Conducting the NHL Draft in June would handcuff the Rangers

The word around the land of unused hockey sticks and defrosted pucks is about moving forward with the NHL draft in June. While there are a load of issues and questions with doing so for almost all teams, it would truly handcuff the Rangers.

The Draft Rumor

Yesterday, TSN’s Frank Seravalli did a solid article on some of the obvious issues such as finalizing the standings after 68 games, dealing with traded draft picks, and more. Regardless if you think it makes sense or not it is well thought out.

Let’s just go over the top issues team’s would face doing a draft in June (aka: before the season actually ended):

  • Freeze standings on either points or points percentage, this will also address traded picks with conditions (minor issue)
  • Draft trades (BIG ISSUE especially for the Rangers)

Too Many Problems

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This is an extremely important offseason for the Rangers to complete the transition from rebuild to contention. Let’s just make it simple and say the NHL freezes the current standings, and award the lottery balls to who gets them. That means the Rangers would get a lottery pick where they stand now, and get the lesser of the Hurricanes two 1st round picks from the Brady Skjei trade (non lottery).

Sounds straight forward, but we all know that the Rangers are loaded with prospects as it is and need to start adding the right NHL ready players to the current lineup. Drafting a project at around 12, 13, or 14 doesn’t really benefit what Jeff Gorton is trying to do now. But how do the Rangers make a move for a player that may be on a current NHL team that is expected to be in the playoffs when it resumes? Or what about trading Jesper Fast’s rights for a conditional pick in the 2nd or 3rd round? How do you even address this? Are you going to eliminate trades that include roster players? Are you going to allow a 2nd trade deadline that ends after the draft concludes? I’m sorry but if you want a post-season with integrity how can you even go forward with this idea.

Oh wait! You thought I was done? We have no idea about the salary cap next season. Are you going to allow amnesty buyouts? You have to answer those questions before the draft too. The Rangers are also loaded with RFA’s. If negotiations with them go south they may need to trade one at the draft to move up or package with a first round pick for the player they feel will get the team over the top next year.

Not Worth It

The bottom line is that I know the Rangers inside and out. If the NHL goes forward with a June Draft, well I just laid out a multitude of concerns and issues. This is for just one team, with at least a dozen more having the same conundrums if not more. While it would be great to have something hockey related in June it just isn’t worth it. Unless you allow a second NHL Trade Deadline where active rosters can me moved in draft deals this idea needs to be thrown in the trash bin.