Photo: Sporting News
The NHL issued a new memo to teams on Friday, which stated that the 2020 NHL Draft could be done before the 2019-20 season resumes. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman told NHL Network earlier this week that this draft will be done electronically, like what the NFL did last week.
“Quite frankly, whatever we decide to do, there is no way, under these most unusual circumstances, for us to maintain the ‘status quo,’” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in the memo.
If the 2020 NHL Draft does not occur before the 2019-20 season resumes, it would be ideal to see the Stanley Cup get awarded in early to mid-September at the earliest. That way, there is some time for the draft and free agency to take place before the 2020-21 season starts, which could come in December.
The worst-case scenario is that “we will be forced to make the difficult decision of canceling the remainder of the 2019–20 season. In that case, and again in the absence of an early Draft, we would be faced with having to schedule a Draft Lottery and stage a Draft at some uncertain time prior to resuming play for the 2020–21 season. In this scenario, the same concerns that some Clubs have expressed about determining Lottery eligibility and overall Draft order, as well as the issue of having to resolve undetermined conditional provisions in trades, would still need to be addressed.”
To make the lottery as fair as possible if the rest of the season cannot be completed, the NHL has proposed:
- Using each team’s points percentage to determine the order of selection (That is under the current Stanley Cup Playoff format, so 16 teams would be out of the lottery and 15 would be in)
- Changing the lottery format this season only — picking just one winner, and limiting any move-up to a maximum of four spots
- For conditional trades, the league would propose solutions; the teams would have seven days to either reform the deal on terms acceptable to both, or accept the NHL’s idea
Another concern of having the draft at the beginning of June is that it would keep teams from trading players they would need if the season resumes. Daly hinted that the NHL’s research of the last five draft days showed that there were 106 trades conducted and only 64 would have been allowed to happen had the draft taken place before the end of the season.
“While this is certainly a valid concern,” Daly continues, “the fact of the matter is that whenever we hold the 2020 Draft — in early June or ‘shoehorned’ into a short window in October or November — (it) is not going to be a typical NHL Draft. It is not going to look the same; it is not going to feel the same; and it is not going to be the same. While we may know more about next year’s landscape in terms of CBA, Salary Cap, Escrow, etc., in November than we will in June, we are still not going to know everything, and there is still going to be a multitude of questions that have no answers. So, any comparison of the 2020 NHL Draft to a typical year’s Draft is not — and cannot be — an ‘apples to apples’ comparison.”
A decision regarding the 2020 NHL Draft is expected next week.
By Harrison Brown