NHL reportedly sets minimum games for shortened 2020-21 season

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

It's very likely that the NHL will have a shortened season for 2020-21. But the league has reportedly set a minimum of 48 games for such a scenario, according to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan.

The 48 number is not a surprising one for a shortened NHL season. The season was 48 games in each of the last two lockout-shortened campaigns, in 2012-13 and 1994-95. Wyshynski and Kaplan report that 2020-21 could be upward of 65 games, but 48 is "considered the absolute minimum at this point." This suggests that the NHL would be earmarking that number, but it wouldn't be surprising if some owners lobbied to max out closer to 65.

A 48-game season would ostensibly be a good thing for the Bruins. They went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013, while goaltender Tuukka Rask stayed relatively fresh with only 34 starts in the regular season. Rask then led all goalies in the playoffs with a .940 playoff save percentage and three shutouts, particularly playing a major role in the Bruins' four-game sweep over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals.

If Tuukka Rask remains the Bruins' starting goaltender, a shortened NHL season would be good news for him and the team. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
If Tuukka Rask remains the Bruins' starting goaltender, a shortened NHL season would be good news for him and the team. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins also have one of the older cores in the NHL atop their depth chart, especially if they re-sign 43-year-old Zdeno Chara for another season. Assuming the 2020-21 NHL season starts on Jan. 1 as reported, Patrice Bergeron would be 35 years old, David Krejci would be 34, Rask would be 33, and Brad Marchand would be 32.

MORE: Bruins' Jake DeBrusk still needs a new contract

It appears that the next NHL season will be shortened either way, in order to realign things as the league normally operates after COVID-19 wreaked havoc on scheduling in the sports world.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at [email protected].