NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2020

by | May 2, 2020 | News, NHL | 20 comments

Details on the league’s proposal to stage the 2020 Draft next month before a potential resumption of the schedule, the Bruins re-sign Jaroslav Halak, an update on Brent Seabrook and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL issued a position paper Friday on the possibility of staging the draft next month. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly authored the report. Despite earlier pushback against a June draft before the resumption of the season, there’s a sense of resignation among the teams that this will happen.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly (Photo via NHL.com).

Daly indicated the league needs a month to prepare. It’s rumored the target date is June 5, meaning a decision will have to be reached by next week. Daly also said the broadcast networks are on board with the plan.

If the draft isn’t moved up, the best-case scenario would be a short window following awarding the Stanley Cup in September and before the start of 2020-21. The worst-case scenario is canceling the remainder of this season, after which the draft lottery and the draft itself would be held at an uncertain time before next season.

Regarding conditional trades, the league would propose solutions, such as both teams reforming the terms of the deal or accepting the league’s proposals. Team point percentage would be used to determine the order of selection, as well as changing the draft lottery format for this year only by picking just one winner and limiting any move-up to a maximum of four spots.

Friedman and Chris Johnston detailed potential lottery outcomes under that scenario. “Detroit would pick no lower than second. Ottawa (with San Jose’s top selection), could do no worse than three and four. New Jersey, Buffalo, Montreal, and Chicago couldn’t jump above two, three, four, and five, respectively.” A June draft would prevent teams from trading players they’ll need if the season resumes.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun took to Twitter reporting the league reviewed 15 trades involving conditional picks with playoff implications and would be ready to suggest solutions to each trade or have both teams agree to reform the terms of the trade that would be acceptable to both parties.

The league memo acknowledged most NHL general managers would prefer maintaining the status quo, meaning holding the draft after the season. The league will decide either way next week. There is a Board of Governors’ conference call slated for Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When Bettman and Daly first floated this idea last month, LeBrun was the first to say this would be something the teams should prepare for because it was likely going to happen. Unless the board of governors rejects this plan, or the league decides to scrap the season, we’ll see a modified virtual NHL draft sometime next month.

NHL headquarters want to hold the draft in June to drum up fan interest before resuming the season in July. Part of the fun of the draft for hockey fans is the possibility of established NHL players getting traded. Without that buzz, I’m not sure how long casual NHL fans will stick with following this year’s draft beyond the opening round.


NHL.COM: Daly indicated coronavirus testing is a key part of any plan agreed upon by the league and the NHL Players’ Association to resume the season. “We’re going to need to have access to testing, and we’re going to make it a point that we’re not accessing testing, even in a private way, if testing availability is an issue in the community,” he said. The actual protocol testing has yet to be determined.

The deputy commissioner said several NHL clubs have offered to host games if the league decides to play in centralized locations. He admitted Edmonton is among those in the mix.

He also indicated this situation could provide an opportunity for the league and the PA to resume negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. “While we’re not there substantively yet because we have a lot of other things we’re working on, I think there’s a willingness and an interest on both sides to pursue that.”

Daly said the league has told the players it understands their concerns about the possibility of long family separations if teams play in centralized locations. “We understand the importance of kind of family interaction, and we’ll find a way to accommodate that,” he said.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks cites sources claiming the league could be pivoting away from its centralized locations plan and is investigating the possibility of resuming games in its teams’ home cities after the players expressed their concerns about lengthy family separations.

“(This) would create an entire new set of issues for the league and union to confront and solve, most notable of which would be travel considerations and the means with which to test players and attendant personnel who live in disparate locations under divergent coronavirus-related government policies,” wrote Brooks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The best plan to resume the season remains four regionalized host cities in areas where COVID-19 cases are low and suitable testing protocols are in place. Trying to reopen the season in all 31 cities will be too difficult to pull off right now. 



NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins re-signed goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a one-year, $2.25-million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the Bruins want to keep their roster intact as much as possible for another shot at the Stanley Cup next season. The 34-year-old Halak has formed a solid goaltending tandem with starter Tuukka Rask. Without any suitable replacements within their pipeline, it made sense to keep him around for another season on an affordable deal.

The Bruins have over $63.5 million invested in 18 players for 2020-21. Defensemen Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, and Kevan Miller are their notable unrestricted free agents, while their restricted free agents include Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, and Anders Bjork.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook claims he’s feeling great after recovering from surgeries on both hips and his right shoulder earlier this season. He said he’s looking forward to skating again.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators re-signed defenseman Ben Harpur to a one-year, two-way contract.

NBC SPORTS: St. Louis Blues broadcaster John Kelly is donating plasma in hopes his antibodies will help other battling COVID-19. He contracted the illness in March but has been symptom-free for over five weeks.


  1. I repeat here that I am against draft B4 cup if season/playoffs do in fact resume.

    However , one of the *worst case scenarios (see below) is mitigated if they do as proposed above (1 lottery winner; max move is 4 slots)

    Worst scenario I had thought of under current rules:

    A team currently outside of playoffs wins lottery (Lafrenierre) , then goes on a surge, gets into playoffs , and miraculously goes on to win cup

    The reverse (less likely but still crappy)… as is Blues pick 30 th but get bounced in 4

    • Pengy, when the final draft formula is introduced it’s guaranteed that some of us in these pages will be “against it.”

      Which begs the question “so what?” What can we possibly do about it except bitch?

      • Hi George


        … and we collectively here are certainly good at bitching about things

        Guarantee that there will be dissenters and I canNOT guarantee that I won’t be one of them

        Give me a scenario where Lafrenierre goes to Pens; Drysdale to Leafs; and the ‘20 SC is between Pens and Leafs and literally played in my own backyard (literally my family’s backyard)…. and you will not hear a complaint from me 😁

  2. Re:

    “ Larry Brooks cites sources claiming the league could be pivoting away from its centralized locations plan and is investigating the possibility of resuming games in its teams’ home cities after the players expressed their concerns about lengthy family separations.”

    To me that is the most far-fetched… resuming full season; games played in all team’s arenas…. the travel back and forth between cities (and countries) with so many vast unknowns re restrictions; lifting restrictions; etc etc …. with agreements/approvals by NHLPA, NHL, two national governments, a plethora of state/provincial and municipal approvals???

    I just don’t see it

    It was only a very short time ago that roll-back 68 was seriously discussed and now he’s inferring the possibility of resuming in ALL sites????

    Larry… how many 🍷🥂🥃🍺🍸🍻🍹have you had?

    • Brooks was merely citing sources, he wasn’t suggesting this. While I’ve had my issues with Mr. Brooks in the past, he is among the best-connected writers in the NHL, especially with the NHLPA.

      That being said, I agree that the idea of resuming play in all 31 NHL cities in the current environment won’t work. It’s got to be in four centralized sites or not at all.

      • Thanks Lyle and duly Noted …. sorry about that…. I need to/should have coffee and read more carefully B4 posting

        My correct/updated statement should read

        Source(s) ….. how many 🥂🍻🍸🥃🍺🍹🍷…. LOL

        Yes …. 4 centralized locations …. 👍🙏

  3. Leave to the NHL to make a complicated system even more complicated. A big part of this is that scouts contracts end June 30 so NHL doesn’t want draft July 1 or after. So what are they saying, do they know that Juniors and colleges won’t be playing so why bother to resign scouts ? I see NFL is cutting back on staff and they are due to start training camp mid July, what does that tell you ?

    Draft – get over this insane thought of getting all 31 teams back into training camp, too complicated.
    Cancel the regular season and pick the 16 playoff teams like NOW. These 15 teams can now not have to worry about getting players from Europe here, train, play 10-15 games etc.
    These 15 teams can also get ready for draft on June 26. They can even trade within their group as their season is over.
    Go ahead with that stupid F-ing lottery ball for the 15 as you have in the past.
    Make the playoffs best of 5 starting June 1. That means you can complete the first round in a week if you go 2 games back to back, day off, two games back to back, day off game 5 if need.
    If on June 1 still cannot play, cancel first round and 8 lowest seeds go home and are ranked to get picks 16-23.
    Next round starts June 8 best of 5
    If that’s cancelled then it’s down to 4 teams
    Next round starts June 15 best of five
    Finals start June 22, so by June 26 you will have all but the final 2 draft positions decided 30 & 31 and if the finals don’t start, well then that means NHL really won’t be playing summer hockey anyway.

    No reason not to hold the draft late June and for teams to make trades. July 1 they can then moth ball staffs etc because that’s what seems to be the plan anyway. So just what is CFL doing and
    aren’t they suppose to be playing late May. If CFL with 9 teams in ONE country can’t figure it out, forget NHL playing in two countries getting it right.

    • The CFL is pretty much screwed this year. Unlike other pro leagues, what they get in terms of TV money is negligible when it comes to overall expenses. They are gate-driven and if there are no bums in the seats they lose a small fortune. Which none of them can afford to do.

      I see this season gone for sure – and if they do get to play in 2021 it will be with 10 teams with the emergence of the Halifax franchise. There’s even talk that, by 2022, they could be up to 12 with a franchise in Quebec City and another in Kitchener-Waterloo or London.

      • Would love to see the CFL expand George. I’m a fan and attend all the AB games when the Riders come to EDM & CGY. It’s like a reunion for us Sask folks as there is so my of us here.
        Quebec and the Maritimes have a good university football history and I think they will embrace the CFL.

      • Same here Ray. About a year ago I also heard some musing about Victoria being a possible addition. Vancouver Island’s estimated population is close to 890,000 with some 402,000 in greater Victoria. Another 100,000 live in and around Nanaimo, just over an hour away.

        That would put 6 teams in the west and, if Quebec City joins with Halifax down the line, 6 in the east.

      • Ray & George

        Huge CFL fan here

        Have not missed watching a Grey Cup since ‘72

        Evenhad a tryout with Argos …. they somehow thought two giys named Holloway and Barnes were better QBs; and personal morals prevented me from trying out for TiCats

        I watch all games now (4 each week) .., not just Argos … all

        Have missed only 3 CFL games in last 10 years …. PVR issues☹️

        Had season tickets up to first year of BMO field … don’t like it

        If the year is toast ….. 😭😭😭😭

      • My links to the CFL go way back when it was known east and west as the Big Four and the WIFU, and in the mix for the Grey Cup – up to 1955 – was the ORFU.

        I played in the QRFU for several seasons and once attended the early season camp of the Ottawa Roughriders as “cannon fodder” during the early Jackson years. It was quite the experience.

    • Boom/Bust, I know I have stated this before, but the players don’t want to jump right into playoffs after a brief camp and straight to intense playoff hockey, let alone back to backs in the first round. The ones that have spoken up have all said the same thing. Makes sense to me.
      If you are going to do this do it right or don’t do it at all.
      I don’t like the idea of the draft before the season is over for the reasons Caper makes below. Perhaps the league saw what the ratings were for the NFL draft and want to hold it before there is competition with other sports.

  4. Excellent signing by Boston maybe one last kick at the Cup

    Draft before the playoffs is not for me. There won’t be any player movement zero interest.

    Don’t get why it is so important to have the draft first.

    Have the draft then season cancel, then what happens to them deadline draft pick deals?

    Really am getting ready to have the season canceled.

    Its a lot to ask for players to stay away from their families for a couple of months.

    • Agree on all that Caper, but I’m starting to think the odds of the season finishing are actually going up as we get more data now that sample testing is finally being ramped up in the general population.

      • Agree Ray, I believe Bettman and Fehr are going to make it happen, even though a some players are against it.

  5. Conditional draft picks are not as big a deal as teams/pundits are making it seem. Teams made the trades having done the calculus that they were willing to lose those picks because the other team or player met the conditions. You do not make a trade if you are bothered that the conditions are met. You rolled the dice, sometimes it comes up snake eyes…too bad for you. You paid your money and took your chance.

    The season is over once the draft is scheduled to take place. Just call it and look for a complete 2020-2021 season.

    Rank teams based on their standings after the first 68 games. Award conditional picks related to standings based on where they they would be projected to finish (playoffs) .

    Player performance picks should be based on pro-rated numbers assuming appearance in all remaining games and all games played to that point.

    If the season resumes it should only be the teams deemed playoff teams (based on 68 game numbers) and they play for the right to hoist the Cup.

    • Have to disagree with you Habsfan1, these picks are a big deal, teams gave up these assets in pursuit of the cup and if there is no cup, then they would want a do over.

      Trade for a ufa for a deep playoff run, but no play offs, yes I want my picks back and you can have your ufa.

      • Unless you’re the Islanders and signed that UFA (Pageau) to a 6-year deal.

      • Would you feel the same if the players traded for had a catastrophic injury in their first practice wit the new team and never played in any games for their new teams? Not really different at all. Dis agree with that? Fair, but why? Honestly how is it different?