Junior hockey’s best players will become new NHL hopefuls via Zoom, but that in itself is nothing new. The league held a virtual draft last year, too – but it was informed by months of in-person scouting during nearly complete seasons in the junior leagues. In 2021, an already unpredictable process has attained a new degree of difficulty, as The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks reports:
The Ontario Hockey League didn’t hold a season at all. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League had a two-month stoppage due to the coronavirus. For many teams, the biggest showcase of draft-eligible talent came in Frisco and Plano, when North Texas hosted the U-18 World Championship in the spring.
That left teams around the league without many data points on teens, which could lead to more variability in draft lists from team to team, and more unpredictability from pick to pick.
What happens now that the big night is upon us? The team assembled by Stars director of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell has done its homework. Now it remains to be seen if their picks will change according to the board:
“For the most part, it goes the way you’d predicted it,” McDonnell said. “We’ll see what happens, but this year, it could be different because of the circumstances. People might see something different, and players that we had below our 14th player, they go a little earlier than we think. It’s just going to be fun to watch.”...
“There’s nothing left to do other than don’t sleep at night and try to predict what’s going to happen in the top 13 picks,” McDonnell said. “It’s nerve-wracking for all of us guys.”
Matt has more. [SportsDayDFW]
And in case you plan to watch, or at least set your DVR, here are the broadcast details.
The Stars’ schedule is out, and Jeff K is excited.
We also learned it will be a while before they meet up with Jamie Oleksiak’s new team.
Stars' first game in Seattle will come in the last month of the season on April 3.— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) July 22, 2021
Overall, Stars have 15 total back-to-backs this season, down approximately 848.34% from last season.
How will the Stars deal with the losses of both Oleksiak and Jason Dickinson? Mike Heika checks the forecast.
In case you missed it, here’s the Big Rig’s farewell to the fans (and hello to Seattle).
Meanwhile, this week gives you yet another reason to celebrate the existence of Jason Robertson.
Around The Leagues
As the Summer Olympics begin, please notice the possible spoiler for the Winter Games in the NHL’s 2022 schedule.
League to pause play between Feb. 7 and 22, 2022 during Games— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) July 23, 2021
The expansion draft is over, the roster freeze has lifted, and Stars fans are going to see a lot more of Shane Gostisbehere this season.
Shayne Gostisbehere Gets a Fresh Start with Trade to Arizona— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) July 22, 2021
Gostisbehere has a chance to return to his old form after getting traded to the @ArizonaCoyotes on Thursday, writes @StevenEllisTHN: https://t.co/zehGUmsvjk
ESPN’s weirdly (and yet predictably) NFL-centric broadcast from Seattle wasn’t without its, ahhhh, missteps. At least the Carolina Hurricanes had some fun with it.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines could be the biggest news in tonight’s prospect draft.
University of Michigan teammates Owen Power, Matthew Beniers and Kent Johnson could be the first three players from the same NCAA program to be selected in the first round of the same NHL Draft.https://t.co/2h7JRulxBC— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) July 23, 2021
The Toronto Maple Leafs shared some good news concerning their captain.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin told reporters Thursday that he is not expecting captain Shea Weber to play next season.— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) July 22, 2021
He added that Weber's playing career might be over as reports indicate he is dealing with knee, ankle and thumb injuries: https://t.co/iyLRtDJ9gt#TSNHockey pic.twitter.com/YaPUobBoFv
Four words: New. Year’s. Eve. Hockey. Enjoy it.