The NHL might be looking for ways to salvage their 2019-2020 season at the moment, but they're also thinking about what might happen with their 2020-21 season.
According to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, the league has been discussing the possibility of delaying the start of the season as far as December. A November start time was also among the scenarios brought up.
Even with the season potentially starting in December, the NHL is hoping to get a full 82-game season in. Of course, there would have to be some sacrifices like no All-Star break, shorter Christmas break, and no bye weeks for every team.
The regular season would likely end in May and the playoffs could push as far as July.
A December start date might be best for the league, and the main reason would be because of a 2020 season finish. Like every other sports league at the moment, the NHL believes there is a way to resume their season and have a champion in the end.
Playoff teams especially want to finish the season, and LeBrun said some executives would go as late as September or October to get that done. That would still leave enough time for players to gear up for next season.
There is also the fact that owners want fans in the seats for next season, and delaying things as long as possible would reassure those wanting to watch their favorite teams that they can do so without risking their safety. Hope is that by December, the country has overcome the virus and there can at least be precautions in place for large gatherings moving forward.
As is the case with all scenarios regarding sports returning, it's subject to change and the NHL can't know for sure yet when its season will be able to take place. The discussions will continue, though for not only resuming this season but also how to start the next.