The NHL is targeting June 5 for its draft, according to a memo the League sent to teams Friday. The draft, which was scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal, will be done virtually like the NFL draft was in April with teams selecting players from remote locations.
The NHL wants an earlier draft because if its 2019-20 season is able to resume this summer there could be a tight offseason window to hold the draft in the fall before the 2020-21 season starts.
The Blackhawks (32-30-8) were six points behind the Predators and Canucks for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup playoffs from the Western Conference when the NHL season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
In the memo, the NHL proposed it would use points percentages to determine the 15 “non-playoff” teams in the draft lottery under the current playoff format. The Blackhawks would currently be a team in the lottery at No. 9, but could only move up to as high as No. 5 in the proposed format for this season which only has one winner and limits the movement up to a maximum of four spots.
The Blackhawks have only drafted fifth overall once in their history back in 1963 when they selected defenseman Art Hampson, who never played in an NHL game.
Chicago has drafted in the top-10 the past two years, selecting defenseman Adam Boqvist eighth overall in 2018 and center Kirby Dach third in 2019. Both played more than 40 NHL games this season and used the first year of their entry-level contracts.
The NHL is expected to finalize a draft schedule next week.
If the draft lottery proposal outlined in tonight's NHL memo becomes reality:— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 2, 2020
-- Detroit would be guaranteed No. 1 or No. 2 overall
-- Ottawa could do no worse than owning No. 3 AND No. 4
-- New Jersey, Buffalo, Montreal and Chicago couldn't jump beyond No. 2/3/4/5, respectively https://t.co/tlP5zVthA4