NHL 2020 Draft New Releases And Free Agency Schedule
As the COVID-19 pandemic blurs the future, the NHL is forced to make additional changes to its return-to-play plans. The league once again adjusted its calendar following the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
From the reports of Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the 2020 NHL Draft will now take place virtually from October 6 to 7. Succeeding that, the free agency will begin on October 9. The draft was initially scheduled to begin on October 9 and end the next day, as announced by the league for their return-to-play plans prior to the bubble. Pre-pandemic, the live draft was scheduled to take place in June at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
The initial dates were part of several announcements made by the NHL in July, including the agreed four-year extension to the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement following the start of Phase 3 in the league’s return-to-plan plans. Adjustments are expected as NHL Commissioner Gary Bruce Bettman said earlier that the timing and final schedule will only be finalized as they go along.
“There’s a reason that we’re not giving you dates now…Because anybody can give you a date is guessing. We think we’d rather take a more holistic approach to doing this,” Brettman said in an interview concerning the NHL’s return-to-play plans.
At present time, the league is concluding the conference finals in Edmonton and Toronto, the two hub cities for this season. The Vegas Golden Knights are in a battle against the Dallas Stars in the West, while the Tampa Bay Lightning are facing the New York Islanders in the East. To put the 2020 NHL Draft into motion, the Stanley Cup Finals are expected to wrap up in early October. The draft and free agency period will immediately follow the finals.
The New York Rangers won the first draft pick after the second phase of the draft lottery last month. The team has a chance to take the projected top selection, Alexis Lafreniere. The rising star is a hockey player from Saint-Eustache and the former captain and MVP of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Rimouski Océanic.