Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk told Fan 590 in Toronto on Sunday that he is “100 percent” confident that a 2020 Stanley Cup Champion will be crowned and that there would be a full 2020-21 NHL season, according to TSN’s Bruce Garrioch.
Melnyk said that there are a lot of moving parts in the process of returning to play. He is hopeful that there will be some league events in June, including the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, NHL Draft, or both. However, the idea of holding the draft in June has received a lot of pushback from the General Managers and it is reportedly “not dead but it’s on life support.”
“It can’t come soon enough. All of us can’t wait for hockey to come back,” said Melnyk.
Melnyk continued on and said that the Senators had “the worst luck” when it came to the coronavirus as five players, a staff member, and broadcaster Gord Wilson all tested positive for the virus.
The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported on Sunday that the Return To Play Committee has been in communication throughout the weekend and the league and players association are making progress on a 24-team Stanley Cup Playoff tournament. Sources stressed to LeBrun that there is still work to be done but the weekend has seen the two sides gain some traction. More talks are expected to occur over the next day or two. The tournament won’t involve going straight to the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs but “involves games in some form before-hand.”
Once the committee agrees to a format, the NHLPA (31 representatives) would have to vote on it, LeBrun said.
The NHL Board of Governors are slated to talk again at 3 PM ET on Monday and the league could announce the plan for the 2020 NHL Draft this week.
By Harrison Brown