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Lightning Round: Bolts return to action on August 3

NHLPA and NHL ratified four-year CBA extension and return to play plan

Tampa Bay Lightning v Washington Capitals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

On Friday afternoon, the NHL and the NHLPA have finally agreed on resuming the 2019-20 season and extending the collective agreement for four years. According to Frank Seravalli the NHLPA membership voted 502-135 in favor of the agreement. A new CBA package includes a salary cap at $81.5 million which will remain flat until the league’s revenue reaches $4.8 billion, a 20 percent cap on escrow for the next season, and permission to participate in the 2022 and 2026 Winter Olympics (which still depends on an agreement with the IOC). Edmonton and Toronto are officially confirmed as two hub cities.

A full 71-page Memorandum is available on the following link.

The NHL have also released critical dates for the Return to Play protocol and a schedule for the first ten games of the Stanley Cup qualifying round. According to this, the Tampa Bay Lightning will play their first game since March 10 on August 3 against the Washington Capitals. The next Lightning opponents are the Boston Bruins on August 6 and the Philadelphia Flyers on August 9. Those games will decide seeding for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The training camps will be open next Monday.

As an Eastern Conference team, the Lightning will play all their games in Toronto. A complete broadcast schedule is expected to be revealed soon, but here’s a typical schedule for the RTP games.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL revealed what preventive measures will be provided for players and staff members.

In keeping with the League’s commitment to the health and safety of all participants, each of the 52 Club personnel will live inside a secure “bubble” - the Phase 4 Secure Zone - and will be tested daily for COVID-19 as well as being administered daily temperature checks and symptom screenings. As well, individuals who might have direct or indirect contact with NHL teams will be tested daily. Any person inside the Secure Zone who tests positive will immediately be isolated.

For those wondering, all games of the qualifying round and round robin will be considered as a part of the 2020 postseason.

Meanwhile Travis Hamonic of the Calgary Flames has become the first NHL player who decided to opt out of the NHL Return to Play plan. The Canadian defenceman released a statement, explaining his decision

Other players who want to follow Hamonic’s decision have until Monday at 5 p.m. to exercise their penalty-free right to opt out of the NHL’s 24-team tournament

Other News and Notes

Yesterday Geo presented his versions of how the Lightning can keep both Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev [Raw Charge]

Back in September, I predicted some salary cap numbers for Sergachev and Cernak of $5 million and $3-3.5 million respectively. I believe that for Sergachev that number still holds true as the Lightning would be looking for a bridge contract of three years on Sergachev and Zach Werenski (3 years, $5 million) and Charlie McAvoy (3 years, $4.9 million) still look to be great comparables for a bridge deal. Cernak regressed a little bit offensively this year and I think more of an argument can be made now for a 1-2 year deal at $2.5 million for him.

The German’s DHL is the first European league announced postponing the next regular season, other leagues might follow this decision.