This year's NHL Draft will be like no other, as the 31 teams convene online to pick the next crop of prospects.
There will be no big stage, no handshakes with commissioner Gary Bettman and certainly no crowded draft floor with GMs and scouts mingling about.
This year's draft will be held digitally and remotely, much like everything else in our current coronavirus-conscious world.
What will the NHL Draft, which starts with Round 1 on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. and picks up for Rounds 2-7 on Oct. 7 at 11:30 a.m., look like this year? April's NFL Draft offers a glimpse into what to expect. The 32 NFL teams had cameras set up in their respective war rooms - often home offices for the coaches and general managers - as well as homes of the top prospects.
Islanders President and GM Lou Lamoriello is setting up the Isles' war room at Northwell Health Ice Center and while selecting remotely will be unusual, Lamoriello anticipates a seamless and professional draft.
"I believe it'll go very fluid, just from my understanding, there will be some dry runs of it over the next several days," Lamoriello said. "The NHL is putting in a lot of effort and time to make sure it'll come across extremely professional and very smooth, not unlike the job Steve Mayer did with the Return to Play and the bubbles."
The Islanders enter the draft without a first-or-second round pick, so unless they trade into the top two rounds, they'll have some time to get the lay of the land. The Islanders traded back into the first round twice in 2015, but not in 2017, the last two times they entered the draft without a first-rounder.
"We'll have an opportunity to watch and see if anyone does anything out of the ordinary or if there is anything we can learn, but I think it's going to be fairly simple as far as it comes across," Lamoriello said.
As far as the scouting process, Lamoriello said the Islanders' scouts had completed most of their in-person evaluations before the respective pauses and eventual cancelations across the junior, collegiate and European ranks.
While the scouting staff missed out on watching playoff competition, they've had more time to pour over tape with the draft being delayed over three months. Of course, scouting staffs for all 31 clubs have had the same time to do so Lamoriello anticipates no advantage for any one team, but a deeper understanding of the prospect field. Lamoriello said Assistant GMs Chris Lamoriello and Steve Pellegrini handled much of the scouting meetings and planning during the playoffs.
"The time was not wasted during the period that we couldn't go out and scout," Lamoriello said. "I know our scouts had been working at it since the day they couldn't go back on the road and continue to do that through the playoffs. I think we're as well prepared as you possibly could be… We do not have a first and a second because of the Pageau trade, which fortunately for us because of the success we had is down to 28 and 56/57 or so. We will be drafting in the future rounds and we can depend upon our scouting staff for them to find something for us."