The successful virtual NFL draft and the uncertainty surrounding the resumption of hockey this season has raised the possibility of an NHL draft before the Stanley Cup final.
After postponing its planned project from June 26 to 27 in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the NHL plans to do so earlier in June with the season suspended for an indefinite period. The idea is shared by executives, ranging from frustration to reluctant acceptance.
“We’re just going to try to prepare as if it’s going to happen,” said Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas. “It will not be normal no matter what it is, so we agree with everything that is decided. “
Unlike the NFL, which maintained its draft as usual in the middle of its off-season, the NHL would face several wrinkles with a draft held before the end of the season: teams could not exchange players, it There would be a lack of clarity on next year’s salary cap and the draft order could be determined before all games are played.
That would put hockey back in the spotlight for a few days. Laos is said to create many headaches for those involved.
“I haven’t spoken to a general manager who likes it, and I speak to almost everyone,” agent Allan Walsh said Thursday.
A week after the league sent a memo to the teams outlining their proposal, NHL assistant commissioner Bill Daly said Friday that a decision had not been made on the draft. The GMs asked for one month’s notice before planning a project.
“My thought is: Why would you do this? Why do you need to do this? Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said on Fox Sports Detroit. “I have not heard a good reason why we should do it before the end of the season if we conclude the season in the summer. “
The Yzerman Red Wings could in fact benefit from an adjusted draw that gives him better first choice odds, probably Alexis Lafreniere. But he pointed to a litany of strangers, including who is in and out of the playoffs and how the draft order is determined.
There is also the issue of the salary cap for 2020-2021, which was originally planned at $ 84 million, but should now be set at $ 81.5 million or less.
“The draft serves many different purposes by giving the GMs the tools to build their lineup for next year, other than just drafting seven rounds of players,” said Walsh. “The cap teams – the Torontos, the Tampas – will have to make at least one big contract to make it work. And the time to do so is at the draft. But you can’t do it in a first week or scenario in the second week of June where you don’t know if the season is canceled or if we’re really going to come back to play. “
Daly said the NHL has still not decided when to allow players to return to the team training facility for small group training, which would be the first step towards a return. The league continues to work internally and with the NHL Players’ Association on a variety of scenarios, including resuming in three or four empty NHL arenas and postponing the start of next season in December.
With that in mind, Los Angeles general manager Rob Blake said the Kings were “pretty comfortable with either scenario” of the project that would happen in June or later. Many of his colleagues are in the same boat.
“We will have to work with it, of course,” said Blake. “The only thing we are sure of is that nothing will be the status quo, so whether it is before June or later, you will have to make the necessary adjustments. “