The regular season began on October 2, 2019, with playoffs originally planned for April and the Stanley Cup Finals planned for June. The season was suspended indefinitely on March 12, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 22, 2020, the NHL and National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) agreed to a framework for the resumption of play, which would see the remainder of the regular season scrapped, and the top 12 teams in each conference (by points percentage) competing in a modified and expanded Stanley Cup playoffs, which the NHL planned to hold in two centralized "hub cities", Toronto's Scotiabank Arena and Edmonton's Rogers Place, with no spectators and only essential staff present.
The playoffs began on August 1, 2020, and ended on September 28, with the Tampa Bay Lightning defeating the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Finals in six games, winning their second Stanley Cup in franchise history
The collective bargaining agreement (CBA), previously signed to end the 2012–13 NHL lockout, entered into its eighth season. Before the season started, both the NHL and the NHLPA had the choice to opt out of the CBA on September 1 and September 16, 2019, respectively. If either of them had opted out, the CBA would have expired at the end of this season instead of at the end of 2021–22. The NHL announced on August 30 that they would not opt out, and the NHLPA then also agreed on September 16 not to opt out