NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2020
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.
NHL’S PROPOSED PLAN FOR THE 2020 DRAFT
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.
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.
LATEST ON THE NHL’S PLANS TO RESUME THE SEASON
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.
My understanding on why the #NHL is still considering completion of the regular season despite the fact it is roughly 85% complete & time will be of the essence in any re-start:
Twelve U.S.-based clubs have Fox regional TV deals & those deals stipulate that regular season games
— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) May 1, 2020
I asked the Canada Border Services Agency if non-Canadian athletes would be allowed to fly/drive here in coming weeks for training or games. CBSA: “If the reason they are seeking entry is not considered essential under the current restrictions, they would not be allowed.” — Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) May 1, 2020
IN OTHER NEWS…
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.