Get ready for puck drop.
The NHL will open a 56-game season Jan. 13 after the league and its players announced Sunday they had reached an agreement for a return during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Training camp for the Wild and the teams that participated in last season's playoffs begins Jan. 3, and as early as Dec. 31 for the teams that didn't advance. There will be no preseason games.
A schedule, along with health and safety protocols, will be released in the next week.
The NHL completed last season after getting delayed by COVID-19 — adopting an expanded playoff field and holding all games in a bubble after the regular season was paused March 12. The setup for 2020-21 also will be unique.
Because of the restrictions still impacting the U.S.-Canada border, divisions have been realigned and the Wild will be based in the West alongside Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Jose and Vegas. The other divisions are Central, East and North, which features all seven Canadian teams.
The plan is for teams to play in home arenas, although the league acknowledged it will be prepared to play in one or more neutral-site venues per division should that be necessary "depending on prevailing conditions both in local markets and across North America."
Both the league and players intend to be flexible to make sure they comply with directives from local and national government and health authorities.
Division overhaul: 2021 NHL divisions
Most arenas, at least initially, won't have fans in attendance. To cut down on travel, teams will compete only within their division and the Wild will face each West opponent eight times.
The regular season wraps up May 8 and the top four teams in each division will qualify for the playoffs, which will be a traditional, best-of-seven, four-round trek to the Stanley Cup.
After intradivisional play in Rounds 1 and 2 (No. 1 vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3), the four teams that move on to the semifinals will be seeded by their regular season points total. Again, it'll be No. 1 vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No.3.
The Stanley Cup will be awarded around mid-July, and the NHL plans to return to a normal season schedule in October 2021.
"The National Hockey League looks forward to the opening of our 2020-21 season, especially since the Return to Play in 2019-20 was so successful in crowning a Stanley Cup champion," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "While we are well aware of the challenges ahead, as was the case last spring and summer, we are continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our participants and the communities in which we live and play. And, as was the case last spring and summer, I thank the NHLPA, particularly Executive Director Don Fehr, for working cooperatively with us to get our league back on the ice."
The Wild finished last season 35-27-7 and was knocked out of the qualifying round of the playoffs by Vancouver in four games of a best-of-five series.
Since then, the roster has undergone an extensive makeover.
Captain Mikko Koivu is gone and so are goalie Devan Dubnyk, center Eric Staal and young forwards Luke Kunin and Ryan Donato. The team has added a new No. 1 netminder in Cam Talbot while also bringing in Marcus Johansson, two-time Stanley Cup champion Nick Bonino and Blaine native Nick Bjugstad.
Prized prospect Kirill Kaprizov is on the brink of making his NHL debut, and first-round pick Marco Rossi will contend for a roster spot.
Goalie Alex Stalock (upper body) and winger Mats Zuccarello (arm surgery) are currently sidelined.