What the Vegas Golden Knights and NHL can learn from the NFL Draft

The 2020 NFL Draft is taking place across this weekend and there are some lessons to be learned for the Vegas Golden Knights and the rest of the NHL.

These are uncharted waters we are currently swimming in and, as such, the Vegas Golden Knights and the rest of the NHL are having to adjust to a new normal.

That will include having to navigate what will be a more than unusual 2020 NHL Entry Draft, whenever that will take place.

Originally set to be hosted by Montreal, the NHL postponed the event following the COVID-19 outbreak, although reports this week suggests that the league still plans on holding it in June.

It will be a virtual draft, however, and we mapped out on Tuesday why the NHL should study the WNBA Draft, which was a huge home run and the first major sports league to conduct a virtual draft.

Another organization trying to navigate the murky waters of conducting a major event remotely is the NFL, which is conducting its 2020 Draft across this weekend.

Having started on Thursday, the 2020 NFL Draft concludes on Saturday and the league has so far managed to avoid any major glitches or faux pas.

There is no doubt that both the NHL and the NBA, who are still trying to thrash out how their respective drafts will take place, will be studying the NFL this weekend and taking notes.

Events this weekend will also interest the Golden Knights so, as a result, we decided to delve into some takeaways we had from the NFL 2020 Virtual Draft so far…

Embrace The New Normal

From NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell conducting the entire 2020 Draft in his basement, to prospects waiting to hear their name in robes and General Managers having their kids join them, we are watching a draft like no other.

And that is the main takeaway here.

Embrace the new normal.

We live in a new and weird world right now and we just have to learn to enjoy things for what they are, even if they are completely different to what we’ve been used to.

Change can be good sometimes and what the NFL Draft gave us, particularly during Round One on Thursday, was the opportunity to forget what was going on around us and get back to Tweeting about sports.

Sports is a great unifier and that’s exactly what the NFL 2020 Draft has done, bringing sports fans back together again and giving everyone a much-needed distraction.

And that’s what the NHL has to do when they host their 2020 Draft, whenever that may be. They have to embrace the new normal and just have fun with the process.

While there is of course serious business to contend to, the NHL should also ensure that they celebrate the unique and unpredictable scenarios that a virtual draft will throw up.

Just embrace the madness.

As for the Golden Knights, we’re looking forward to seeing how they will navigate a virtual draft and it will be interesting to see how they interact with their picks.

In this still image from video provided by the NFL, New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas, seated, works during the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft on April 24, 2020.

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

I live by one clear mantra in my life – only worry about what you can control.

The same can be said for the current draft process.

A lot of the talk in the buildup to the NFL 2020 Draft was the possibility of a hacker causing chaos and throwing the whole draft into meltdown.

Well, so far (touch wood), there has been none of that during the NFL Draft and the whole process has only been hindered by a couple of minor snafus.

The NFL quickly got to work and ensured that everything was in place to ensure that the 2020 Draft ran as smoothly as possible from a technology point of view.

And that’s what the NHL needs to do.

They need to just be on top of the preparation and, as long as everyone is on the same page and everyone is prepared, then they should be fine once the big event arrives.

Plus, they can now interact with their NFL counterparts and find out what did and didn’t work in order to ensure that all 31 teams, including the Golden Knights, are as prepared as possible.

In this still image from video provided by the NFL, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is chosen first by the Cincinnati Bengals during the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on April 23, 2020.

Let GM’s Flex

Part of the fun following the NFL Draft was inspecting the makeshift war rooms of each General Manager.

From Denver Broncos GM John Elway flexing with his three Lombardi Trophies to Dallas Cowboys GM Jerry Jones pulling off an even bigger flex by conducting the Draft from his luxury yacht like some Bond villain, the NFL GM’s were on top of their game on Thursday.

Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Cliff Kingsbury was also seen kicking back in a luxury pad, while Bill Belichick’s Draft room was typical Bill Belichick.

So we can’t wait to see what NHL General Managers do when it comes to the 2020 NHL Draft because, let’s face it, the NHL by nature isn’t the most forthcoming.

NHL GM’s don’t garner nearly the same attention as their NFL counterparts, so this will be their moment to shine.

And we are looking forward to seeing what Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon’s Draft room setup looks like, although we just hope that it looks nothing like the setup we saw in Tennessee Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel‘s house.

That was weird to say the least.

Make It About The Players

While we do see some truly heartwarming moments in normal drafts, a virtual draft can throw up a boatload of touching scenes between prospects and their families.

There were a tonne of examples during the First Round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday, including the No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow just kicking back in his living room with his parents.

Javon Kinlaw, who was drafted No. 14 overall by the San Francisco 49ers, was with his family and his dad was so overwhelmed by the moment that he couldn’t stop rolling around on the floor.

Henry Ruggs, who went to the Las Vegas Raiders, sported a pretty nice-looking robe and the mom of Titans pick Isaiah Wilson took her social-distancing responsibilities seriously.

All top prospects were sent NFL gift boxes prior to the Draft, too, and the NHL needs to follow suite.

They need to ensure that the event is all about the prospects and they should take full advantage of the fact that we will never see a draft like this again.

Let the prospects be themselves and be sure to allow fans to see all of those heartfelt and comedy moments in living rooms.

I mean, if projected No. 1 overall pick Alexis Lafreniere wants to rock a robe prior to being picked, then let him.

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We’d have no problem if whoever the Golden Knights picked in the First Round was wearing sweats or a jazzy suit, whatever feels most comfortable.

Overall, the NFL have gone with the flow and that has made the 2020 Draft a success so far, and the NHL should study this weekend closely when preparing for their own draft.