With nearly 80% in favour among NHLPA membership, the NHL and NHLPA have officially ratified the four-year Collective Bargaining Agreement extension, ensuring six years of labour peace as the league navigates the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as Return-to-Play protocols for Stages 3 and 4.

We also now have an updated critical dates calendar, as well as confirmation of Toronto as the NHL’s Eastern hub city:

With the announcement of the CBA extension and Return to Play protocols came the tentative schedule for the best-of-five play-in qualifiers at the start of August, including the Leafs and Blue Jackets’ series, which will start on August 2nd.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets – 2020 Playoff Qualifiers

Best-of-five series is tied 1-1
 DateTime (ET)TV Network/Result
Game 1August 2nd8 p.m. 2-0 Loss
Game 2August 4th4 p.m. 3-0 Win
Game 3August 6th8 p.m.4-3 Loss (OT)
Game 4*August 7th8 p.m.CBC
Game 5*August 9thTBDTBD

We don’t have exact puck drop times yet, but the daily NHL schedule will proceed as follows:

If the series requires four games, Games 3 and 4 will run as a back-to-back on August 6 and 7.

The next date of significance in the immediate term is the opt-out deadline for players, which comes 5 p.m. on Monday, July 13, with training camps set to open next week across the league. As of now, the Leafs are looking at something along the lines of the following 31-man roster for when Stage 4 arrives, but it is subject to change should anyone on the team’s roster opt out.

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected 31-Man Roster for Competition Phase

Forwards
Hyman – Matthews – Nylander
Mikheyev – Tavares – Marner
Engvall – Kerfoot– Kapanen
Clifford – Gauthier – Spezza

Extras: Malgin, Brooks, Agostino, Korshkov, Petan

Defensemen
Muzzin – Holl
Rielly – Ceci
Dermott – Barrie

Extras: Sandin, Marincin, Rosen, Liljegren

Goaltenders
Andersen
Campbell
Kaskisuo

Extras subject to change through Stage-3 training camp

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Playoff Preview