NHL roster freeze to take effect Monday amid 2019-20 season pause

NHL insider Justin Bourne joins Good Show with Ben Ennis (in studio) and J.D. Bunkis (via phone) to discuss why it will be much more challenging and unlikely for the NHL to salvage their season then any other of the major sports.

With the current NHL campaign paused amid concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, the league’s rosters will be frozen as of 5 p.m. ET on Monday, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

The clarification comes after teams continued to move players between the AHL and NHL early Monday, despite league play being halted in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.

According to Johnston, the league’s 31 teams have been told “that the four-recall rule post-trade deadline will continue to apply if the seasons resumes.”

The NHL’s 2019-20 season has been suspended for nearly a week, with the decision to halt play coming last Wednesday. While there seemed to be initial hope of a shorter hiatus, a new recommendation from the CDC on Sunday — barring all in-person events involving 50 people or more for the next eight weeks — pushed any potential return date until at least May.

With the situation continuing to evolve and the league’s response following suit, it was reported by Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston Monday that players would be permitted to return home to any country, provided they stay in self-quarantine until March 27 once they get to their destination.

According to Johnston, the new guideline comes as part of “a new return-to-play protocol that would see training camps potentially reopen in late April for a playoffs that could run through late July.”

As well, the NHL said it will consider opening team facilities after that self-quarantine period, according to Johnston, to allow players to begin working out in small groups — depending on how the COVID-19 situation develops here and abroad.

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