With many junior leagues shut down throughout the world and playing time being limited for up-and-coming draft prospects due to the pandemic, there is talk of making some changes to the upcoming draft format.
According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, there is talk that the NHL may be considering having a prospect showcase tournament in which 2021 draft prospects from around the world could play in several games in order to showcase their skills.
“They’re looking for ideas for what you do with all these draft-eligible players, many of whom haven’t played at all this season anywhere that NHL teams can see,” Johnston said Saturday during Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment. “One thing that has been discussed is a tournament, a series of games, what have you, at some point in the spring, in which those players could play. Obviously you could invite scouts or have them watch from a safe distance through video, but it might be a way to get some eyeballs on these guys, because it’s been a tough year on those teenagers, too.”
The NHL draft, which currently is scheduled for July 23 & 24, is also likely to be pushed back. Last year’s draft was pushed back to October and something similar is possible this year, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
“I think there are teams out there that would be interested in seeing the draft moved back to December or January instead of this July,” Friedman said during Saturday’s segment. “And I think there’s also a couple of teams … [discussing] the possibility of doing two drafts next June — a late ’02 and an ’03 draft on one day, and then maybe a few days later, an ’03 and an ’04 draft. I don’t know what the decision is going to be, but these are some of the ideas that are coming back to the league.”
Of course, nothing has been decided and any changes would have to be approved by the NHLPA as well.