NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed Wednesday that the league is considering holding its draft in June, before a conclusion to the 2019-20 season is reached.
Daly told Bruce Garrioch of The Ottawa Sun that a June draft would likely use points percentage to determine the selection order, which would keep the top 11 odds in the lottery unchanged from the standings on the day the league paused on March 12. Based on last year's lottery odds, the last-place Detroit Red Wings would own an 18.5 per cent chance of picking No. 1, followed by the Ottawa Senators with their own pick at 13.5 per cent and then again at 11.5 per cent with the pick they acquired from the San Jose Sharks as part of the Erik Karlsson trade.
The Winnipeg Jets, who are currently in a playoff spot based on points, would move up to the 12th-best odds in the draft lottery based on points percentage, while the Vancouver Canucks' selection - currently owned by the New Jersey Devils - would drop out of the lottery to No. 17, behind the Calgary Flames.
“The most likely metric would be the teams’ points percentage at the time of the pause in terms of determining draft order. There are other ways to do it and there are even alternative ways to do it using points percentage,” Daly said. “But, at the end of the day, it would be objective, fair and a fair measure of what a draft is supposed to do, which is advantage the teams who need the most help from a talent standpoint.
“We could preserve the intent of the draft with it coming early, but like I said nothing’s going to be perfect. There’s always ways you wish were going to be better, but you just don’t have the opportunity to make them better.”
Garrioch adds that Daly noted to him that holding the draft in June could benefit teams selecting European players. If the draft were held in September, players in Europe would already be starting their season when selected, potentially diminishing the chances of them moving to the NHL for next season.
TSN Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli explored the difficulties of holding the draft before the season ends on Tuesday, including what to do with conditional picks and whether trades involving active players would be allowed.