Colorado Avalanche: Reaction to the June Draft Proposal

The Colorado Avalanche have six picks in the 2020 NHL Draft. They may be making those selections virtually in June.

The Colorado Avalanche would have the following selections if the 2020 NHL Draft took place according to the current standings:

#27
#80
#120
#151
#167
#213

That’s a pretty decent haul for a team that’s more about challenging for the Cup now rather than building for the future.

Well, in this strangest of seasons, the draft could take place before the current season is over. The NHL sent out position papers to all 31 NHL teams about the possibility of holding a June draft. This comes about 10 days after the NHL held a conference call with those same GMs.

According to Sportsnet, the draft could be as soon as Friday, June 5. That would actually put the draft three weeks earlier than the original date of June 26-27. But then, that draft was waiting for the Stanley Cup Finals to finish.

The rationale for holding the draft so soon is two-fold. For one, the sports world is desperate for content. The virtual NFL Draft that took place a couple weeks ago was a huge success. The NHL would love to piggy-back on that.

The other rationale is that this year’s draft represents something that could never be compared to other drafts. No matter what the NHL does, it’s going to be a one-off.

To be honest, the first rationale is the only one that’s real. The second is a response to teams’ real concerns.

One concern is that many teams have conditional trades on the books, the condition relating either to the playoffs or to whether the current team signs the player. Neither of those conditions can be fully met under the current circumstances.

Another concern is that the team that wins the Draft Lottery under the current format could make a run if the season resumes and make the playoffs. They could even go on to win the Stanley Cup. That scenario is unlikely, but them, so is the bottom three teams losing out on the top three prospects because of the current draft lottery format. It’s happened twice in the last three years.

Finally, many teams make trades during the draft, trading players for picks in the current lottery. They often do so as a salary dump or to get rid of a player they no longer need. Teams will be hesitant to do that in case they need that player for a playoff run.

The NHL addressed the first two concerns. They would serve as arbiters in the case of conditional trades. The teams could either reform the proposal or accept the deal as-is. For this season only, the NHL would change the lottery format so that only one team moves up, and no team could move up more than four spots.

As for the third considerations? That’s where the whole “We’re in unprecedented times” argument comes in. In other words, suck it up for this one time, please.

I don’t mind the NHL’s proposal. Frankly, it’s a bit more of a gamble than the NHL usually takes — they’re usually so cautious. But, yeah, the season could well resume, and the final standings could be very different from how teams drafted. We could spend the next 20 years arguing over who should have had which player if the draft had stayed when it was supposed to — after the awarding of the Stanley Cup.

That rabble-rousing alone makes me want to hold the draft next month.

If the season can resume, it’s going to have a timeline that sees players unofficially return to the ice in mid- to late-May, take training camp for a couple weeks in June, and play for the Stanley Cup into September. Whether that happens or not, the 2020-21 NHL season will probably start in December because the NHL doesn’t want those regular season games played in empty arenas. (In other words, whether this season resumes or not has little bearing on when the 2020-21 season will begin.)

The NHL Draft would have to be shoe-horned in right after the awarding of the Stanley Cup.

Next: Makar Could Be Captain

What do you think of a June draft? Do you think it really matters to who the Colorado Avalanche are going to pick? As GMs said in the article — the NHL seems to have already made their minds up anyway.

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