The price you sometimes pay as a fan of a Stanley Cup winning team like the Tampa Bay Lightning is that the first round of the NHL Draft comes and goes and you don’t get to be mad at your team for whichever teenager they decided to pick. With no picks in the first round, the only hope we had was that Julien BriseBois would work a deal to get back into the first round. That didn’t happen.
Still, there were some nice moments over the almost four-hour broadcast. With the NHL choosing to socially distance the draft, teams were drafting from their own boardrooms while the youngsters waiting to hear their name called got to celebrate in their living rooms (or in the case of Alexander Holtz - some bunker with a low-hanging chandelier).
New York didn’t overthink things and took the consensus number one prospect Alexis Lafreniere. Los Angels took Quinton Byfield second, making him the highest drafted Black player in league history. That left Tim Stutzle for the Senators. Ottawa busted out Alex Trebek to celebrate their first of three picks:
Who is Tim Stützle? #NHLDraft #Jeopardy pic.twitter.com/KfYKyEcqMj— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) October 6, 2020
Things meandered on for the next three hours with other teams adding a nice touch here and there such as Winnipeg having Crystal Hawerchuk, widow of longtime Jet, Dale, announce the Cole Perfetti pick.
San Jose closed things out by drafting Ozzy Wiesblatt with the 31st pick. The Wiesblatt family had the best celebration by far. Doug Wilson, Jr., who announced the pick for the Sharks, signed Wiesblatt’s name as he made the pick.
With the final pick of the 1st round, the @SanJoseSharks selected Ozzy Wiesblatt 31st overall and he and his family were PUMPED. #NHLDraft | #NHLonSN pic.twitter.com/BLJbjVNVqX— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 7, 2020
Ozzy’s mother, Kim, is deaf and it was a nice, subtle gesture by the organization. Inclusion doesn’t always have to be about grand gestures or big donations.
Only a handful of these players will be in the NHL next season. Most will return to their junior or European teams and fade from the general consciousness for awhile. There will probably be a few pieces on the internet today about who “won” or who “lost” the draft. Remember, it’s all conjecture and opinion.
No one knows what is going to happen with these kids moving forward other than the fact that they will carry the label of “first round draft pick” for the rest of their career. That can be good, or it can be a burden. Hopefully, it works out for them.
While it would have been nice if the Lightning could have made a deal to get back into the first round, it wasn’t a necessity. Mr. BriseBois has time to make deals and his counterparts may be more willing to deal away future first round picks as opposed to parting with a pick that they’ve already invested a lot of energy and time into deciding who they would draft with it.
The Lightning get to work on Wednesday and they do have a bevy of picks to either restock their prospect depth, or make moves to move up a few spots or as extra pieces to help unload players. It’ll be a busy day, so stay plugged in here while we keep you up to date throughout the day.
Things were made slightly easier for Mr. BriseBois as Tyler Johnson reportedly gave him a list of teams that he may be willing to waive his no-trade clause for and accept a deal.
Tyler Johnson has given the Tampa Bay Lightning several teams to work with in the quest for trade. Sources say the list includes a mix of teams league wide. Good communication between Lightning GM, Julien BriseBois and the Johnson camp.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 6, 2020
Now, he just has to be able to convince one of those teams to accept the deal as well.
The Tampa Bay Times recapped Alex Killorn and Pat Maroon’s appearance on the Spittin’ Chiclet’s podcast. Important questions were answered. [Tampa Bay Times]
Maroon said players were pretty respectful of other teams in the bubble when it came time to get on an elevator. And no, there wasn’t any small-space sharing going on in the midst of a tense playoff run.
“Boston would walk in, they’d go in the elevator first, we’d wait,” Maroon said. “Happened with Dallas, too.”
It sounds like Rick Peckham is settling in to retired life just well. The long-time Lightning broadcaster makes his home in Lutz, and it sounds like he isn’t planning on leaving any time soon. He’s enjoying the golf, being with his family, and not having to unpack at 1:30 in the morning, [The Laker / Lutz News]
“You leave after the game and you’re doing a lot of unpacking at 1:30 in the morning at a hotel. In your 30s, it’s cool. In your 40s, it’s OK. By your 50s, you’re getting tired of it. In your 60s, you’re not sure if you can keep doing it. So being at home will be just fine with me.
Around the League
Traaaaadddeee. So, the Lightning didn’t make any deals on Monday, but the league office wasn’t completely focused on the draft. Montreal and Columbus switched up a couple of forwards who might benefit from a change of scenery. Max Domi and a 2020 third round pick are heading to Columbus in exchange for Josh Anderson. [Jackets Canon]
While it’s not written in stone, the league’s start date for the 2020-21 season has at least been scribbled down on a calendar in pencil. That target date - January 1st, 2021. So I guess that makes it just the 2021 NHL season. That will give them roughly six months to squeeze in a full 82-game season and playoffs. That seems...tough. The Summer Olympics are being broadcast on NBC starting in July of 2021. The league’s broadcast partner isn’t going to bump any of that coverage for hockey. So it’ll be interesting to see if they can work in the full season (while still handing the unpredictability of playing in the Age of Covid) or if they have to shave some games off of the schedule. [NHL.com]
“I think it’s fairly clear that while Dec. 1 has always been a notional date, we’re focused on the fact that we’re really looking now at Jan. 1 to start the season up. Our hope is to have a full season, full regular season, and to have fans in the building, but there are a lot of things that have to transpire, many of which if not most of which are beyond our control before we can finalize our plans.”
Your complete first round tracker along with some quick notes about each player. [SBNation NHL]
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