Detroit Red Wings 2021 season: Here are critical dates for pandemic-shortened campaign

Detroit Free Press

Helene St. James
| Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Red Wings begin training camp on Dec. 31, jumpstarting what will be a busy 2021.

The NHL and NHL Players Association released key dates for the season Tuesday, two days after formally agreeing to the framework of a 56-game season.

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The pandemic has forced numerous changes, starting with temporary divisional realignment designed to minimize travel. The U.S-based teams will be divided into three groups: the Central Division (the Wings, the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning), the East and the West. U.S.-Canada travel restrictions led all seven Canadian teams to be in one division, the North.

Major dates

Jan. 13: First day of regular season

April 12: Trade deadline (3 p.m.)

May 8: Last day of regular season

May 11: Stanley Cup Playoffs begin (subject to adjustment)

July 9: Last possible day of Stanley Cup Final (subject to adjustment)

July 17: Deadline for protection lists for expansion draft (5 p.m.)

July 21: Expansion draft for Seattle Kraken (8 p.m.)

July 23: Round 1 of NHL draft

July 24: Rounds 2-7 of NHL draft

July 28: Restricted free agent/unrestricted free agent signing period begins (noon)

(All time Eastern.)

Contact Helene St. James at Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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