As sports continue to be on pause, fans are getting restless. With each passing day, we get news of another new plan the NHL is planning to reopen the season. Isolated locations, no fans, 24 team playoffs, altered regular season, a June draft. Everything you can think of, well almost everything, has been thought of. With the AHL season now cancelled, there is a large contingent of fans, myself included, who wants to just scrap this year and gear up for next season.
I polled the BSB writers on what they would do if they were in charge. As Supreme Overlord of the NHL, where you answer to no one, what would you do to restart the season? Would you even do it? I’ll also comment on their ideas to keep things fresh.
Cancel the season. Anything done with playoffs would be a gigantic asterisk. Hold the draft in June still but do the order of the standings based on points percentage. Draft lottery system still the same so teams still have a chance to move up.
As for conditional picks, if GM’s want to call the teams involved and try and work other deals to make those solidified picks as opposed to conditional, they should be allowed to. Like the Rangers should be allowed to call Carolina and get a definitive pick of the two. Or Ottawa should be allowed to talk to the Islanders in regards to JG Pageau.
As for free agency, still hold it July 1 and delay the start of next season until a vaccine is available for the safety of all the players.
Dave: This is where I stand on this, so I’m just going to assume that Tyler stole my thoughts here. Just cancel the whole thing and start fresh next year. Yea there are revenue concerns, but as we saw with all the lockouts, hockey fans are gluttons for punishment and come back in droves when things like this happen. Just do more for us than the usual “THANK YOU FANS” on the ice. Ugh.
If the season has to be finished, I think I’d do the 24 team playoff format in as limited cities as possible. Do a variation of the divisional format. No 7 game series until final four either. Then the draft whenever that’s over. Conditional picks I think have to be looked for on a case by case basis. Maybe each team has to discuss that more and if an agreement isn’t reach then it’s just pushed off until next years draft.
If I can cancel the season that it should be canceled. It’s a wash and there is just no point in risking everyone’s health. Tyler’s spot on with the draft. Go points percentage to sort it out and the bottom 14 teams from that will be in the lottery. That way draft can be in late June still and free agency July 1. As far as the cap goes have it stay flat and each team should get at least 1 amnesty buyout. I also love the idea of a contract being salary cap exempt, but don’t think enough GMs would go for that.
Dave: Oh that’s interesting – instead of an amnesty buyout, make one contract salary cap exempt. To prevent teams from using it on a long-term contract, it should be for expiring deals only. The Rangers would almost assuredly use that option on Henrik Lundqvist – the best of both worlds! I honestly like the idea of a franchise tag on a player, where the player makes x% of the cap ceiling and doesn’t count against the cap. Must have been with the team for at least the prior three full seasons. No way small market teams go for that though.
I think they should do all 31 teams, March Madness style. Give the Blues a bye since they are the defending champs. You can break it into E/W if you want, use current standings for seeding/home ice advantage and do a best of 3 final.
Dave: Considering March Madness was actually cancelled, this fulfills my need for random chance and to fill out a bracket. There would have to be more than just one bye since an even bracket is either 16 or 32 teams. So blame Seattle. If health and safety can be guaranteed, then isolate them in one city for a week to make it happen. Run games at noon, 5pm, and 10pm EST. Try to pick a location with multiple rinks.
Of course I provide my own opinion. Just cancel the whole thing, then do the entire offseason at the original dates. Televise a virtual draft lottery based on points percentage for the bottom 15 teams. The conditions of draft picks should all be worked out because we have draft positions. At least that gives us something to look forward to. This limbo stuff is maddening.