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Dan’s Daily: NHL Season Will Begin Jan. 1, Round One Awesomeness

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NHL Draft, Doug Wilson Jr. sign language, ozzy wiesblatt

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens made the only player-for-player trades, as COVID-19 protocols already robbed us of the drama from wandering GMs who visit other tables, in-person trade talks, and the roaring fans who cheer their home team and boo Gary Bettman. In the links, a date has been set for next season, the San Jose Sharks showed great class, and Alex Trebek made an appearance.

I did a live national radio show from the draft floor during the last time the NHL Draft was in Montreal (2009). By 4 p.m., the upper deck was full of fans from Montreal and Toronto chanting back and forth. By 6 p.m., the place was rocking with energy and excitement.

Thanks, COVID.

(Funny story about that 2009 draft. The scouting service maven who was to co-host the show took a last-minute offer from TSN but didn’t tell us. Then our last-second substitute fell ill just a few picks into the draft. Former NHLer Jimmy Dowd and me were alone at the radio table left to fake our way through eight rounds of NHL Draft expertise. It became the last show I ever did from the floor. Though I think that was the year that Jim Rutherford joined me for 20 minutes, then ended the show with, “That’s all?!”).

First, the NHL season is now tentatively scheduled to begin on Jan. 1, not Dec. 1 (NHL.com)

The NHL trade block is less two names, as Montreal dealt Max Domi and a third-round pick to Columbus for Josh Anderson (Montreal Gazette)

There was one wonderful moment, and the NHL saved the best for last. With the 31st and final pick of Round One, the San Jose Sharks selected Ozzy Wiesblatt, whose mother is deaf. Doug Wilson Jr. used sign language to announce the pick, and the Wiesblatt family celebration was immediate (San Jose Hockey Now)

What an extraordinary gesture by Wilson, eh?

Here’s the full Round One board, beginning with Alexis Lafreniere (TSN)

Alex Trebek announced the Ottawa Senators pick, third overall (NHL.com)

OK, now I’ll rub a little salt in the Penguins fans’ wounds. The Toronto Maple Leafs used the 15th overall pick, which formerly belonged to the Penguins, to select a Russian winger with a huge upside (Sportsnet)

Kasperi Kapanen must have a big season, or GM Jim Rutherford could wear that trade for a while. There were a lot of high-ceiling players on the board at No. 15.

HOCKEY NOW

Speaking of Rutherford, the Penguins purge is nearly complete, but when it is done, there will be nowhere else to go. Is Rutherford undoing mistakes, or creating them? (PHN+)

Back to Wiesblatt, Sheng Peng and the crew at San Jose Hockey Now talked more about the pick (San Jose Hockey Now)

Oliver Ekman-Larsson set a Friday deadline to be traded to either Vancouver or Boston, or he will enforce his full NTC (Boston Hockey Now)

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