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]
Here’s another great move from Tyler Seguin.
I’ve accepted the #ALLINCHALLENGE to help feed the hungry during this challenging time. Click here to see what I’m putting up: https://t.co/uQVwa3neWp. Also, @Benbishop30, @Bmarch63 I challenge you to be ALL IN!! Lets goo pic.twitter.com/dVb3vJDjyn— Tyler Seguin (@tseguinofficial) April 19, 2020
#HeyHeika isn’t taking any breaks, and from the looks of it, neither are many of you.
Hopefully Stephen Johns and Jamie Oleksiak can lay some big hits on the controller, too.
The NHL Player Gaming Challenge is set to begin April 30 with all teams represented in a head-to-head series of NHL20 competition. https://t.co/I7Z4KVhD3b— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) April 23, 2020
Around The League(s)
Jason Spezza will keep playing hockey for as long as it takes.
"I'm in it for as long as I can be so I can win a Stanley Cup" https://t.co/L9iVQa4H8D— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) April 24, 2020
Exceptional Status center Connor Bedard wasn’t the only news, or the only interesting name, from the 2020 WHL Draft.
NHL analyst, Endeavor Athletic co-founder, and former Colorado Avalanche second-rounder Colby Cohen is using his superpowers for good.
Ex-NHL player Colby Cohen is putting career contacts to use to bring PPE to U.S. https://t.co/qLPyIcZCCw— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) April 23, 2020
And this is an exceptional save by Detroit Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
The season may be on hold, but the Texas Stars are still making moves. Blueliner Max Martin is coming off a point-per-game season with the Kamloops Blazers.
New Player Alert! ️— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) April 23, 2020
Defenseman Max Martin has signed with the #txstars. Martin was a 2019 WHL Champion and played in the Memorial Cup Tournament.
Read: https://t.co/VJsghOWWDZ pic.twitter.com/L9mROUNJa4
Hey, the Stars still need a third jersey. Just saying.
Tweets I never thought I'd tweet: Do you own a Mooterus jersey and why?— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) April 23, 2020