The 2021 NHL Entry Draft is not expected to be moved, deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed today during his media availability with Gary Bettman. The reported changes concerning the lottery will be put to a full board of governors vote next week after the executive committee approved it recently. The full draft event, which is scheduled for July 23-24, will happen without the benefit of a full year of in-person scouting and could certainly provide some fireworks.
More notes from the availability today:
- The league is expecting to return to the previous divisional alignment next season, though there will still be the change of the Arizona Coyotes moving to the Central Division and the Seattle Kraken debuting in the Pacific. While there has been some excitement about the new geographic rivalries created this season, the plan has always been to go back to the previous divisions once things got back to normal.
- On the note of the Kraken, Bettman explained that both the rink in Seattle and the one on Long Island are on schedule to open in time to start the 2021-22 season. Climate Pledge Arena (Kraken) and UBS Arena (Islanders) will give updated homes and new destinations while hopefully providing some stability for the two franchises.
- When asked about where the winner of the North Division will play once the NHL is down to four teams in the playoffs, Daly explained there is still some time before a decision has to be made. The Conference Finals round is scheduled for some time in mid-June, meaning they won’t have to make a decision on whether the Canadian team will have to come to the U.S. to play for a while yet.