While it remains unclear whether the NHL will restart after pausing amid the coronavirus pandemic, next season won’t be cut short if action does resume.
In an updated Q&A issued Monday, the league said it doesn’t expect any scenario to “endanger or interfere with” the NHL’s ability to play a full season in 2020-21.
No decisions, however, have been made about finishing the current season, the format of the playoffs or the timing/format of the draft and combine. The league still is hoping to potentially open training camps at the end of April.
The NHL is aware of only two players testing positive for COVID-19. Both players are on the Ottawa Senators, presented mild symptoms and are currently in isolation.
Players have been instructed to self-quarantine through Friday unless a longer period is required by local mandates that could be related to recent travel.
Depending on the developments regarding COVID-19, the NHL will consider opening team facilities for players to participate in scheduled and coordinated small groups for voluntary training after this self-quarantine period. The NHL doesn’t anticipate needing to conduct leaguewide testing for all players before they return to team facilities.
Wild signs draft picks
The Wild locked up a pair of prospects Monday, signing forwards Adam Beckman and Damien Giroux to three-year, entry-level contracts.
Beckman, who was drafted 75th overall in the third round last year, was the Western Hockey League scoring champion after racking up 107 points in 63 games with the Spokane Chiefs. He also led the WHL in goals (48) and shots on goals (316) and ranked second in power-play goals (16) and game-winning goals (nine). His 59 assists tied for third.
A 6-1, 174-pound native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Beckman had 32 multipoint games and recorded a point in 33 of his last 36 games.
Giroux registered 44 goals and 31 assists in 61 games as team captain for the Saginaw Spirit in the Ontario Hockey League. His 10 game-winning goals were tied for the most in the OHL, and the 20-year-old led Saginaw in goals, tied for first in power-play goals (11) and ended up third in scoring.
Giroux wrapped the season on a nine-game point streak. The 5-foot-10, 179-pound native of Sudbury, Ontario, was drafted in the fifth round (155th overall) in 2018.
No Memorial Cup
The Canadian Hockey League, which oversees the WHL, OHL and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, canceled the playoffs and the Memorial Cup.
The Memorial Cup, set for May 22-31 in Kelowna, British Columbia, started in 1919. Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL won last year’s title.