The big news in the world of hockey is the Return to Play directives have been decided. And along with them, the draft lottery and time of the draft. Hallelujah!
The league officially welcomed in the 24-team 'post-season' plan which will feature 16 squads battling it out in a best-of-five series to earn the right to enter the 'actual' post-season of 16 clubs. The remaining eight teams who make up the top four teams in each conference will play a mini round-robin tournament to determine seeding.
That means, that the eight teams who are ousted in the play-in round will become lottery clubs and will have a chance at landing a top selection in the upcoming draft. I'm talking about a team like Pittsburgh Penguins who were seventh in the entire league at the time of stoppage, could end up a non-playoff team with balls in the lottery and walk away with Alexis Lafreniere.
Straight chaos. And I'm definitely here for it.
This also clears up all the potentially messy situations regarding conditional picks, especially between the Canucks and Devils. Under this design, if Vancouver loses to Minnesota in the play-in round, they would be deemed a non-playoff team and would keep their 2020 first-rounder and have a shot at a top-10 pick. They would then surrender an unprotected 2021 first (something you know the Devils are hoping for). If the Canucks win, they ship the pick this year and keep their 2021.
This announcement was the final nail in the coffin for any leagues who were holding out a sliver of hope that there would be a resumption of regular-season games. The season is over. Time to pay out the remaining teams left standing in your league.
I hate this as much as the next person. I was en route to defending my crown in my main deep keeper. Now we have put 'COVID-19' on our beautiful trophy.
Another revealed portion of the announcement is that the 2019-20 regular season is now completed. That means awards are now locked in. As such, Alex Ovechkin will take home his ninth Rocket Richard Trophy but this time, he’ll share it with David Pastrnak as the two each ended the year with 48 goals.
Yes, this does mean that I cashed in on my preseason