After indications earlier in the month that the NHL was favoring a June draft, little has come out of that so far. However, that may change soon. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun (subscription required) writes that NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly indicated a decision should come shortly and likely will be part of the discussion with the NHL Board of Governors at their meeting on Monday afternoon.
A June draft before the NHL 2019-20 season ends has become a controversial discussion since introduced with the general belief that many GMs are against conducting a draft in the middle of the season. However, LeBrun notes that the draft does not need an official Board of Governors vote, meaning that if commissioner Gary Bettman believes it will be in the NHL’s best interest in conducting the draft in June, it can happen that way.
- In the same article, LeBrun adds that the NHL must come up with a timeline for Phase 2, which would lift the ban of self-isolation and players can start using team facilities in small groups. That would also start the process of NHL players living in Europe returning to their NHL cities and beginning their own self-quarantines. There are a number of players who are opposed to return to action anytime soon, however, and may not be thrilled with the idea of returning to their NHL squads, which could risk their health and their families.
- LeBrun, in a separate article, writes that 15 cities showed interest in becoming hub cities for a four-site playoff plan. The NHL has already informed some of those cities that they have been eliminated with eight or nine teams still in the mix. There are still some major cities still under consideration, including Las Vegas, Edmonton, Vancouver, Minnesota and Toronto. The Athletic’s Scott Burnside (subscription required) writes that the plan would be that 12 teams in each conference would go to the playoffs, which would be split into groups of six. Each group of six teams would end up in that host city throughout the playoffs, although if an NHL team’s city is a hub city, then that team would not be allowed to play there, meaning the Maple Leafs would not be allowed to play in Toronto and the Golden Knights wouldn’t play in Vegas.
- One potential possibility that could get underway soon would be NHL awards. With a playoff format likely be announced soon, whether it be a 20-team playoff or a 24-team format, LeBrun writes that it will likely end the season of non-playoff teams. The NHL would likely take advantage of that by beginning voting for regular season awards and start producing finalists and winners to begin promoting the NHL while play remains on suspension.