Per that report, the decision to "pay players, and not defer, was made on Tuesday between the NHL and NHLPA. The two sides are in ongoing negotiations about the league's plans to restart with a 24-team tournament in two hub cities this summer. The sides have yet to finalize the health and safety protocols for games, or announce the two hub cities."
Among the locations being considered are Toronto, Edmonton, Las Vegas and Chicago, though "there is momentum for two Canadian hub cities to be chosen given the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in several U.S. states."
To date, the United States has seen 2.6 million people diagnosed with the coronavirus and 127,410 deaths, per CNN.com. Canada has seen 106,097 cases and 8,650 deaths.
As for the signing bonuses, the top bonuses will be paid out to the following players, according to Kaplan and CapFriendly.com:
- Toronto Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews: $15.2 million
- Toronto Maples Leafs RW Mitch Marner: $14.3 million
- Edmonton Oilers C Connor McDavid: $13 million
- New York Rangers LW Artemi Panarin: $12 million
There are also some uncertainties regarding salaries and signing bonuses going forward, as TSN's Bob McKenzie outlined:
Eric Engels of Sportsnet also noted that many players reportedly don't want to resume the 2019-20 season at all amid the COVID-19 pandemic:
So a lot remains up in the air regarding this season and contracts. It appears that the players will be getting their owed signing bonuses on time, however.