The 2019-20 NHL season may be less than a month away from resuming. If all goes to plan, then games will start taking place August 1, according to TSN's Frank Seravalli.
With hockey seemingly getting closer to being back, there's sure to be plenty of news regarding the 24 teams that will be in action when players return to the ice. And although the offseason and NHL draft will be pushed back to the end of the season, there will still be buzz about what could happen once the Stanley Cup has been awarded.
Here's some of the latest buzz from around the NHL.
Seabrook Could Be Back in Action Soon
After playing 32 games for the Chicago Blackhawks this season, Brent Seabrook needed to take time off to get healthy. After undergoing surgeries on his right shoulder and both his hips, the 35-year-old defenseman could be back on the ice soon—and not just to practice or to get ready for 2020-21.
According to Scott Powers of The Athletic, Seabrook is "planning to attempt to play if the season returns," as he'll look to help the Blackhawks make a run through the expanded 24-team NHL playoffs. Chicago is the No. 12 seed in the Western Conference and is scheduled to take on the No. 5-seeded Edmonton Oilers.
With uncertainty around the NHL as a whole after the season was suspended in mid-March, the Blackhawks appeared to be unsure themselves about whether Seabrook's return was a possibility.
"Just a month ago, the Blackhawks didn't think Seabrook would be far enough in his rehab to be considered an option," Powers wrote. "But he's made strides and has expressed his desire to try to play again this season."
Powers added that Seabrook has been skating but that he "hasn't been cleared for contact yet." Blackhawks training camp is expected to begin July 13.
Seabrook has spent his entire 15-year NHL career with Chicago, serving as a solid contributor on defense and helping the franchise to win three Stanley Cups. This season, he recorded three goals and an assist. In his first 14 seasons, he never had less than 20 points in a campaign and has played 78 or more games 12 times.
The Blackhawks would have plenty of defensive depth if Seabrook returns, so they may have some tricky decisions to make regarding their blue line.
Kings May Be Leaning Toward Stutzle at No. 2
While Alexis Lafreniere is likely going to be the first player selected in the 2020 NHL draft, we won't know which team will be taking him until the second phase of the draft lottery. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings own the No. 2 overall pick, but it's not clear whom they will be taking, although it's likely a decision between two players.
Quinton Byfield and Tim Stutzle are projected by many to be the second and third players off the board, but the Kings could have a tough time choosing between them. Byfield is a 6'4" Canadian center who last played for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL, while Stutzle is a 6'0" left winger who most recently turned out for Adler Mannheim of the DEL.
According to Hailey Salvian of The Athletic, Los Angeles may be leaning in the European's direction: "There has been some chatter that the L.A. Kings...are higher on the German forward than Byfield, and that could make the latter available to the Senators at third overall."
As Salvian pointed out, it's almost certain that Byfield or Stutzle will go to Ottawa at No. 3, and that will all depend on what Los Angeles decides to do with the previous pick. Regardless of which player the Kings take, they will be getting a talented prospect who could become a star in the years to come. As will the Senators.
With the 2019-20 season scheduled to resume later this summer, the draft likely won't take place until October, assuming that the season is able to be completed. If that's the case, then there will be plenty of time for the Kings, Senators and the rest of the league to contemplate what to do with their first-round selections.