Big week ahead for the NHL and its plans for Draft and Season

Bettman at Draft (USATSI)

The future plans for the NHL season and the draft will be learned this week. Although there is still plenty of opposition for drafting before the end of the season, more and more teams are coming around. Let’s dive in to the latest reporting.

The Draft

Today the league will hold a conference call to discuss conducting an online draft on possibly June 5th and 6th per Elliotte Friedman. Although many teams have been outspoken against it, they understand that it may have to be a necessity. Several GM’s have spoken on the topic and expressed some of their issues with having to rely so heavily on taped performances and not seeing some of these kids perform in their respective playoffs. But all admit that they’re dealing with the same issues and no one has an advantage.

“Probably not as complete as it would be had it been a normal ending to the season,” Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said of his team’s eventual list for the draft, which was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal. “You’re running around trying to (watch) the top guys one last time or guys that you had missed earlier in the year. Now we’re watching tape instead.

TSN

As for the draft, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly made the case in the face that this season could still be cancelled. Now there are plenty of questions around how to seat teams, deal with conditional picks, and more. Here is how Friedman explained it:

  • Using each team’s points percentage to determine the Order of Selection. (That’s under the current playoff format, so 16 teams would be out of the lottery and 15 would be in.)
  • Changing the lottery format this season only — picking just one winner, and limiting any move-up to a maximum of four spots.
  • For conditional trades, the league would propose solutions. The teams would have seven days to either reform the deal on terms acceptable to both, or accept the NHL’s idea.
Davidson and Gorton (Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post)

Rangers Are Ready

Speaking with a source close to the team, the Rangers are ready to go and are all for it if that is indeed what the NHL decides today. They may be even anxious by the sounds of it. Earlier last month, Rangers President John Davidson discussed prepping for the draft under these circumstances. JD stated they are are working very hard even though they didn’t know when and how it would be conducted. However, Jeff Gorton has worked with the staff and given assignments on the top 50 players in the draft. Scouts are getting 3 games apiece on these players and must provide a report. In North America, they have even started contacting some of these kids. Per a source in Ottawa, the Senators have been pushing to do the draft since April.

Resumption Plans and Hub Cities

Tomorrow, there will be another call that focuses on narrowing down the 4 “hub cities” the NHL will resume play in.

It’s believed that Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vegas have expressed interest, but one team official said he heard there were “more than 10 of us submitting bids.” No one is expecting any final decisions, but it is possible the list is narrowed down. Ideally, the NHL wants one destination per division, but “the safest spots” will be prioritized.

Sportsnet

What also needs to be addressed is access to testing and how the NHL will handle players seeing their families. Interesting two days ahead. Stay with us for more reporting and reaction to the topics above.