Vegas Golden Knights: Breaking down the full Return To Play Schedule

Hockey is back, so we’ve looked at the key dates for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Rejoice, the Vegas Golden Knights are on their way back! As announced on Friday, the 2019-20 NHL season can officially resume after the NHL and the NHLPA ratified the Return To Play Plan.

Also agreed upon was a new four-year CBA, which we will break down at a later date, on what was a huge day for hockey fans.

It means that the Golden Knights will get the chance to finish what they started in 2019-20, with raising the Stanley Cup the ultimate goal.

There was a hell of a lot of information to come out of the NHL’s marquee announcement on Friday, so we decided to break it all down by laying out the key dates.

Let’s delve right in…

July 13 – Training Camps Begin

The second Training Camp of the 2019-20 season will get underway on Monday for all 24 teams included in the Return To Play Plan.

Training Camps will be held in each team’s respective city so, for the Golden Knights, they will be hitting the ice at City National Arena as a team for the first time since March.

Teams will be allowed to have up to 30 skaters and an unlimited amount of goaltenders for Training Camp, although each team will only be allowed to take a total of 31 players into the Hub Cities.

Rogers Place before the Edmonton Oilers home opener against the Vancouver Canucks on October 2, 2019.

Rogers Place before the Edmonton Oilers home opener against the Vancouver Canucks on October 2, 2019. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

July 26 – Off to the Hub Cities

After a short Training Camp, all 24 teams will pack their bags and head off to the two Hub Cities for the Play-In games and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Edmonton will house the Western Conference and Toronto will be the home base for the Eastern Conference.

So, for the Golden Knights, they will call Edmonton home for the foreseeable and they will be staying in the JW Marriott ICE District along with the St. Louis Blues, the Colorado Avalanche, the Dallas Stars, the Edmonton Oilers and the Nashville Predators.

That’s a lot of star power in one bubble.

Once in what the NHL is calling the “Phase 4 Secure Zone,” players will be tested every day, they must practice social distancing and daily temperature checks and symptom screenings will also take place.

Any person inside the Secure Zone who tests positive will be isolated immediately.

July 28 / 30 – Exhibition Games

After being away from the ice for way over 100 days, each team will be given one exhibition game after Training Camps to shake off any remaining rust.

It hasn’t yet been determined who the Golden Knights will face in their exhibition game, but we know it will be another team from the Western Conference and it is likely to be a team from the same bubble.

But, whoever it is, it will be the first time we have seen the Golden Knights in action since early March and that is something to get very excited about.

Mark Stone #61 of the Vegas Golden Knights passes the puck under pressure.

Mark Stone #61 of the Vegas Golden Knights passes the puck under pressure. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Aug 1 / 2 – Beginning of Play-In Games & Round Robin Tournament

This is where the real business starts.

On Aug. 1, we will be treated to a mouthwatering slate of five games as the best-of-five Play-In Series begins, so there should be something for every hockey fan out there.

Then, on Aug. 3, the Golden Knights will begin the three-game round-robin tournament that will decide seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With the postseason now going to be reseeded after each round, the chance to jump from the third seed to the top seed could be huge for the Golden Knights in their bid to win the Stanley Cup in 2019-20.

Here’s the schedule of round-robin games for the Golden Knights:

  • Vs. Dallas Stars – Aug. 3
  • Vs. St. Louis – Aug. 6
  • Vs. Colorado Avalanche – Aug. 8

Those three games should also help to get the Golden Knights back in the swing of things and ready for Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Which leads us to…

Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues shows off the Stanley Cup.

Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues shows off the Stanley Cup. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Aug – Oct – Stanley Cup Playoffs

Of course, we won’t know anything for sure until the Play-In games are finished and the bracket for the Stanley Cup Playoffs is complete.

So, in that case, let’s look at the key dates…

  • Beginning of Stanley Cup Playoffs – Aug. 11
  • Second Round – Aug. 25
  • Conference Finals – Sept. 8
  • Stanley Cup Final – Sept. 22
  • Latest a Stanley Cup Champion can be crowned – Oct. 4

It is worth noting that both the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final will take place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, so the Golden Knights should feel right at home if they can run the table and go the distance.

Also, families will be able to join the players in the Secure Zone in Edmonton from the Conference Finals onwards, which is a nice touch and an added motivation for the teams remaining at that point.

Other Dates

This won’t concern the Vegas Golden Knights but the Second Phase of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery will take place on Aug. 10.

It should be an exciting night because one of the eight teams that will lose in the Play-In games will get a 12.5% chance at the No. 1 overall pick and the right to draft generational talent Alexis Lafreniere.

What will concern the Golden Knights, however, is the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, which will take place either on Oct. 9, or on Oct. 10.

And, finally, Free Agency could open on Oct. 9, or seven days after a Stanley Cup Champion is crowned, in what will be an incredibly truncated off-season.

Next: Prepare for a feast of hockey action

But the thought of having Free Agency open on the same day as the First Round of the NHL Entry Draft is pure madness.

So, that’s all the key dates you need to be aware of and we’ll be breaking down the Return To Play Plan and what it means for the Vegas Golden Knights over the coming days.

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