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CBA will reportedly have Sabres begin season in December

Amid a pandemic and civil unrest across the globe, the National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association found common ground on a format to hold the Stanley Cup Playoffs next month and both sides compromised to ensure labor stability through 2025-26.

According to multiple reports, the NHL and NHLPA are finalizing details on a tentative league calendar for the remainder of 2020 and a modified collective bargaining agreement that’s designed to soften the financial blow caused by the cancellation of regular-season games. Details were first reported by TSN and ratification of the CBA will require a majority vote by the players this week.

The return-to-play protocols do not impact the Buffalo Sabres, who finished 25th overall to extend their playoff drought to nine seasons. The playoff teams will travel to the two hub cities – Edmonton and Toronto – July 24 with the qualifying round beginning July 30. The Stanley Cup Final will tentatively start Sept. 20 and Oct. 2 is the series’ latest end date.

However, there are several reported changes to the CBA that will impact the Sabres in the short term and long term. A flat salary cap will be implemented over the next three seasons and again will be tied to revenue in 2023-24. The figure will stand at $81.5 million over the next two seasons and will increase to $82.5 million in 2022-23.

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