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Prospect and NHL Draft News: Virtual Preparation in 2020

Every NHL scouting staff has had to make adjustments for the 2020 draft, but not all them were bad.

Pierre Dorion Ottawa Senators

During a prior draft feature, we explored the Harsh Realities of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Like many major events since late March, Covid-19 has led to obvious limitations that will undoubtedly have an impact on this NHL draft. The biggest adjustment for NHL teams and their scouting staffs has been a major shift into preparing virtually for this draft.

Related: Prospect and NHL Draft News: Canadian Teams Draft Overview (Part II)

Not only will the entire 2020 draft be held virtually, but teams also had to rely on loads of prior video scouting to squeeze in last prospect looks. Further, any staff interviews with potential prospects also had to be completed virtually. Certainly, this was a big change that every NHL team needed to make as they prepared for the unique 2020 draft.

Over the weekend, Mike Morreale at NHL.com released a great story entitled ‘2020 NHL Draft prospects get scouted via video during pandemic‘, found here. This is a fantastic read that provides a behind the scenes ‘take’ on this years draft from several NHL executives. And it is not all bad news. Morreale does an excellent job of providing some of the actual advantages that have come out of this transition into virtual scouting.

Advantageous Adjustments

For example, this is a crucial draft for the Ottawa Senators rebuild as they have three first round selections and a total of 13 selections in 2020. Sens GM, Pierre Dorion was quick to point out one big advantage of the virtual interview process, “Instead of having 15 minutes with the players we would normally have at the NHL Scouting Combine, we had, with some of them, multiple hours with them through Zoom.”

Other NHL teams have gotten creative and implemented a few new tactics to prepare for this Fall 2020 draft edition. Montreal Canadiens assistant GM Trevor Timmins noted, “I’ve kept the amateur scouting staff very busy, somewhat like a university professor, with assignments which have due dates, and the assignments come in an orderly fashion”.

Then there are the players/prospects in question. Every year it seems like a new, off the wall type of question is asked of NHL prospects during these draft interview situations. This year, Dylan Holloway from the University of Wisconsin was asked, “if I’d rather have $20 in my pocket right now or have to fish out $100 from a toilet?” Somewhat of an odd question, but not much surprises me anymore in 2020.

The 2020 NHL Draft is now only 8 days away! Stay tuned for more coverage leading up to October 6th and 7th.

NEXT: Prospect and NHL Draft News: Canadian Teams Draft Overview (Part II)

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