The first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft kicks off tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT on NBCSN. Rounds 2–7 will take place tomorrow starting at 11:30 a.m. EDT on NHL Network. And then the free agency period opens Friday at noon EDT. Busy week in the NHL.
The Islanders don’t have a pick in this round or the second round tomorrow, as of now—both are owned by the Senators from the Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade—but the trade market figures to be wild this year as teams try to shift salary around before free agency while making their annual tweaks.
Update: Before we go any further, Elliotte Friedman has some news about next season’s potential start date:
Hearing new “target date” of Jan 1 is being planned for by NHL/NHLPA. This does not guarantee season starting New Year’s Day, but replaces Dec 1 as the current target. (Potential training camp would be beforehand.) This could change in the future — but that is where we stand now.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 6, 2020
- According to David Pagnotta, the Isles are looking to extend Derick Brassard before he hits the market on Friday. I wouldn’t mind it on another short, cheap deal. [The Fourth Period | NYI Hockey Now]
- The Swedish Sebastian Aho agreed to a two-year deal with the Islanders, the second year of which is a one-way. I wonder if GM Lou Lamoriello anticipates him playing in the NHL the next two years. [Islanders | Newsday]
- The Islanders also extended qualifying offers to almost all of their RFAs to retain their rights. Only goalie Linus Soderstrom, who has battled injuries and inconsistency over the last few years, did not receive one—which means Josh Ho-Sang did. [Islanders | Sound Tigers | NY Post]
- Dom compiled the three previous bits into one handy article for our reading pleasure. [LHH]
Speaking of no. 66, anyone else see the two Yankees wearing no. 66 and no. 99 hit home runs in the same inning last night?
Wait, the Yankees have guys wearing 66 and 99?— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) October 6, 2020
- Arthur Staple spoke to some league executives and a player agent about what the next contracts for Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews should look like. [The Athletic]
- Dom Luszczyszyn and James Mirtle went back-and-forth picking a team of RFAs acquired via offer sheet, and wouldn’t you know it? All three major Isles RFAs were selected early. [The Athletic]
- LISTEN: Mike and Dan look forward to this wacky week in the NHL and reminisce about Robin Lehner, who still holds a deep connection to Long Island. [Islanders Anxiety]
- LISTEN: Andrew Gross previewed the draft and free agency, as well, and also spoke to former first overall pick and former NHL agent and GM Brian Lawton about the silly season. [Island Ice]
- LISTEN: The Hockey Night in New York podcast also looks forward to the draft and free agency, but not without first recapping the season that was.
- And some good news: Bobby Nystrom got back the stick with which he scored the 1980 Stanley Cup-winning goal forty years later. [Newsday]
NHL Draft and Free Agency
Might Cup-winning captain Steven Stamkos be on his way out of Tampa Bay in the cap crunch? Bob McKenzie, the best in the business even in semi-retirement, says it’s possible!
A big reason for moving is to be able to sign those young RFAs. Notably absent from untouchable list is captain Steven Stamkos. That doesn’t guarantee Stamkos will be dealt but it’s within realm of possibility though his health could obviously be a factor.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 6, 2020
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson is likely out in Arizona, but he refuses to allow the Coyotes to deal with any teams other than the Canucks and Bruins. That and more in this blog from Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman. [Sportsnet]
- Pierre LeBrun’s latest Rumblings blog includes trade talk about Lightning forward Tyler Johnson, Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson, and Jets winger Patrik Laine. [The Athletic]
- Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen announced his intention to retire at age 33. As such, Philadelphia extended pending UFA Justin Braun for two more years. [BSH]
To connect the two prior bits: Philly apparently went hard after Laine.
Believe the #Flyers were the team most engaged with #nhljets to this point on Laine. Talks have cooled for now. Though it did involve a defenceman going to WPG, the Niskanen retirement is a nonfactor in PHI’s ability to revisit a potential Laine deal. Will they? We’ll see. https://t.co/jjqWMc0cxc— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 6, 2020
- The Western Conference Champion Stars extended defenseman Andrej Sekera for two more years at a $1.5 million AAV. [NHL]
- The Sharks acquired two players from the Wild in separate trades: forward Ryan Donato [FTF] and goalie Devan Dubnyk. [FTF]
- Not draft or free agency, but Oilers wunderkind Connor McDavid tested positive for COVID-19. Hope he recovers well. I believe it’s the first known case among NHL players. [Sportsnet]
- And finally, it was a “hell of a journey” for Robin Lehner until he finally got his coveted long-term deal with the Golden Knights. I’m happy he got that stability, though. [The Athletic]