The NHL will not exercise its right to reopen the current collective bargaining agreement, it formally notified the NHLPA on Friday.
The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire following the 2021-22 season. Both the league and the player’s association have the option to opt out early and reopen the current CBA, however.
If the NHL wished to opt out of the current CBA, it would have had to notify the NHLPA by Sept. 1.
The NHLPA still has the option to opt out, and if they choose to do so they must notify the league by Sept. 15.
If either side opts out, the CBA would then expire in September 2020, setting up the possibility for a lockout to start the 2020-21 season.
According to Elliotte Friedman, there is talk of extending the player association's deadline to make a decision:
The players' executive committee -- and others who wish to attend -- meets Wednesday in Chicago. There is believed to be momentum in talks. It is possible that if a deal cannot be done by the 15th, both sides will agree to move the NHLPA's deadline to later date
Gary Bettman released the following statement on Friday regarding the NHL's decision:
Based on the current state of the game and the business of the game, the NHL believes it is essential to continue building upon the momentum we have created with our Players and, therefore, will not exercise its option to reopen the CBA. Rather, we are prepared to have the current CBA remain in effect for its full term – three more seasons through the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.
It is our hope that a continued, sustained period of labor peace will enable us to further grow the game and benefit all constituent groups: NHL Players, Clubs, our business partners and, most important, our fans.
In any CBA, the parties can always identify issues they are unhappy with and would like to see changed. This is certainly true from the League’s standpoint. However, our analysis makes clear that the benefits of continuing to operate under the terms of the current CBA – while working with the Players’ Association to address our respective concerns – far outweigh the disruptive consequences of terminating it following the upcoming season.
The NHLPA responded with a statement saying it will "continue to discuss this matter with players" before the deadline.