The National Hockey League had indicated that players signed by teams in league during the stoppage in play would not be eligible for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the league embarks on its planned return to play, however that may not be true for much longer. Although nothing has been determined quite yet it sounds like the National Hockey League Players Association has pushed back on that issue and now there is actually some doubt about whether or not we might see some new faces in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This is a very big deal as it would cause a significant shift in power prior to the playoffs, with some relatively big names out there that previously would not have been able to play. There are too many examples to list but at or near the top of the list has to be defenseman Alexander Romanov of the Montreal Canadiens, a 20 year old that wowed professional and amateur scouts alike at the World Junior Championship tournament, and the same can be said of forward Kirill Kaprizov of the Minnesota Wild, a former fifth round pick that at 23 years of age has blossomed into one of the most dominant offensive threats in the Kontinental Hockey League. Should the league reverse its decision on this matter, both those players would absolutely be eligible and would almost certainly see ice time on their respective teams. It is easy to see why adding a player like Kaprizov, a young man who scored 33 goals while adding 29 assists for a total of 62 points in just 57 games last season would now be a controversial issue but I must admit it makes sense for the players as well.
These young men are now under contract with their respective organizations and as a result its not like they have the option to play professional hockey elsewhere while the NHL goes through this entire return to play process. As a result if these players are deemed ineligible we could be talking about many, many, months of time off for them at a period in their career that is crucial to their development as players and as young men.
No word yet on when an official decision will be made.