May 18, 2020

NHL Draft in June is in jeopardy and that’s good news for the Rangers

John Davidson and Jeff Gorton at draft (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Moving forward with the NHL Draft in June is now on “life support” per Bob McKenzie. A decision on if it will happen is expected this week. While the Rangers were ok to move forward with it, the overall desire from most other NHL teams was simply not there. Still it can’t be ruled out until the decision is finalized, but this is good news for the Rangers too.

Too Many Problems

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)
Getty Images

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). Of course, if 24 Teams are in the playoffs, the lottery could effectively just be the 7 teams out and the Rangers are locked where they are now anyway.

Rangers Need More Flexibility

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 13 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. So it is not surprising why so many NHL teams were against the idea.

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