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NHL Draft in June feels probable; Teams hoping to train in May

April 24, 2020, 12:22 PM ET [39 Comments]
Happy Friday Hockey World!

With the success of the NFL Draft last night, and the logistics of NHL scouts contracts running out July 1, all signs point strongly to the NHL holding its Draft in June. The early TV Ratings last night for the NFL Draft were indeed staggering with night 1 garnering a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49 and 6.1 million viewers. That's up from a 2019 1.1 rating and 4.5 million total viewers. And remember that is JUST TV viewers. The online/streaming numbers are likely to be mind-boggling. That's a ton of money and a ton of publicity for a sport league that isn't sure it will be able to even have a season. And this was a DRAFT.

So the NHL will be touching base with its teams today and pushing hard for the teams to relent and hold the Draft in June, before the teams get to finish out their seasons...The push will also be to do this in early June, which puts a big strain on teams who haven't been planning for the move. And early indications were MOST NHL teams don't want to hold it in June at all...especially earlier in June.

But the NHL is in dire need of momentum and in the end I don't see any way the owners won't agree and hold the Draft in early June.

Talking to a team source yesterday he was already resolved to it. "It will be tricky but it has to happen. We told everyone on staff that we were now going to double up on meetings. We aren't even questioning that the Draft will be in June. We just aren't sure when in June at this point."

This makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways.

The NHL has put out a tentative mid-May call to bring the players back together with informal workouts with the intention of a June training camp. That story was broken yesterday by the NY Post.

My source confirmed and clarified. "We know it will be hard for some of the players to get back together in May....with many being dispersed around the world...but the idea is to let them know we need them in shape and thinking of ways to get back by June. It is going to be a hard ramp-up because no matter how hard you work out, getting back into "hockey shape" doesn't happen until you hit the ice. And that will likely be mid June..."

And that will be a story and keep teams on their busy. So that is why the NHL wants an early June story like the Draft to rescue the momentum ahead of time. Which makes a ton of sense..

In regards to my idea that I floated yesterday...That the NHL should open up the current trade deadline again until the end of the draft, I was told that "none of those types of decisions has yet been made, but the NHL was fully expecting to be forced to make some creative choices in the same vein."

All this is GREAT news for us hockey fans who are in dire need of hockey news! So stay tuned...It really feels like we have hit the bottom and are on our way back to some fun around here!

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