Get ready Vegas Golden Knights fans because it appears that the NHL is a step closer to returning this year.
After weeks and weeks of different proposals and ideas, it now seems that we could actually get to watch the Vegas Golden Knights again this year.
According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, the NHL and the NHLPA Return To Play Committee talked all weekend about ways to salvage the 2019-20 season, and more talks are expected over the next couple of days.
Sources indicate the Return To Play Committee has talked throughout the weekend, NHL-NHLPA making progress on a 24-team format. Sources also stressing there’s still work to be done, but clearly the weekend has produced some traction. More talks expected over next day or two.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 17, 2020
It is certainly positive news and it builds on the hope we have been given over the last few weeks when it comes to hockey being played this summer.
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And LeBrun also noted that the 24-team playoff format, which we discussed here, seems to be the chosen incarnation should hockey indeed return.
Furthermore, LeBrun states that it his belief that there will be some normal games before the playoffs begin, which will allow players and teams to shake off any rust and quickly get back into the swing of things.
Any format will need to be voted on by the NHLPA’s Executive Board of course, but there appears to finally be real light at the end of the tunnel.
It is obviously terrific news for the Golden Knights and their fans, who may get to see their team battle for the Stanley Cup after all this year.
We’ve discussed it at length already so we won’t go over old ground too much but, if the NHL did stage a 24-team postseason then it won’t have too much of an impact on the Golden Knights.
They will still be a top seed and although they will be given a bye in the First Round, that won’t matter as much if the NHL are planning on fitting some games in prior to the playoffs getting underway.
And, no matter in what form hockey comes back in, the Golden Knights will be fully healthy with the likes of Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Alex Tuch all having had ample time to recover from their respective injuries.
Good news all round.
As for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, LeBrun also suggested that a decision could be made this week with the NHL Board of Governors set to meet via a Conference Call on Monday.
It has emerged over the last week or so that the idea to still host the Draft in June, even if the season is salvaged, is starting to fade away.
A lot of NHL General Managers hate the idea of the Draft taking place before the end of the season, and you can understand those concerns when you consider the chaos that conditional picks would cause and the NHL Draft Lottery itself.
Of course, and as per LeBrun, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will get the final say on the matter and if he wants a June Draft then he’ll get a June Draft.
But, in all likelihood, with the NHL putting their foot on the gas for salvaging the 2019-20 season, it is now feasible to predict that the Draft could likely take place in September once a Stanley Cup Champion has been crowned.
Again, when the Draft takes place won’t impact the Golden Knights too much, other than that their First Round pick will likely go from the No. 24 overall selection to potentially the No. 29 or No. 30 pick depending on their performance in the postseason.
It isn’t ideal but it’s not like they are falling from a top 10 overall pick to a selection in the latter stages of the First Round.
Overall, it appears as though we could be on the cusp of some real concrete and exciting NHL news this coming week, and that could lead to a return for Vegas Golden Knights hockey in the not-too-distant future.
And that’s something we can all get excited about.