2020 NHL Draft lottery: Sharks avoid nightmare scenario in wild event

2020 NHL Draft lottery: Sharks avoid nightmare scenario in wild event

For a while there, the 2020 NHL Draft lottery was going about as terribly as possible for the Sharks.

Though they learned from the start that a placeholding team currently involved in the league's return-to-play format landed one of the top three picks, the next phase of developments painted a disaster scenario for San Jose.

The top eight picks in the draft were determined in reverse order, with the first big surprise occurring at No. 5 overall. The Ottawa Senators' first-round selection had the second-best odds of landing No. 1 overall, but instead they received the fifth pick.

That was followed by another major surprise, as the Detroit Red Wings -- who had the best odds in the entire league of landing the No. 1 overall pick -- came in at No. 4. That meant that the selections belonging to the Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and the mystery team -- in some order -- would be the first three picks in the draft.

Normally, that would have been a great thing for San Jose. But with its first-round pick already belonging to Ottawa as part of the Erik Karlsson trade, the Sharks surely were hoping their selection landed as far back in the draft order as possible, so as to lessen the value they ultimately gave up in the trade. Additionally, they definitely didn't want the division rival Kings to land the top pick.

But with the top three selections still to be revealed, there was a solid chance the Sharks' and Kings' selections would have ended up first and second overall. If that played out, regardless of the order, it would have been a terrible result for San Jose.

Alas, in what has truly been a year of ridiculously bad luck for the Sharks, something finally bounced their way. 

First, San Jose's own selection landed at No. 3 overall. Though it belongs to the Senators, that wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. In fact, the best possible scenario would have seen their pick land at No. 6. Had it landed No. 1 -- where consensus top prospect Alexis Lafreniere is expected to be picked -- it would have left the door open for the Sharks to wonder, 'What if?'

San Jose's good news didn't end there. With only the top two selections left to be determined, the league revealed the No. 1 overall pick belonged to the placeholder team that is involved in the return-to-play qualifying round. That meant that the Kings' first-round pick landed at No. 2 overall.

That's a mighty fine asset for Los Angeles, but the consensus is that there's a large drop-off in talent after Lafreniere, and assuming he goes No. 1 overall, that likely means he won't be in the Sharks' division.

Likely, but not certain. That's because the eight teams that lose in the qualifying round will be included in Phase 2 of the draft lottery, with the No. 1 overall pick belonging to its winner. That surely wasn't the result the NHL had hoped for when establishing the draft lottery format, but then again, not much has gone the way the league expected it would this season.

Among the eight Western Conference teams involved in the qualifying round are the Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames. Should any of them be eliminated in the qualifying round, they would then be in play to receive the No. 1 pick. All of those teams are in San Jose's division, so from the Sharks' perspective, they each ideally would advance past the qualifying round, thereby ruling out any chance of a Pacific Division team landing the top overall selection.

So, San Jose isn't out of the woods yet. But for a draft lottery that started out about as poorly as possible for the Sharks, it could have ended much, much worse.

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Furthermore, the 2020 draft lottery offered further vindication for San Jose general manager Doug Wilson in making the decision to trade the haul for Karlsson prior to the start of last season. The Sharks already had won that trade. That was never in question. But Friday's result further cements it.

You rightfully make that trade 100 times out of 100. Especially now, knowing the true value of the first-round pick.

How NHL's potential new labor deal could affect Sharks’ offseason plan

How NHL's potential new labor deal could affect Sharks’ offseason plan

The Sharks could be operating under a new NHL collective bargaining agreement soon, and it might have quite an impact on the franchise's future.

The NHL and the NHL Players Association are nearing an agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding for a new six-year labor deal that includes guidelines for the return of the 2019-20 season, TSN's Frank Seravalli reported Saturday.

The MOU must be ratified by both sides before it becomes official, but the potential deal includes some notes that surely will affect the Sharks this offseason.

For starters, it appears the league's salary cap will be frozen at $81.5 million, and remain there until the NHL's hockey-related revenue gets back to $4.8 billion, which was the initial projection for this season before the coronavirus pandemic forced a suspension of operations on March 12.

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San Jose ended the season with around $648,000 (per in available space, and with contracts expiring for players such as Joe Thornton, Melker Karlsson and Aaron Dell, a frozen salary cap could make re-signing those the team wants to bring back difficult.

Seravalli also noted that minimum contracts will rise $50,000 for next season, increasing to $750,000. It will stay there for four years, before rising to $775,000 in 2024-25, and $800,000 in 2025-26. So, young Sharks players such as Dylan Gambrell and Stefan Noesen, who played on minimum contracts, now are in line for raises of at least $50,000 going into next season.

The Sharks will look to turn things around entering the first full season of this potential new CBA, as they just finished last in the Pacific Division with just 63 points. But it appears the new labor deal might complicate San Jose's plan in some aspects.

Sharks' Tomas Hertl, wife Aneta expecting first child due in November

Sharks' Tomas Hertl, wife Aneta expecting first child due in November

I think we’re all due for some good news. So is Sharks’ All-Star center Tomas Hertl and his wife Aneta.

Aneta announced on her Instagram account the two are expecting a baby in November.

The first photo is the two of them posing together with the sonogram picture. The second is of a baby onesie with “Born in 2020” embroidered on it.

This is fresh off the couple's one-year wedding anniversary which, rumor has it, the big day was quite a fun time.

Back in May, Hertl spoke to the media about his rehab after tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee where he vowed he would be better than he was before. But he’ll have to wait.

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The Sharks will not be participating in the NHL’s a modified 24-team return-to-play format.

That’s OK though, he has something even better to look forward to … a baby Shark.