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Will Players Opt Out Of A Return To Play?

As we get closer, players have the right to opt out without penalty. The question is, will any?

NHL: New York Islanders at Edmonton Oilers
As the NHL ramps up their return to play, will there be any players who sit the remainder of the year out?
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

If everything goes just right, there’s going to be some hockey on (or about) August 1st. That’s less than four weeks to go. Big stress on everything “going just right”, because there’s plenty of time between now and the first of August.

The NHL and the player’s association sound like they are close on a “return to play” scenario as well as a new CBA. With everything that’s been going on in the world, it’s easy to lose the second part of that last sentence. A new CBA? That’s big news. We’ve been so used to losing anywhere between half a season and a full season with labour disputes over the past 25 years, that it’s almost unheard of that a new CBA gets ratified without any loss of playing time.

Many players are already at their training camp facilities. 24 teams will be heading up to both Edmonton and Toronto in the next couple of weeks. Let’s take a closer look at what’s expected to happen.

  • Full training camps are expected to open by July 13th
  • Teams will travel to hub cities by July 26th
  • Play-in series to begin August 1st
  • Stanley Cup to be awarded in early October.

Once teams arrive in hub cities, that’s where things begin to get a bit...different.

There are 87 pages of rules and regulations when the clubs return to play. There is no dress code, but you could be confined to your own floor of your hotel (except for when you want to grab a Diet Coke and some wafers from the vending machine). Forget running to the grocery store, a team rep will go grab some for you.

Restrictive? Maybe. Safe? Hopefully. One thing’s for sure, it’s a new experience for everyone involved.

Will anyone opt out of playing?

Once the ratification vote is taken and if everyone is on board with returning to play, will there be any push back from individual players? Players will have three days to notify the league after the return-to-play protocols are ratified. My area of concern is the week at the end of July where players transfer from their home clubs to Edmonton or Toronto. Testing is key, and there can be no room for error.

Personally, I think there will likely be a couple of players who opt to stay home. Though if I’m in the USA, I think my chances at completing a safe playoffs skyrockets upon entering one of the two hub cities.

What do you think?


Will There Be A Player Who Opts Out Of The NHL’s 2019-20 Return To Play?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Yes, due to safety concerns
    (18 votes)
  • 20%
    Yes, due to concerns other than safety
    (6 votes)
  • 17%
    (5 votes)
29 votes total Vote Now