First, let me start off by saying that it looks like we may, in fact, see a resumption to the 2019-20 NHL season. The league is reportedly eyeing sometime in July as a possible return date. But, to be honest, that may be a rather optimistic outlook on things.
Sure, July is nearly two months away, but we’re still very much in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic.
So, let’s get into the real topic of this article. If the NHL cancels its season, what kind of compensation will the Boston Bruins receive, if any? It’s a good question considering the B’s currently sit atop the league standings, and there are a few options we can mull over.
My first thought, and answer, to this question was that maybe the Bruins would receive some kind of draft compensation for their regular-season efforts. If this came to fruition, then Boston absolutely won the David Backes trade.
Why exactly? Because, at the moment, the Black and Gold do not hold a first-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft after sending the pick — along with Backes — to the Anaheim Ducks for Ondrej Kase. This would undoubtedly make up for the lost pick if the NHL gives the Bruins a first-round selection.
Now there’s no telling how draft pick compensation would work, especially considering the league would have to compensate the other top-tier teams in the same way. But, my initial thought is they’d have to be rewarded a pretty good pick to make up for what could’ve been a Stanley Cup season for Boston.
Maybe they could be rewarded with a selection in the top 10 — or at least be in contention for a top 10 pick.
What I mean by that is, maybe you place the league’s 10 best teams in a lottery for the first 10 selections in the draft. So right now that would be the Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights, Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars.
That actually would make things even between the conferences as there are five teams from each conference, so maybe it’s not that bad of an idea. For the heck of it, I’m going to use a wheeldecide.com to predict how the picks could be laid out. The Bruins received a higher chance of getting the first pick, of course. So let’s take a look at how the order turned out.
Obviously this isn’t the best method of trying to test how things could play out, but it’s definitely a fun little thought. It’s also worth mentioning that the NHL probably won’t be handing out the first 10 selections in the draft to its top teams. In theory, this would make the rich that much richer.
On the other hand, maybe you give the Bruins the 10th overall pick, the Blues the 15th selection, and so on. This process won’t be easy to pull off, but awarding a first-round draft pick to the league’s top teams would pretty good compensation — especially if it’s a higher selection.
Imagine the Bruins, who currently don’t have a first-round pick, having the opportunity to add, say, a winger to help David Krejci? That could be anyone from Quinton Byfield to Cole Perfetti to Alexander Holtz or even Jack Quinn if it’s a lower round selection.
It obviously would be a disappointing situation if the Bruins didn’t have the chance to make another run at the Stanley Cup this season, but adding a solid first-round pick could also help boost them offensively heading into the 2020-21 campaign.
Speaking of next season, another way teams could be rewarded is with a little bit of cap space or leeway to sign players.
Now, the Bruins have some notable free agents to sign in Torey Krug (UFA), Jake DeBrusk (RFA), Matt Grzelcyk (RFA) and Zdeno Chara (UFA), so awarded cap space would do Boston some good… especially on the Krug front.
It seems likely that DeBrusk and Chara will remain with the Bruins, but Krug’s price tag has skyrocketed since his last deal, and it seems like Boston may move on from Grzelcyk and roll with Jeremy Lauzon next season and beyond.
So, with extra cap space, the B’s would be able to extend the players they need to and maybe even add some talent in free agency.
But if you ask me, a solid first-round selection may be the best way to go.
There’s always another option too — just award the Bruins the Stanley Cup. Honestly, the boys in black and gold probably wouldn’t accept the trophy if the NHL were to do that, and quite frankly, fans shouldn’t like that option either. Who wants to win something like that? I certainly wouldn’t.
But then I had one last idea. It’s not necessarily compensation, but it certainly is better than just awarding the Cup to the league’s best team.
The two top teams in the league are the Bruins and the Blues. You could have them play a seven-game series at a neutral site to help minimize any threat COVID-19 poses.
Or, you could also take the two top teams from each conference and have, sort of, a mini playoff.
These are all interesting thoughts, but hopefully, we won’t even need to have a serious discussion about compensation for a canceled season, although, I’m sure it’s something the league has at least thought of by now.
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