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Dater’s Daily: NHL season start further delayed?




I sure didn’t like reading this story, in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, in which Golden Knights owner Bill Foley talks about the next NHL season.

While the NHL has publicly said it hopes to start the next season by Jan. 1, Foley, according to the article, said he believes Feb. 1 is a more realistic start date. And, he said he thinks it would only be a 48- or 56-game schedule, so as for the NHL not to interfere with the next summer Olympics in July.

Ugh. That’s a long time to wait for the next season, and I hate shortened seasons. They always feel too gimmicky to me. But we live in crazy times, so to expect a normal, 82-game season was always probably unrealistic.

Foley also said he needs the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas to be able to have at least 40-percent of his seating capacity filled for the team to be “economically viable.”

It’s getting a bit scary and a bit desperate out there when it comes to pro sports economics. The NHL just absolutely can’t go too much longer with no-fan-bubble-hockey, without potentially drastic consequences.

If there is a Feb. 1 start to the next NHL season, that means some players/teams will have gone nearly a full year without playing a hockey game – the six teams that didn’t even get a chance to play in the round-robin portion of the last bubble playoffs. Not only that, but it will be nearly a year before most players will have even seen a dime of salary.

Players are paid their entire season salaries only during the regular season. Some guys have gotten signing bonuses and other post-season bonuses, but not too many. Players, for the next season, will also have 20% of their pay deducted for escrow, and they’ll take another 10% reduction if the league doesn’t hit its revenue targets for the next season – which it almost certainly won’t.

The free-agent market has slowed to a crawl. Lots of really good players are still out there, without contracts, guys like Mike Hoffman and Mikael Granlund and Conor Sheary and Carl Soderberg and…lots more.

For everybody who loves NHL hockey, it looks like we’ve got a long wait ahead.

  • An example of this being a dead market, a buyer’s market: Look at what Matt Nieto just signed for in San Jose. One year, $700,000. He had a cap hit with the Avs last season of $1.975 million. That’s a huge haircut for a guy who is still pretty young and had a pretty good season. Here’s more on his return to the Sharks (San Jose Hockey Now)
  • An early look at some Expansion Draft candidates (Hockey News)
  • Did the Golden Knights sacrifice too much to get Alex Pietrangelo? (Hockey News)
  • Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello said he had a “difficult” conversation with new Av Devon Toews about the trade (Newsday)
  • There’s no question, even if the Golden Knights gave up perhaps too much to squeeze in Pietrangelo: their defense now is really stacked (Vegas Hockey Now)
  • The Islanders signed goalie Corey Schneider as a free agent. The question is: why? (NYI Hockey Now)
  • We’re still waiting on a new deal for Tyson Jost. I can’t help but still wonder if he could be dealt for, say, a second-round pick out there, to replace one of the two the Avs just gave up to get Toews. But Joe Sakic almost certainly wouldn’t have publicly said he was working on a new deal with Jost if he were thinking of trading him.

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