Over the weekend, the Alberta teams did some work on their prospect depth. First, the Oilers signed 2019 2nd round pick Raphael Lavoie to an entry level contract. Lavoie was projected to go in the first round on quite a few lists but ended up sliding to the early part of the second. He scored 82 points in 55 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) before the cancellation of the season. That was an improvement from 72 points in 63 games last year.
He’ll likely join the club’s AHL team in Bakersfield next season but given the lack of organizational depth at forward, it’s possible he could compete for a spot on the roster in training camp. The Oilers are desperate for high end forward talent so even if he looks like he could make an impact in a limited role, he might see some games in Edmonton.
Meanwhile, their Battle of Alberta rivals the Flames dipped into the NCAA free agent pool to sign two prospects. Connor Mackey of Mankato and Colton Poolman of North Dakota give the Flames two more defenders with NHL upside. Mackey was one of the most coveted prospects among this crop of NCAA free agents and has top four potential as a left hander with 24 points in 36 games. Poolman is also a lefty but has a little bit less upside and could top out on the third pair in the NHL.
Not to be left out of the action by their Pacific Division mates, the Vegas Golden Knights signed former NCAA free agent defender Zach Whitecloud to a two year extension worth $725k per season. Whitecloud played 35 games in the AHL this season with the Chicago Wolves and 16 in the NHL in Vegas. Depending on the Golden Knights’ depth heading into next season, he could compete in camp for an NHL roster spot.
Looking forward, according to Darren Dreger, the NHL owners will be meeting today to try to suss out some of the financial issues facing the league as it navigates this unexpected stoppage.
Board financial projections and possibilities, including as per CBA and possibilities with the PA will be primary agenda items on Mondays NHL owners call. Everyone is deep in the process of contingency financial planning. https://t.co/7OQoC4Sgzk— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 21, 2020
It seems unlikely hockey will resume any time soon so the teams will likely be trying to figure out how to handle things with a break that could go well into the summer. We’re not at the stage where any big decisions will be made. Instead, teams and the league will need to have multiple plans associated with the various timelines that are likely to unfold. For now, that’s all anyone can do.