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No CBA, No NHL Entry Draft?

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

“There can’t be a draft without a CBA. That’s one of the things collectively bargained,” said former NHL general manager Craig Button, now a draft guru for TSN.

“The NHL could still implement a draft regardless of having no CBA, but the NHLPA could say no and then everybody’s a free agent. That would be messy. What if they say there’s a bidding situation for the junior players? It’s far-fetched and I don’t think it would happen, but …”

Then we’d have a Justin Schultz type of scramble for players like centre Nathan MacKinnon in Halifax, defenceman Seth Jones in Portland or Finnish centre Alexander Barkov. All three are playing at the world junior championship in Ufa, Russia.

“Yeah,” said Button, laughing, when asked about the Schultz sweepstakes, which the Oilers won on June 30, 2012, when they signed the University of Wisconsin Badgers star defenceman to a two-year contract.


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J.J. from Kansas's avatar

There would have to be an NHLPA still in existence in June to say no to a CBA-less entry draft. Without one, the NHL’s sole claim to be able to hold a draft is to go for a declaration that they can act as a single entity and they’re not likely to get that.

If they’re still fighting that late into the year, it doesn’t really matter if they want to consider all draft-eligible kids as free agents because teams aren’t signing anybody during a lockout anyway. They’d likely build a paragraph or two into whatever CBA they eventually do end up hammering out to simply push the draft back for this year’s crop.

Although if we get that far into the year without a CBA, I’d be interested to see what would happen if a handful of the kids from this draft class all filed lawsuits against both the NHL and NHLPA claiming that one can’t act in concert to take away their right to free agency and that the other doesn’t adequately represent them.

It won’t happen; I’m just curious.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/26/12 at 10:16 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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