Recently, the NHL released a potential proposal for the NHL Draft. While the restrictions posed by COVID-19 continue to tarnish people’s hopes of play resuming, the Draft is still a significant factor in the NHL’s season that can’t be ignored.
In this proposed plan, the NHL Draft would be held in early June, which is earlier than the drafts in recent years, which tend to happen in the third to last week of June. This would mean that the draft would be held before play resuming for the 2019-20 NHL season. Many questions can be raised if this plan were to go through, yet some have already been answered.
The mystery surrounding the draft lottery was already addressed, as the draft lottery would significantly benefit bottom-feeding teams, only allowing one team to move up. This would be different than the current system in place, where picks one through three are up to luck. This change would significantly benefit the Ottawa Senators, who currently own the second and third overall picks, due to the Erik Karlsson trade.
Added onto the benefits for the Senators and Red Wings, teams not near the bottom, such as the Montreal Canadiens would not be able to jump to number one, as each team has a specific cap on movement depending on their final placements. The final placements are thought to be by point percentage rather than the number of points teams have currently.
While many can say this is an abrupt and unfair change, Bill Daly has stated that because of the uncertainty of various situations due to COVID-19, this would not be the only change.
If the NHL entry draft were to be held before the season, questions have to be asked on whether trades would be permitted. Lots of draft-day trades happen each year, whether it is minuscule trades moving up a few picks, to blockbuster trades like the J.T Miller trade at last year’s draft.
The potential scenario where no trades, or no trades involving active roster players, can be a cause for concern for all types of teams. It can be a poor reality for the bottom-feeding teams, hoping to shed an expiring contract a year out for an extra first-round pick in this year’s star-studded draft.
For teams near the top of the NHL, the draft can be a time to acquire talent and shed disastrous contracts, giving up sums of draft picks in the process. As stated before, Bill Daly says that these changes have to happen to the times we are currently in, it still poses the question as to whether many general managers will be on board with this creative solution.
For a team like the Islanders, the draft will still be important, but not as important considering they lack their first-round pick due to the Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade and second round pick due to the Andy Greene trade. Regardless, draft day trades are still important to the Isles as they look to contend for a Stanley Cup.
While the NHL struggles to come up with fair, sensible solutions, it should be in their best interest to make these changes with the safety of the players, along with logical reasoning behind them as well.