Major decisions expected from the NHL this week
After months of speculation, multiple reports are now coming out that both the NHL and NHLPA will be announcing major decisions this week. Expected will be decisions on the NHL Draft and more on return to play plans.
The appetite to move forward with the NHL Draft in June appears to be waning. While the NHL and a handful of teams like the Rangers and Ottawa are ready to move forward with it, the overall desire from most other NHL teams is simply not there. Insider, Bob McKenzie was on OverDrive recently and characterized the possibility of moving forward with an NHL Draft in June as “on life support”. Of course, he did say, that while that may be the case, it can’t be ruled out.
Return to Play
The NHL has apparently narrowed down it’s hub cities to a list of 8 and are expected to announce it to 4 this week. From what I’ve heard from a league source, Arizona for the Pacific, Dallas for the Central, Carolina for the Metro, and Toronto for the Atlantic are the leads to land it. I’ve also heard that teams are talking with players and prospects about returning to designated training facilities by the end of this month.
24 Team Playoff Scenario
If the rumored plans of a 24 team playoffs comes to fruition, the Rangers may have a very difficult task. According to the latest reports featured in Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts blog, the Blueshirts could be shifted into the Atlantic Hub and have to take on the Boston Bruins.
Obviously the return plan is to bring teams to one of four hub cities. That’s where the belief is the Rangers would fall in a division with the Bruins and likely have to take them on in a 5 game round robin in order to get to the traditional 16 teams. Here’s the potential layout below.
METROPOLITAN HUB: Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Islanders, Columbus31 Thoughts
ATLANTIC HUB: Boston, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Florida, Montreal, Rangers (added as lowest seed from Metropolitan — Bruins are top-ranked in East, and should have that reward in their hub)
CENTRAL HUB: St. Louis, Colorado, Dallas, Winnipeg, Nashville, Chicago (Blackhawks stay in Central because Blues are top-ranked in West)
PACIFIC HUB: Vegas, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Arizona, Minnesota
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