For the past few weeks, the National Hockey League has worked hard at trying to convince teams to hold the Draft earlier in June, in a virtual manner, of course.
However, with the 2019-20 season still on holds and no official final standings to determine lottery odds, several teams were against the idea of holding the draft before the end of the official campaign and during the uncertainty of the pandemic.
It seems like the negative comments from those clubs might have finally gotten to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman as Bob McKenzie reported on last night’s Insider Trading on TSN that the idea of holding an early draft could be dead in the water.
“Well, it’s not officially dead, but it may well be on life support. The NHL still thinks it’s a great idea to do the June draft, but obviously the widespread support isn’t there. I think the NHL is starting to get the idea that the time, the effort and the political capital that would be required to convince enough teams that it is a good idea, might not be worth it. No official word until next week, but it’s starting to look a little more pessimistic on that front.”
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also noted in his latest 31 Thoughts column that several teams wants the postseason to come to an end before a draft can take place, as it usually does.
“The note promised 30 days notice, so we’ve slipped by the June 5–6 date. The league could go back to its original date of June 26–27, but online. However, there is a growing sense that the league office is backing away from this fight. On the Board of Governors call three days after that memo, it’s believed that approximately half the teams indicated they were completely against doing it before the end of the playoffs. Even more of an issue was there weren’t many teams willing to fight for doing it early.”
While we have no clue yet when the draft would take place, it seems that most general managers will be relieved if the NHL does decide to postpone the event.