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Dallas Stars Biweekly Links: A Draft Before The Cup?

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Jim Nill weighs in on the prospect of holding the NHL Draft without a shot being fired in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Plus, Tyler Seguin is all in against hunger, the WHL Draft is making news, and more.

NHL: NHL Draft Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs have been delayed indefinitely, but the NHL doesn’t appear to be in the mood to delay its 2020 draft. The league has floated the possibility of holding it in June, more or less on schedule – but before its teams have the opportunity to settle a draft order the traditional way.

With the NFL about to embark on a groundbreaking virtual draft – even sending top prospects home broadcast kits to stream their reactions live, as you do – it’s easy to see the appeal of the NHL doing its own version. But the drawbacks are every bit as apparent, and it looks like it will be a very steep climb to get organizations to buy in.

Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic sought input from all sides of the issue. He got the balanced, considered response from the Dallas Stars’ own front-office boss:

“On the positive side, for the scouting fraternity, the players are still fresh on their minds from the last time period players were scouted,” said veteran Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill. “If you go too long, images of players are going to become ‘less clear’ over time. On the downside, many obstacles to overcome in regards to lottery, trades contingent on playoffs, a lottery team potentially winning the Stanley Cup that is played later in the summer/fall after picking high in the draft. There is going to be no perfect resolution to any decisions the league as a whole has to make on all scenarios as we move forward in this new world.

“We are in a time of uncertainty and the league has done a very good job of analyzing all scenarios, with the welfare of all being priority No. 1, which I am proud of,” added Nill. “They have shown great leadership.”

There’s plenty of pushback already, with phrases like “dumbest idea ever” in the wind:

[W]hat if a team wins the draft lottery and picks third overall in June and then when the puck drops in July that team gets hots in the regular season games that are held, squeezes into the playoffs and wins the Cup? So a team could pick top-five in June and then win the Cup in August or September?

But others – albeit an acknowledged minority – believe the idea is “brilliant” and could let the NHL take center stage at an opportune moment:

“I get what they’re trying to do, stay relevant during this time,” said another team exec. “Plus, when do you fit the draft in? If this season resumption keeps getting pushed back and pushed back, when do you fit it all in? So I have no problem with the idea to go in June.”

There’s more at the link – and as a reminder, it’s also free right now. [The Athletic]


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