It sounds like the NHL wants to keep the 2020 draft in June, as previously scheduled, but teams are not as keen on the idea.
According to Craig Custance of The Athletic, the league sent out a memo to clubs on Friday night explaining the benefits of keeping the draft in June, while noting that general managers are more in favor of finishing the season first and then having the draft -- whenever that may be.
The 2020 NHL Draft was originally scheduled to be held June 26-27 in Montreal, but the event was postponed by the league on March 25.
But now that both the NFL and WNBA have successfully held virtual drafts from remote locations, the NHL seemingly wants to do the same.
From the league's standpoint, The Athletic notes that a June draft would be a huge content opportunity at a time when the NHL needs to find a way to keep fan interest with no games being played. The overall success of last week's NFL Draft and the WNBA Draft before that, with viewership numbers way up, is surely enticing to the NHL.
But team execs know the popularity of hockey prospects pales in comparison to that of the NFL Draft, so the ratings may still not have that much of an increase.
"Football has popular players known by fans in the U.S.," an executive told The Athletic. "They're ready to drop in and play right away. Our kids are five years away and playing in places like western Canada. … People don't care. Football is different. They know those guys. A lot of people watch college football. They know them."
The NHL continues to explore ideas to resume play, either by finishing the regular season or going straight to an expanded playoff system, with a recent report saying the league is focused on a four-city hub plan to get back in action.