Nashville Predators: Vote For Next Season Looms

Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

On Friday, the NHL and the NHLPA took significant steps toward a January 13 start date for next season. We could be watching Nashville Predators hockey in less than a month.

After months of negotiations and planning, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for fans who are eagerly awaiting the 2020-21 season start. This is great news for Nashville Predators fans who are anticipating the return of Smashville.

On Friday, TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that the NHL and NHLPA had agreed on a January 13 start date for a 56 game season. However, the proposed dates or other components of this agreement could change.

The next step will be a vote by both sides, which could come very soon. As of now, the training camp for the seven teams that didn’t make the playoffs could begin on December 31, with the rest of the league starting on January 3.

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Now that the two sides have agreed in principle, several lingering questions remain.

One of the biggest questions revolves around the proposed, albeit temporary, realignment of the divisions.

This realignment would rearrange the divisions so that less travel time would be required. Teams would play the majority of the season’s games against teams in their division.

A significant factor in this decision would be the creation of an all Canadian division. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases may require another bubble situation for the seven teams or moving all of the Canadian teams to the United States for the entire season.

If the Canadian teams can play in their country, division realignment is an obvious must. If they are moved to the U.S., alignment could take on a whole new look.

It was also reported that the playoffs would take on a whole new look in this strange season. The top four teams from each division would go to the playoffs, giving each division a shot at crowning the Stanley Cup champion.

Other items listed by Seravalli include:

  • Opt-out clause for players that may be high risk or that have family members who are
  • Roster sizes
  • Creation of taxi squads that would travel with the teams

Initially, it appeared that the season was in jeopardy due to financial concerns between the NHL and its players. After both sides put those issues to rest, they were able to start working on all of the necessary details to get the season going.

The recent progress made by both sides is huge news for hockey fans. The creation of this upcoming season and playoffs not only give fans what they are so desperately missing, but it will also get the league back on their regular timeline for the 2021-22 season.

For Predators fans, this news means that we will finally see the revamped team that General Manager David Poile has assembled.

Months of speculation on how the Predators will perform will finally be laid to rest when they take the ice on January 13.

As a team with several new players, the Predators will need to quickly adjust to one another and play every game like it is their last if they hope to be one of the top four teams in their division.

A lot is riding on this season for the Predators. If they have a similar season to last year, a total rebuild could be in their future.

For now, we can put the team’s past troubles behind and revel in the fact that Nashville Predators hockey is on the very near horizon.

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