The 2021 NHL season is ultimately here but this year’s style looks a tiny bit various as each of the league’s 31 groups will beat a condensed, 56-game schedule (868 complete regular season games) completing in 4 realigned divisions as part of the NHL’s initiative to border travel during the pandemic.

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See below for all you must know around the 2021 NHL season, consisting of the format, key dates, and also more. Click right here for the 2020-2021 NHL ~ above NBC continuous season schedule.

What walk the department realignment watch like?

The North department will consist of of just Canadian teams as result of the border closure in between the unified States and also Canada together a an outcome of the continuous COVID-19 pandemic. Every team in the East, main and West departments will beat every other team in its department 8 times while each team in the North department will play every other team in its division 9 or 10 times.

North: Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and also the Winnipeg Jets.

West: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, LA Kings, Minnesota Wild, mountain Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, and also the Vegas gold Knights.

Central: Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and the Tampa only Lightning.

East: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, brand-new Jersey Devils, brand-new York Islanders, new York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and also the Washington Capitals.

What rather is new this season?

Off the ice, the NHL is prepare for feasible COVID-19 outbreaks v taxi squads. Teams can have a taxi squad of 4-6 players that will have the ability to practice and travel with the team. For groups with fewer than 3 goalies top top their active roster, 1 goalie will certainly be forced on its taxi squad.

On the ice, the NHL has made a change to the offsides rule. Starting this season, a player’s skate will not need to be in call with the blue heat in stimulate to be on-side. The updated language for NHL dominion 83.1 follows: A player is on-side as soon as either that his skates are in contact with the blue line, or ~ above his very own side of the line, at the immediate the puck completely crosses the leading edge that the blue line. ~ above his very own side of the heat shall be defined by a “plane” that the blue heat which shall prolong from the leading edge the the blue line upwards. If a player’s skate has yet to break the “plane” before the puck cross the leading edge, that is understood to it is in on-side for the objective of the off-side rule.

When space the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs and also what will the format look like?

The Stanley Cup Playoffs will feature a 16-team, best-of-seven, four-round playoff format beginning on Tuesday, May 11. The top 4 teams in each department will qualify because that the Playoffs, through intradivisional beat in the first two ring (#1 vs. #4; #2 vs. #3). The 4 teams that advance to the Semifinal Round would be seeded by their regular-season points total, v the No. 1 seed playing the No. 4 seeds in one collection and the No. 2 and also No. 3 seeds meeting in the other.

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What space the key dates to know?

*Subject to change

Jan. 13 – begin of consistent seasonApr. 12 – profession deadline (3pm ET)May 8* – last day of consistent seasonJuly 9* – Last possible day of Stanley Cup FinalJuly 21 – Seattle Kraken expansion draftJuly 23-24 – NHL DraftJuly 28 – totally free agent signing duration begins

Be sure to inspect out ProHockeyTalk for more on the 2021 NHL season including video game previews, recaps, news, rumors and also more. Click below for the 2020-2021 NHL top top NBC consistent season schedule.