The First Pick in the N.H.L. Draft Goes to … TBD

Byfield, whose father is from Jamaica and whose mom is Canadian, may develop into the highest chosen black participant in league historical past. Columbus defenseman Seth Jones at present holds the distinction, having been chosen fourth in the 2013 draft.

“If I got drafted that high, being the highest player drafted with black heritage, that would definitely be special, making a mark in history like that,” Byfield stated.

Beyond the dizzying format modifications and unexpected delays to the N.H.L. season, the technique of evaluating prospects was thrown into flux after the N.C.A.A., beginner leagues in North America and professional leagues in Europe canceled their seasons. The Under-18 World Junior Championships, which had been scheduled for April 16-26 have been additionally canceled, a loss that Blake, the Kings common supervisor, significantly lamented.

“That’s where the collection of these players get to play peer versus peer and you get to watch it,” he stated, “and see the difference from the beginning of the year to the end of the year what they’d done.”

Martin Madden, the assistant common supervisor for the Anaheim Ducks, stated that his employees members tried exhausting to maintain their variety of viewings for every prospect at the similar stage it might have been for a full season. That meant deep video dives and conducting distant interviews with gamers as his scouts ready as if the authentic June draft date can be saved.

Around the league, interviews with prospects are being performed by videoconference, a departure from the inflexible schedule at the annual mix, the place interviews are often timed to final round 15 minutes or can embody many gamers in teams. Without a standardized size and with a vast variety of contributors — together with executives, coaches and scouts — the course of this yr is permitting each staff officers and gamers to get extra profound appears to be like at each other.

“The whole process of teams doing Zoom interviews with prospects was an opportunity for teams to really get to know players beyond what they’ve been able to do in the past,” stated participant agent Allan Walsh.

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