The Arizona Coyotes will face the Nashville Predators in Game One of the play-ins on August 2nd after the NHL’s return-to-play plan was ratified this week.
The NHL and NHLPA have officially agreed to and ratified a new Collective Bargaining Agreement along with the plan for the league to return to play this August.
Despite being common knowledge for some time now, the Canadian cities of Toronto and Edmonton have officially been confirmed as the two hub destinations for the East and West conferences respectively once play does resume.
The Coyotes, being in the West, will take on the Predators in Edmonton on the second day of the play-ins. Games Two and Three will take place on August 4th and 5th respectively.
Should the series remain open after three games, the two sides will face each other on August 7th, and should a full five-game series be required then the final play-in matchup will go ahead on August 9th.
IT'S ALL HAPPENING.— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) July 11, 2020
Details: https://t.co/wd6IUYITbB. pic.twitter.com/FUdmLG8WQX
As the Coyotes are the 11th seed in the conference, with Nashville being the sixth seed, they will be classed as the ‘road’ team for Games One, Two, and Five.
This means that fans will only see the popular Kachina jerseys in games where they are designated the ‘home’ team, Games Three and Four.
On August 10th, with all play-in series decided, the second round of the NHL’s draft lottery will take place, with eight teams holding a 12.5% chance at landing this year’s consensus first-overall pick: Alexis Lafreniere.
For the Arizona Coyotes, this series will give the team a chance to gain valuable post-season experience, with a decent run in the playoffs very much a reality should the team remain healthy and get back to the form they showed prior to Christmas.
Not only will it be knockout hockey with very consequences for poor performances, but it could be a chance for the team to persuade Taylor Hall to stick around in the long-term, showing that the desert is the best place for him to compete for the playoffs moving forward - something he has only experienced once before in his career.
According to the team, a full training camp will get underway from Monday (13th July) and a full roster will be announced this weekend, with the likes of Victor Soderstrom and Kyle Capobianco expected to be involved ahead of the team’s journey to Edmonton.
Additionally, the news that the NHL and NHLPA were able to come to a CBA extension agreement without the need for a stoppage in play has been widely praised and the good people at Canes Country have taken a deeper look into the newest additions/alterations to the deal.
One of the most notable includes the removal of the ‘legal tampering’ period prior to the July 1st opening of Free Agency.
Though the start of Free Agency remains, teams will now have to scramble on that first day to get their pitches and offers in rather than having agreements in place in advance.
Another interesting alteration is the removal of a specific condition on trades involving draft picks.
When a player is traded for a pick, teams can no longer place the condition relating to that player re-signing with the team, such as the deal that allowed the Coyotes to land Taylor Hall earlier this season.
Conditions can relate to on-ice performances still, but whether or not a player remains with the team he has been traded to can no longer be used in negotiations.
With the NHL experiencing a number of lockouts or shortened seasons due to CBA negotiations over the past 30 years, it will come as a relief for fans, players and executives that things will continue as normal for at least the next six years, with the deal set to expire after the 2025/26 season.
For now, though, the Arizona Coyotes can turn their attention to August 2nd, 2020, and the start of what could be a truly exciting post-season run for the team.