Montreal Canadiens: NHL Going To Shoehorn Offseason To Get To 2020-21 Season

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 27: Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 27: Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens aren’t likely to go on a long playoff run, but if they do their offseason will be over in a flash.

The Montreal Canadiens have a chance to take out the Pittsburgh Penguins in a best-of-5 series and qualify for the postseason as the league’s 24th seeded team. Beating the Pens is unlikely, and far more remote is their chance of going on a deep playoff run that includes games in the Stanley Cup Final.

However, if Carey Price dials the clock back to 2015 and plays like a Hart Trophy winner, you never know. Whoever ends up playing in the Stanley Cup Final is going to have a quick turnaround to sort out their offseason plans.

Even if the Habs lose in the play-in series, once the playoffs are over, it will be time for an offseason in fast forward.

Details continue to trickle out from the league and the players about what us fans can expect to see in the coming months. Yesterday, Frank Seravalli of TSN took his turn at firing out some new information into the twitterverse. This included some key dates about the return to play, which most fans already heard, but also several key dates about the offseason.

While this season has been like no other, the offseason will just continue the trend of 2020 in which everything is unpredictable.

A lot of these dates had been sent out already and Seravalli reminded readers several times that everything is tentative and subject to change at a moment’s notice. For example, the start date of qualification round has already been rumoured to be moved to August 1.

This tweet doesn’t include anything about the offseason, except for the fact the last day a game could be played is October 2, meaning that would be the start of the offseason.

So basically the league wants to run the free agent frenzy just seven days after handing out the Stanley Cup. Oh, and in between those two dates they would like to have the NHL Draft. To put into perspective, two years ago the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup on June 7. That gave the league 24 days to get from the Stanley Cup presentation to free agency.

That is just enough time to hand out NHL Awards and host an NHL Draft and give players and agents some time to fly into various cities to check out potential destinations for their players.

Imagine being a player that is going to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason like Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins or Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues. You go through a global pandemic, then are in a bubble for a couple months while your team goes to the Stanley Cup Final.

Then, just seven days after winning the Stanley Cup, or losing in the final, you have to decide where you want to spend the next six or seven years of your life. You can’t even visit ahead of time, because you have been in a hotel in Edmonton for the past ten weeks and aren’t allowed to travel without quarantining and you probably want to go home and see members of your family that you haven’t seen in months.

Then, about five weeks later you are off to training camp with your new team. Less than two months after winning the Stanley Cup you are playing the regular season opener for a new team.

That is a might quick turnaround for any individual. Yes, they get paid lots of money, and I understand it can be difficult to find sympathy for professional athletes when much of the world is in a financial crisis. However, it won’t be easy for them to be secluded from family for months and then immediately have to make one of the biggest decisions of their life.

If the Stanley Cup Final goes the distance, there will be about six weeks off for players between the end of the 2020 playoffs and the start of 2020-21 training camp. Normally, it is closer to 12 weeks, starting sometime in the middle of June and ending when teams report to camp on September 15.

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It will be fun as a fan to have hockey back this summer and fall. Though it may be a stressful offseason for those running the NHL and its free agents, the quick chaos of the Stanley Cup presentation, NHL Draft and Free Agent Frenzy happening in seven days will make for a wild offseason for fans as well.