Red Wings' Yzerman: 'I haven't heard a good reason' to hold early draft
Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman doesn't see the necessity of holding the draft before the conclusion of the NHL season.
"Obviously the draft has never taken place prior to the end of a Stanley Cup or the end of a season," Yzerman said during a Facebook Live Wednesday.
The 2020 draft was originally set to be held in Montreal in June. The league has discussed the idea of holding the draft virtually in the same month, regardless of if and when the season concludes.
"My thought is: Why would you do that? Why would you need to do that?" Yzerman said. "There's a lot of things that are affected, obviously. The draft position hasn't been established; we don't know who's in the playoffs, who's out of the playoffs, in some cases.
"So there's a lot of questions, and ultimately if it needs to be done prior to, we'll figure it out. But at this time, my own opinion is, I haven't heard a good reason why we should do it prior to the end of the season if we do conclude the season over the course of the summer."
When the season was paused March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Red Wings held an NHL-worst record of 17-49-5. With 11 games remaining on their schedule, they were guaranteed to finish in last place and had secured the top odds of winning the draft lottery.
The Red Wings also possess three second-round picks and two selections in the third round. With hockey leagues no longer playing, Yzerman understands he will have to work with what his scouts have already gathered.
"We can only make a decision on the information we have," Yzerman said. "Had we gone through all the junior, college, European playoffs - the U-18 tournament, which would've been held in Plymouth - that's more information.
He added: "Looks like right now, we won't get to watch these kids anymore. ... It goes for all the teams."