For weeks now we have been hearing rumblings that the National Hockey League was looking to rush out it's annual NHL Entry Draft and host the event in early June in spite of all the concerns surrounding such a move given the current global crisis. The potential move has been one that has been heavily criticized but it seemed inevitable that the NHL would move forward with the plan, although now things may have changed.
According to a report today from David Pagnotta of SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, the latest rumblings around the league would see the draft take place much later in the year than expected. Not only does it now sound like the NHL Entry Draft is going to be pushed back all the way to the month of September, but according to Pagnotta this latest development could also result in the NHL's free agency period being pushed back several months as well.
Talk around the league suggests the NHL Draft will take place after the Stanley Cup is awarded, which would appear to be in early-to-mid September. Following a mid-to-end-of-September Draft would be free agency throughout October (the new off-season), and training camps would get going in November. There is also talk of starting the 2020-21 season without fans if an antibody or vaccine isn’t available, but that’s still premature at this point (though, still on everyone’s mind).
This news comes fresh off the heels of a report earlier today that suggests the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players Union have made significant progress in negotiations with their Return to Play Committee, a sign that plans may be coming together to resume the season.
Sources indicate the Return To Play Committee has talked throughout the weekend, NHL-NHLPA making progress on a 24-team format. Sources also stressing there's still work to be done, but clearly the weekend has produced some traction. More talks expected over next day or two.
Again, tough to handicap at this point whether a format gets agreed upon this week or not but definite progress. A reminder that the NHL has a Board of Governors call Monday at 3 p.m. ET; and that the league may announce decision on the draft this week.
Lots of things are happening, sound like we could hear more after the NHL's Board of Governors meeting on Monday.