July has arrived, and more of the sports world is preparing to return after shutting down in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. While no date has been set, the NHL's comeback, featuring an expanded 24-team postseason, is getting closer.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the NHL's latest plan is to have teams return to action Aug. 1, with training camps set to open July 13. So while there's still been some hockey buzz during the league's downtime, the first phase of the NHL draft lottery June 26 saw things start to pick up in earnest.
With the season's conclusion pencilled in and a later-than-usual offseason and draft to follow, there will be plenty of hockey news on the way.
Here's some of the latest buzz surrounding the NHL.
When Could Kaprizov Join the Wild?
Kirill Kaprizov was selected in the fifth round of the 2015 draft by the Minnesota Wild. However, the left winger has yet to make his NHL debut, instead spending the five seasons following his draft playing in the KHL.
But the 23-year-old may be getting close to signing a deal with the Wild and beginning his NHL career. If he signs now, however, he may not be in action this summer.
According to McKenzie, the NHL is not going to allow players who were unsigned and on a team's reserve list to play when the league resumes later this summer. The Athletic's Michael Russo reported that the NHL and NHL Players' Association are "working on language that would allow players like Kaprizov to sign their entry-level deals to start in the 2019-20 season but not allow them to play this summer."
As Russo pointed out, that would allow Minnesota to get Kaprizov under contract for 2020-21 but would also mean he's a year closer to becoming a free agent. The situation is fluid, although it appears unlikely the five-time KHL All-Star will be on the ice for the Wild this summer.
"I truly don't know [what's going to happen] right now," a team source told Russo. "We're still working on it."
Kaprizov has spent the past three seasons playing for CSKA Moscow, and his points total has increased each year. He posted career-best numbers during the 2019-20 campaign, tallying 29 assists and a league-best 33 goals over 57 games. Hockey fans in North America should be excited to see whether his elite sniping skills translate when he finally arrives in Minnesota.
Rossi's Draft Stock Latest
Marco Rossi is likely going to be taken early in the 2020 NHL draft. The Athletic's Corey Pronman has him going to the New Jersey Devils at No. 7, while ESPN's Chris Peters projects him to get taken with the No. 8 pick by the Buffalo Sabres.
However, that doesn't mean there aren't some concerns about Rossi's game.
Peters recently wrote that Rossi has become an "oddly polarizing" prospect and that there "also are concerns about Rossi's size." The centerman is 5'9" and around 180 pounds, which could be a reason why he may not get picked until the back end of the top 10.
While some teams may have doubts about Rossi, Peters listed some of the strengths the 18-year-old showcased while playing for the Ottawa 67's in the OHL the past two seasons.
"The power and strength he generates from his lower half alleviates those size concerns for me, and no matter how you reason, he knows how to score," Peters wrote, while also praising his "excellent" hand skills.
In 2018-19, Rossi tallied 65 points (29 goals and 36 assists) over 53 games for Ottawa. His numbers were even more impressive this past season, as he had 120 points (39 goals and 81 assists) in 56 games. Regardless of any concerns teams may have, it seems unlikely that the Austrian will be waiting too long before hearing his name called come draft day.