6 deals that could be in limbo with 24-team playoff format
With the NHL officially unveiling its plan to use a 24-team playoff format if it does return to play this season, commissioner Gary Bettman ruled the 2019-20 regular season effectively finished.
A number of big trades were made this past year that included conditional draft picks. With a revamped draft lottery and a number of teams set to potentially miss the playoffs, certain conditional picks are now in limbo.
Let's take a look at some of the deals that may be affected by the new 24-team playoff format.
Vancouver's 1st-round pick in the hands of New Jersey
The Vancouver Canucks originally dealt a 2020 first-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning to acquire J.T. Miller with the condition that if they miss the 2019-20 playoffs, the pick will automatically become a 2021 first-rounder.
The Lightning then traded Vancouver's pick to the New Jersey Devils along with prospect Nolan Foote to acquire Blake Coleman. Vancouver was in the playoff hunt at the time of the season's pause, and will now need to defeat the Minnesota Wild in a five-game play-in series to reach the postseason. If they lose, the pick acquired by the Devils will transfer to 2021.
Penguins' 1st-round pick to bring in Zucker
The Pittsburgh Penguins looked destined to make a strong playoff push this season. They battled injuries all year long, but were finally near full health when the season paused.
The Penguins made a splash prior to this year's deadline, acquiring Jason Zucker from the Wild on Feb. 10. They sent a conditional 2020 first-round pick, Alex Galchenyuk, and Calen Addison to Minnesota. If Pittsburgh loses to the Montreal Canadiens in its play-in series and misses the playoffs, it will then have the option to send Minnesota its 2021 first-round pick instead.
Arizona's pair of picks used to snag Taylor Hall
The Arizona Coyotes made a splash early in the season, bringing in Hall in hopes of making a strong run for the Stanley Cup. They parted ways with three prospects, a conditional 2020 first-round pick, and a conditional 2021 third-round pick.
If the Coyotes miss the playoffs and win a top-three pick in the draft lottery, then the Devils will receive their 2021 first-rounder instead.
If Hall re-signs or the Coyotes win their play-in series, make the playoffs, and then win a round, their 2021 third-round pick will become a second-rounder. If he re-signs and they win a playoff round, then the pick becomes a first-rounder.
Islanders' big splash for Pageau
The New York Islanders sent three draft picks - a 2020 conditional first-rounder, a 2020 second-round pick, and a conditional 2022 third-rounder - to the Ottawa Senators for Jean-Gabriel Pageau. He wasn't seen as a rental in their eyes, as he signed a six-year, $30-million deal immediately in Long Island.
The Islanders weren't guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, but their hopes were high. Now, if they lose their play-in series against the Florida Panthers, their first-round pick is protected if they win a top-three selection in the lottery. The conditional 2022 third-round pick will only be awarded to Ottawa if New York wins the Stanley Cup this season.
Toronto's deal with Hurricanes up in the air
When the Toronto Maple Leafs dealt Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes for cap relief, they attached a conditional 2020 first-round pick as incentive. If Toronto picks in the top 10 in 2020, then it will become a 2021 first-rounder instead.
While Toronto didn't expect to find itself in the draft lottery mix, if it can't get past the Columbus Blue Jackets in the play-in round then the club may very well own a top-10 pick.
Neal, Lucic conditions remain unknown
The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames swapped forwards James Neal and Milan Lucic prior to the season and attached player conditions to the deal. If Neal scored 21 goals this season and if Lucic scored 10 fewer goals than Neal, the Flames would be awarded a 2020 third-round pick.
At the time of the season's pause, Neal had 19 goals while Lucic had eight. While Bettman announced that the regular season is over, it hasn't officially been determined where statistics from the qualification round will be counted, according to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski.
If stats from the play-in games are counted toward regular-season totals, Neal will have the opportunity to score two more goals and potentially award the Flames a third-round pick.
Conditions of trades taken from CapFriendly.com
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