The National Hockey League sent a memo to governors and general managers Friday making a case for holding the 2020 NHL Draft before any resumption to the 2019-20 season.
In the eight-page document, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the league would need a “one-month lead-in” to pull off a virtual draft, which means the earliest the draft could be held would be in early June.
The NHL outlined the benefit of scheduling a draft in early June to “execute a major fan-friendly hockey event during a time where there is likely to be no (or very limited) live sports competition”.
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie detailed Daly’s bullish view of holding a draft in early June on the April 23 edition of Insider Trading. During the same segment, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun solicited feedback from 28 NHL front offices with a majority opposed to the idea or at least having mixed feelings about it.
The NHL acknowledges in the memo that a majority of GM’s have indicated a desire to keep the “status-quo”, meaning a draft that would follow at the end of the 2019-20 season.
Among the concerns for holding an early draft are the complications posed by trades which include conditions for draft picks based on season-ending and playoff outcomes. The NHL says it has reviewed the 15 trades that involve conditional picks with playoff implications and would be ready to suggest solutions to each trade or have both teams agree to “reform the trade on terms acceptable to both teams.”
For draft order selection, teams would be ranked by using points percentage and the 15 non-playoff teams under this format would be entered into the Draft Lottery.
The NHL also outlined the possibility of returning for this year only to the old lottery format which determined just one winner and that winner could not move up more than four positions.
Under the format, the Detroit Red Wings would be guaranteed a top-2 pick. The Ottawa Senators are guaranteed draft picks of no worse than No. 3 and No. 4. The Montreal Canadiens, currently at No. 8, could move no higher than No. 4 with a lottery win, but fall no lower than No. 9.
The NHL is holding a Board of Governors meeting on Monday. The memo said no decision will be made at that time.
Expectations, however, have been that there will be a decision on the 2020 draft sometime in the coming week.