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Lightning Round: NHL votes to decentralize the draft

Jul 7, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Isaac Howard shakes hands with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after being selected as the number thirty-one overall pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

According to Elliotte Friedman a “vast majority” of NHL clubs have voted to decentralize the NHL draft, most likely starting with the 2025 draft. What does that mean? Think of the NFL draft. All of the players and the league officials are in one location while the teams are in their various “war rooms” back in their cities. Gone will be the days of newly drafted 18-year-olds getting their pictures taken with a host of executives and their children. Now, it will be a hearty handshake with the commissioner or one of his lackeys.

There were a few reasons teams would want to get rid of the centralized location, first and foremost being the cost of travel to bring in their scouting staffs and decision makers for two days of drafting. Second, the travel back and forth cuts down on time they could be used unofficially wooing potential free agents. With the draft usually scheduled at the end of June and free agency starting July 1st, the window to switch from drafting young talent to throwing millions of dollars at established veterans was getting smaller and smaller.

Friedman also mentioned that some teams were concerned that, “felt their plans were being discovered because tables were too close and things were overheard”. Which, to me, is objectively hilarious. To think that some teams make their drafting decisions using the same technique that high-school kids use to cheat on chemistry tests is fantastic.

The folks that seem bummed out the most about this is the media. And it makes sense. The draft provided a centralized location for beat reporters and national reporters to speak with general managers, agents, and other decision makers as they finalize their plans for free agency or set up trades to offload cap hits and stockpile future assets. Also, it’s usually an excuse to go out and get trashed at a local bar without having to worry about deadlines.

The decision isn’t finalized just yet, it still has to be discussed at the GM meetings in November before being approved by the Board of Governors as early as December, but with most of the teams seemingly on board, it’s a mere formality at this point. Because it’s the NHL and nothing moves fast, there will likely be one last centralized draft in Las Vegas this year.

Lightning / NHL News

The perseverance of Alex Barre-Boulet [Raw Charge]

It’s been an up-and-down journey for the forward, but he’s playing like he wants to stay in Tampa and on the top line.

David Savard out 6-8 weeks [Eyes on the Prize]

Old friend David Savard won’t be on the ice when the Lightning swing through Montreal early next month as the veteran defenseman suffered a hand fracture blocking a shot. The Canadiens did recall Gustav Lindstrom from Laval on an emergency basis, which could be good for the Crunch since they play the Rocket this weekend.

The most disappointing teams early in the 2023-24 season [The Daily Faceoff]

The Lightning didn’t make the list! DFO picked Ottawa, Calgary, Pittsburgh, and Edmonton as their four.

Why are teams ditching man-to-man for zone defense [The Athletic]

A nice tactical read on why teams are slowly ditching the man-to-man defensive scheme for more zone defense. In short, players are quicker and it’s harder to keep track of them in the offensive zone. The Lightning are one of the teams cited as making the move a few years ago, although the writers point out the Bolts use more of a hybrid scheme depending on where the puck is located in the defensive zone.

The latest on Patrick Kane [ESPN]

Emily Kaplan reports that the future hall-of-famer has been cleared for contact as he recovers from his hip-resurfacing surgery this offseason. It appears that he will begin talking to interested teams early next month with the possibility of him joining a team later that month. Dallas, Buffalo, Florida, and Detroit are mentioned as teams that might take a run at the 34-year-old.

Kraken tease specialty jersey night [Seattle Kraken]

While the league won’t let them wear them on ice, the Kraken have announced that they will have special jerseys designed for Indigenous Peoples night (against the Lightning!), Lunar New Year Night, Black Hockey History Night, Women in Hockey Night, Pride Night, and Green Night.

Fans will be able to bid on jerseys signed by the players and specialty merchandise will be available for purchase.

First Impression of NHL Edge [Pension Plan Puppets]

Data from the league’s new tracking project has been released. It’s…interesting?

Frozen Frenzy a huge hit with hockey fans [Awful Announcing]

I did switch over the ESPN+ feed while writing up the Lightning recap last night and thought it was…okay. Honestly, I didn’t see much difference between that and when the NHL Network does “live look-ins” on games. It does seem that it was successful enough that ESPN might bring it back during the busier nights throughout the season.

Didn’t watch it? How about a clip showing all the goals scored Tuesday night?

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