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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Pros and Cons of a June NHL Entry Draft

Welcome, Nation, to yet another edition of the award-winning Monday Mailbag! This week, we’re looking at the idea of holding the NHL Entry Draft in June despite the season not being over yet, free agency, and everyday superpowers. As always, this feature depends on you so please send me your questions by email or Twitter for next week and I’ll try to sneak you in. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful week and please enjoy the free learning opportunity.

Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Philip Broberg poses for a photo after being selected as the number eight overall pick to the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

1) Devan asks – In my opinion, there are going to be countless issues with the NHL Draft if the league holds the event before the season is over. What do you see as the one biggest problem with this potential plan? What are the advantages?

Jason Gregor:

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There is no advantage. The claim that this means the league won’t have to rush it is very misleading, considering every year in a three-week span the Cup is handed out, the draft his held and free agency is 90% done. The biggest problem by not finishing regular season and having draft is compensation picks, changing draft rules and the order. There is no reason to do it.

Robin Brownlee:

The biggest problem as I see it is teams won’t be able to trade players, and that’s a huge aspect of the draft. Trades generate the big storylines. Determining draft order before the season is over is a problem. Most NHL GM’s don’t like the idea of drafting before the season is over. I don’t think there are any advantages to this format.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

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The advantages are straight forward. It would give fans & the media something to talk about and it would please the league’s TV sponsors. The biggest downside to this is that there wouldn’t be any trade activity because the league hasn’t completed the season. It would also involve setting the draft order before the end of the season. Image a team winning the Cup after picking 17th overall! It doesn’t seem fair.

Nation Dan:

The biggest problem is plain and simple the fact that they don’t have a set draft order, therefore it’s looking like it will be a full lottery with any team able to move up four spots and stranger still, the Stanley Cup champion (pretend it was us) could move up from 19th to 15th… and win the cup… I don’t know. It’s just one of the weirder choices the league has made in this pandemic with no real huge upsides. The only upside I can really see is giving sports starved fans something to watch for two days and for a blog like this one (thank you for reading by the way) some content for a couple of weeks that we wouldn’t otherwise have.

Baggedmilk: 

I don’t get it. They’re putting the cart before the horse and it doesn’t make sense to me. The conditional picks are a problem, the inability for teams to make major trades is annoying, and I don’t really think they’ve got this through beyond getting the paycheque from the TV broadcast.

Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Philip Broberg greets NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after being selected as the number eight overall pick to the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

2) Hank asks – Since the NHL Draft will be completely different this year and broadcast from the homes of the GMs and players, what would you like to see on the broadcast that would make the event more entertaining?

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Jason Gregor:

It is difficult to make something more than it is. But one idea I would do is pre-tape interviews with current and former NHL players who have an entertaining or interesting draft story. From meeting the GM, being shocked or surprised or a bad pre-draft meeting. You could find players who were taken 1-10, or 11-20, or 41-50th so it relates to the picks just made.

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Robin Brownlee:

Let’s get a look at where the top prospects — say the top 10 — live. Their towns, their houses, the rink they played in as kids. That sort of thing. Add some personality to it beyond the on-ice aspects. Profiles on the top guys that tell us something we don’t know.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’m honestly not sure. It would be cool to see players interacting with their families and loved ones right after being picked, but apart from that, there really isn’t anything I’d be looking forward to.

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Nation Dan:

Character. Mistakes. Players being funny/human. I can’t wait to have the Dad/Mom celebrating crazily in the background talking to a grandparent on the phone or something. That said, I think the NHL draft will be a lot more refined and stale than say the NFL draft.

Baggedmilk: 

I want to see some personality. The NHL Draft is kinda starchy at the best of times and this is an opportunity to let these kids have some fun since they’ll be at home and in a more comfortable environment. I also think they should include some of the bigger personalities from around the league to try and add some more levity to what will surely be the weirdest draft ever.

3) Bryce asks – Do you expect more one-year contracts for free agents this offseason seeing as no one really knows what the future holds, or would you expect guys to look for longer-term deals with lower dollars in order to get more certainty?

Jason Gregor:

I’d be surprised we see many long-term contracts considering the financial landscape.

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t see a lot of UFA’s wanting long deals during a period when the cap will either stay flat or drop. Take a short deal and wait for the economics to return to normal, even if it takes a couple of years. Of course, older guys might not like that option as it could take them from, say, 28, to 30 and that could limit the length of contract they get down the road.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I do. I think a lot of players will either choose to take short term deals so they can roll the dice in a few seasons when the cap goes up or teams really won’t have the financial flexibility to sign players to long-term deals. For the Oilers, look at a guy like Tyler Ennis. He’s coming off a good year but it might be hard for him to get more than $1.5 to $2 million in the coming offseason. If he stays on the Oilers, he gives himself a chance to really click on one of their skill lines, have a productive season, and try get a long-term deal next summer when things are hopefully more normal.

Nation Dan:

I think that teams are not going to have the money to do much to fill big holes and you will see guys that are UFAs that were looking at big money, having to delay that for a year to really get the big payday. But at the end of the day, who honestly can know at this point in time? It’s such an unknown without knowing the cap number, which owners are hurt by this pandemic and maybe looking to sell.

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Baggedmilk: 

It’s going to be a lot of one-year deals where guys bet on themselves in the hopes of cashing in when things get to be a little bit closer to normal. That’s my bet anyway.

4) Tina asks – I’d love to know what everyone would say is their “everyday superpower?” As an example, I worked at the Old Navy throughout high school and now I can fold a t-shirt perfectly and quickly. What are your hidden talents?

Jason Gregor:

I can speak Donald Duck very well. And I can preg test cows.

Robin Brownlee:

I can pack luggage with the best of them. Pro tip: roll your clothes instead of folding them when possible.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I worked at a Jersey City in high school so I am also really good at folding t-shirts. I would say my superpower is reaching things on high up shelves since I’m tall. It’s lame, but it’s not something that everyone can do!

Nation Dan:

The ability to talk to people in pretty much any situation without skipping much of a beat. I learned it in my time working as a bouncer in my younger years. I can converse with just about anyone on any topic and be genuinely connected with them over it.

Baggedmilk: 

I can open my throat up and down a beer in about two seconds. It’s a pointless skill to say the least, but the reactions I’ve gotten from it have been pretty hilarious.

5) Lyle asks – Now that we’re a couple of months into self-isolation, what activities or habits have you been doing less than you expected, and what are some things you’ve been doing more than expected?

Jason Gregor:

I am spending less time on social media.

Reading more books and playing more online poker. The former is going well, while the latter has been an educational and frustrating time. I’m now reading books on poker, which I quite like and it has helped. My lack of patience is my nemesis.

Robin Brownlee:

Way too much TV and not enough time on the basketball court getting schooled by my son Sam. As of writing this, playgrounds were still closed so no hoops for us. I’m not a walker or a runner, so I miss that part of things.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Been spending a lot more time going for walks which is a big positive for me. Been surprisingly spending less time watching TV than I would have thought.

Nation Dan:

Before the pandemic started, I was doing a great job of getting fitter with the running for the Oilers after every loss. I was feeling better and moving better than ever. With the pandemic and the uncertainty I definitely got out of my exercise routine, and have really tried to get that back into a good spot. Running more and now I added biking to the routine.

Baggedmilk: 

I’m spending less time reading than I thought I would but a lot more time working on side hustles and other projects that I had been wanting to do but didn’t necessarily have the time for.

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