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It's a go: Wild will open qualifying round against Canucks on Aug. 2

NHL: Nashville Predators at Minnesota Wild
Mar 3, 2020; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Kevin Fiala (22) is congratulated on his first period goal by forward Eric Staal (12) as defensemen Ryan Suter (20) and Jared Spurgeon (46) skate to join them during a game with the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild have known for more than a month that the plan was to have them face the Vancouver Canucks in the qualifying round of the NHL’s return to play in order to set the postseason field that will conclude the league’s long-ago interrupted 2019-20 season.

But on Friday, the league’s plan took a key step as the NHL and the NHL Players Association ratified an extension of the collective bargaining agreement through September 2026, and the sides agreed on protocols that will govern the resumption of play following what will be a four-plus month break because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Wild and Canucks will open their five-game series on Sunday, Aug. 2 and all games will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton. The Western Conference teams will play all games in Edmonton and Eastern Conference teams will be housed in a similar “bubble” in Toronto.  The remaining schedule for the Wild and Canucks will feature game on Tuesday, Aug. 4, Thursday, Aug. 6, Friday, Aug. 7 and Sunday, Aug. 9. The lower-seeded Wild will be the home team in Games 3-4 and Games 4-5 will be played only if they are necessary.

Fox Sports North is expected to carry the qualifying round games, but the telecast schedule and times will be announced at a later date. That’s unless you believe the Canucks have the accurate times and elected to release them. If that’s the case, just add two hours to the time listed by Vancouver. So Game 1 would begin at 9:30 p.m. in the Twin Cities.

Here are some of the important dates as the NHL transitions from Phase 2 to Phase 3 in the coming week.

  • Wild will open training camp on Monday
  • The Wild travels to Edmonton on July 26
  • Exhibition games played July 28-30
  • Stanley Cup qualifying round games begin Aug. 1
  • Phase 2 of NHL draft lottery on Aug. 10 (if the Wild loses to the Canucks they will have a 12.5 percent chance of getting the first pick.)
  • Opening round of the playoffs start on Aug. 11
  • The second round is tentatively scheduled to begin on Aug. 25
  • The conference finals are tentatively scheduled to begin on Sept. 8
  • The Stanley Cup Finals are tentatively scheduled to begin on Sept. 22 and the last possible day will be Oct. 4.
  • The NHL draft is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 9-10

The Wild released their training camp roster on Saturday. Thirty-one players can make the trip to Edmonton.

FORWARDS                  
6 Ryan Donato
7 Nico Sturm
9 Mikko Koivu
11 Zach Parise
12 Eric Staal
14 Joel Eriksson Ek
17 Marcus Foligno
18 Jordan Greenway
19 Luke Kunin
22 Kevin Fiala
23 J.T. Brown
26 Gerald Mayhew
27 Alex Galchenyuk
36 Mats Zuccarello
37 Kyle Rau
38 Ryan Hartman
41 Luke Johnson
48 Sam Anas
49 Victor Rask


DEFENSEMEN                

20 Ryan Suter
21 Carson Soucy
24 Matt Dumba
25 Jonas Brodin
44 Matt Bartkowski
46 Jared Spurgeon
47 Louie Belpedio
59 Calen Addison
61 Brennan Menell

77 Brad Hunt

GOALTENDERS

31 Kaapo Kahkonen
32 Alex Stalock
40 Devan Dubnyk
42 Mat Robson

INJURED

29 Greg Pateryn (upper-body)