Today we have an update to an article published last week regarding prospects who may or may not be eligible to play in the 2020 NHL Playoffs. We will also discuss a Minnesota Wild Prospect heading to the KHL and 2020 NHL Draft hopeful Brock Faber.
Unsigned Picks Out of 2020 Playoffs
After it was reported last week that unsigned NHL draft picks like Ilya Sorokin, Kirill Kaprizov and Alexander Romanov may not be eligible to play in the 2020 NHL Playoffs, it was confirmed this week that those players will not make their debuts this summer.
However, despite being ineligible for the playoffs, these players could still sign their entry-level contract this summer, burning a year in the process. While this may sound counterintuitive, it could be used for positioning by franchises at the negotiation table.
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See, by signing one of their young players who plays in another league (like the KHL), it would give them an immediate payday that could help draw them to the NHL sooner. Then, they would be one year closer to signing a bridge deal, which may be more affordable as they have a smaller body of work to use as leverage.
This could also be a risky move for a franchise, as it is essentially betting that a player will be good but not a superstar in their first year or two in the league. If they come over and have a Calder-caliber rookie season, they may be due a bigger bridge-deal than originally expected.
So, while it could be used for some leverage, don’t expect many franchises to burn a year of their top-prospects’ entry-level contract as nothing more than a negotiation tactic.
Khovanov Heading to the KHL
Next is a trend that we will likely see more of as the NHL’s 2020-21 season appears to be delayed until at least December. Announced on July 8, Wild prospect Alexander Khonanov has signed a one-year contract with the Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL.
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For both parties, this signing makes a lot of sense. By getting playing time in the KHL, Khovanov will be able to continue developing his game instead of waiting for the NHL season to start in December. For a player coming off an injury in 2019-20, this will be an important step in his process.
For the Wild, this will give an option to see how Khovanov is developing. If he looks good in the KHL, they can potentially call him back when their season starts in 2020-21, or they can just wait for him to play out his one-year contract and return for the 2021-22 season.
Prospect of the Day: Brock Faber
In an absolutely loaded 2020 NHL Draft, defensive defensemen like Brock Faber could become one of those underrated but important mid-round picks. While he isn’t expected to be selected in the first or even second round, he will offer solid value coming out of round three.
As said by Mathieu Sheridan of THW:
Faber is a defender who does all the little things right. He reads plays well and has an active stick. He intercepts passes in the neutral zone and can transition play quickly. When the puck is shuffled up the half-wall, Faber knows when it is safe to pinch and when it is not.
Not only is he already playing a strong defensive game, but Faber is also committed to play for the University of Minnesota for the 2020-21 season. This makes him an appealing prospect since he will be taking on meaningful playing with one of the best collegiate programs in the country.
Even if he doesn’t develop into a top-end defenseman, he still has the size and skill to contribute in a third-pairing role. If things go perfectly, however, he has the potential to be a top-four defensive monster that every franchise needs on their blue line.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.