 22nd and Game 7 will be on October 4th.
The Avalanche will be living in the same building as the Blues, Golden Knights, Stars, Edmonton Oilers, and Nashville Predators until only one remains. There’s the possibility all six make it through the Qualifying Round, meaning Edmonton and Nashville could be bunking with their series rivals. Considering how macho the Western Conference likes to pretend to be, this could get wild.
Here are the NHL's official hotel assignments for teams in Edmonton and Toronto: pic.twitter.com/UKz1xKejzd— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 11, 2020
The Avs Roster
A lot of people have been doing some informal consolidating of what the Avalanche roster will look like heading into Training Camp and into the Bubbles. The rules for roster lengths is the following:
Training Camp: 30 skaters, unlimited goalies
Bubble Playoffs: 28 skaters, unlimited goalies
Evan Rawal has come up with a list of 28 skaters (17 forwards, 11 defensemen) and four goalies currently in Colorado and skating with the team. The Avalanche should announce their official rosters on Sunday or Monday morning, but this is what we know so far. Here’s the roster by position, what’s your guess on the lines?
Forwards: Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, Vladislav Namestnikov, Joonas Donskoi, JT Compher, Valeri Nichushkin, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Matt Calvert, Matt Nieto, Tyson Jost, Vladislav Kamenev, Logan O’Connor, Shane Bowers, TJ Tynan
Defense: Erik Johnson, Cale Makar, Ryan Graves, Samuel Girard, Nikita Zadorov, Ian Cole, Mark Barberio, Anton Lindholm, Conor Timmins, Bowen Byram, Jacob MacDonald
Goalies: Philipp Grubauer, Pavel Francouz, Hunter Miska, Adam Werner, Michael Hutchinson
F: MacK, Landy, Mikko, Kadri, Burky, Namestnikov, Donskoi, JTC, Nuke, PEB, Calvert, Nieto, Jost, Kamenev, LOC, Bowers, Tynan— Evan Rawal (@evanrawal) July 10, 2020
D: EJ, Makar, Graves, Girard, Z, Cole, Barbs, Lindholm, Timmins, Byram, MacDonald
G: Grub, Frank, Miska, Werner, Hutch
That’s my head count from photos
Now, we don’t know of any players who will want to opt out from the playoffs. Roman Polak, Travis Hamonic, and Sven Baertschi have all stated their intention to not participate in the Bubble playoffs. This is a difficult and dangerous time, I hope fans of all teams support players who make this decision and no shaming, criticism, or mockery results.
In terms of all the legal stuff, our friends over at Pension Plan Puppets have some well written articles on what is happening with regards to the financing and the rules of the CBA.