Holding NHL draft in early June makes no sense

  • NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly announced in a memo Friday that the league would like to hold the draft in June.

    NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly announced in a memo Friday that the league would like to hold the draft in June. AP File Photo

Updated 5/4/2020 7:55 PM

We all know sports leagues are throwing a lot of things against the wall right now to see what sticks.

Some of it makes some sense; other stuff, not so much.


The latest plan to come out of the NHL has to do with holding the draft a month from now, even with the season still in limbo.

Here's the gist of it:

• On Friday, the league sent a memo out that told 31 teams it would like to hold the draft in June, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly wrote that networks are OK with a potential draft date of June 5.

• Draft position would be determined based on points percentage.

• There would be just one winner of the draft lottery, meaning teams could only fall one spot. So Detroit -- which has the worst points percentage -- would be guaranteed the No. 1 or 2 pick.

• Only five clubs could end up with the top pick because teams can move up a maximum of four spots. That means the Blackhawks, who have the ninth-worst points percentage, could draft no higher than fifth.

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• Conditional picks are an issue, so the league is recommending teams take seven days to try and work out compromises that work for both franchises. If an impasse occurs, the league will step in with a solution.

Why the league is rushing to have a draft is beyond me. If it's just to create a storyline for a few days, then the NHL is skating on very thin ice indeed.

Steve Yzerman, the Red Wings' GM, agrees. He went on a Facebook Live chat on Thursday and said: "Why would you need to do that? There's a lot of things that are affected, obviously.

"The draft position hasn't been established; we don't know who's in the playoffs, who's out of the playoffs, in some cases. ... I haven't heard a good reason why we should do it prior to the end of the season -- if we do conclude the season over the course of the summer."


A request to speak with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman was denied, with a spokesman saying, "It's not our place to be commenting on any decisions that would originate and be announced by the league."

Travis Yost and Micah Blake McCurdy posted the lottery odds on Twitter on Monday afternoon. According to their calculations, the Red Wings have a 57% chance to land the top pick. Their previous odds were 19%. Ottawa (14%), San Jose (12%), Los Angeles (10%) and Anaheim (9%) are the other teams that could land the top pick.

The Blackhawks would have a 5% chance to move up to No. 5, an 84% chance to stay at No. 9 and an 11% chance to drop to No. 10.

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