The Avalanche would pick 29th overall in proposed early June NHL draft

Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Bowen Byram puts on a team jersey after being selected as the number four overall pick to the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL’s plan to host the 2020 NHL Draft before the resumption of the 2019-20 season gained traction Friday after an eight-page memo was sent to general managers and governors by deputy commissioner Bill Daly.

The memo explains that the league would need a one-month lead-in to host the draft, meaning the proposed June 5-6 dates could be pushed back if the final decision comes later in the week.  It also says the draft order would be based on current points percentage.

In that case, the Avalanche would hold the 29th pick.

Colorado is currently third in the NHL behind Boston and St. Louis. It is tied with Tampa Bay in both points and points percentage but holds the regulation wins (RW) tiebreaker 37-35. In a traditional draft, the 29th pick is usually reserved for one of the two teams that lose in the conference finals.

In his mid-season draft rankings released in January, TSN insider Bob McKenzie ranked left-winger Lukas Reichel 29th overall. Reichel, 18, played for Berlin of the DEL German-league, recording 12 goals and 24 points. The German native from Nurnberg also scored three goals and added two assists in seven games at the 2020 World Junior Championship.

Reichel also ranks 11th on the final NHL Central Scouting list among European skaters. A three-spot jump from the midseason rankings.

The draft was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal. An early draft means general managers would be unable to make roster-player trades, which is perhaps the most exciting aspect of the event for fans. This reason alone is why many general managers are against the idea. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said on his 31 Thoughts podcast that the general managers in favor of the early draft plus those that are indifferent outweighs the group that is against the idea.

When the NHL publicly promotes an idea it usually unfolds. And while a decision has yet to be made, it would appear the NHL’s push for an early draft and an opportunity for a controllable revenue stream is bound to happen.

A final decision is expected in the coming week.

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