When the world abnormally ground to a halt in mid-March this year we all had to make adjustments. That reality for the NHL and the annual 2020 entry draft will be no different.
Instead of the live and in color production originally scheduled for the Bell Centre in Montreal this June, the player selection will be held virtually in October instead. This virtual transition will profoundly affect the surrounding environment of the draft but is a manageable adjustment from an operational standpoint.
However, Sportsnet junior hockey expert, Sam Cosentino, outlined several changes that could pose a challenge for NHL scouting staff’s as they prepare for the 2020 draft. Cosentino made an excellent point regarding the fact that no scouts were able to watch a favorite prospect during the ‘big moment’, saying “There were no playoffs, no Memorial Cup, or year-ending U18 worlds to scout.” Yes, the technology of scouting has created mounds of useful video footage but having that last glimpse of a prospect in a meaningful situation is highly useful.
Without the annual combine, NHL teams (except Arizona – too soon?) will not have access to the physical fitness information they have now been accustomed to using. In fact, teams will not even have real-time height/weight measurements. After seven pandemic stricken months, it might be useful to have accurate weight and/or body percentage numbers to evaluate. Unfortunately, the reality is that none of this information will be available for any NHL staff heading into the 2020 draft.
Just Won’t Be The Same
Having attended the event last year in Vancouver, this 2020 class of players and families will miss out on the excitement of draft day. It is a spectacle, and the NHL puts on a great show. Even though the show must go on, the excitement of the 2020 draft just won’t be the same.
Such is this new reality we all face in 2020.
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