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2020 NHL Draft: Decision coming soon on early-June draft; could be a ‘toss-up’

While the NHL tries to figure out how to resume play, the league faces other tough questions, including a prominent one: the possibility of holding the 2020 NHL Draft in June. With it already being May 13, it makes sense that the clock is ticking on the NHL running an early-June draft.

Some interesting information trickled from the “Return to Play Committee” meeting from Tuesday, and other discussions.

Bill Daly told the Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun that the NHL expects a decision on an early-June draft as early as this week, but most likely sometime next week (sub required).

” ... I do anticipate, obviously, at some point, whether it’s this week or next week, probably more likely next week, you’re going to have to make a decision,” Daly said. “But nothing is imminent.”

More from Dreger, LeBrun on possible early-June NHL Draft

Both LeBrun and Darren Dreger have captured the shifting moods around the NHL regarding an early-June draft.

Following Daly’s quote, LeBrun expressed a belief that the shifts went this way:

  • May 1: A memo went around to the NHL’s 31 teams, making an early-June draft seem like a “done deal.”
  • Recent Board of Governors meeting: However, objections from GMs slowed momentum down, now making it seem more like a “toss-up.”

While appearing on “Our Line Starts” this week, Darren Dreger depicted shifts in mood, too. Dreger said that negative reactions were “swift” about the idea of an early-June draft, but the feeling changed as the league made it seem like an early-June draft was important. From the way Dreger describes things, it almost sounds like there was a feeling of resignation from certain NHL GMs.

Echoing LeBrun’s feeling of an early-June draft being a “toss-up,” Dreger ultimately views the discussion as a 50/50 split.

So ... I guess we’ll see, and possibly soon?

As Dreger and others note, an early-June draft would present the NHL with a lot of tricky, sometimes granular questions. If you can’t make trades, you don’t just hurt the buzz of the 2020 NHL Draft. You also make it tougher for teams to move around money, “get younger,” and do other things that are sometimes accomplished most efficiently during draft weekend.

(Naturally, whatever offseason situation that came about would still provide opportunities ... just maybe not in the concentrated way you’d get during draft weekend.)

[PHT Power Rankings: Allowing trades and other ways to spice up a virtual, early-June draft]

Figuring out how to handle conditional draft picks from trades could be especially funky. What about trades where the pick gets bumped up a round -- or more -- depending upon how a team fares during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs?

It all inspires the question: would it really be worth it to hold an early-June draft, or would it be better to run the 2020 NHL Draft sometime after the conclusion of 2019-20?

Dreger on Our Line Starts

You can check out Dreger’s full appearance on “Our Line Starts” in several ways.

For one thing, you can experience the full episode in video from in the clip above this post’s headline. If you prefer audio-only, consider the options below.

Dreger discussed the following topics:

0:30-4:45 When will Phase 2 of NHL’s return begin?
4:45-7:35 Importance of testing, integrating families into restart plan
7:35-10:20 Long term future of salary cap, player compensation
11:15-13:35 Latest on hub city plan
13:35-14:35 24-team playoff format appears to be the frontrunner
14:35-17:00 Realistic target date to resume the season?
17:00-20:47 Will draft occur before season resumes, or after?

Where else you can listen:




NBC Sports on YouTube:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.