Things could be a little abnormal this hockey season, and that now includes the NHL Draft.
If it plays out as currently scheduled, UND freshman defenseman Jake Sanderson will be picked in the 2020 NHL Draft during the middle of UND's season-opening game at Bemidji State.
The NHL announced Friday that the NHL Draft is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 9-10.
If the NHL follows the format of recent years, the first round will be held on the evening Oct. 9 in prime time hours for television purposes. UND is slated to play against Bemidji State at 7:07 p.m. in Bemidji's Sanford Center on that night.
Sanderson, a 6-foot-2, 186-pound defenseman, is projected to go in the top 10 of the draft and become one of the highest-drafted UND players of all time.
UND's only top-10 picks have been Jonathan Toews (No. 3, 2006), Jason Herter (No. 8, 1989), John Marks (No. 9, 1968), James Patrick (No. 9, 1981), Brian Lee (No. 9, 2005) and Tyson Jost (No. 10, 2016).
But if things go as scheduled, Sanderson may have to wait until after the game to learn his place in the draft.
Sanderson currently is in Grand Forks with most of UND's 2020-21 team.
The players held a couple of informal scrimmages last week, and Sanderson was one of the big standouts.
Rounds 2-7 will presumably be on Oct. 10, likely beginning in the late morning or early afternoon. The Fighting Hawks are scheduled to host Bemidji State at 7:07 p.m. in Ralph Engelstad Arena that evening.
UND has several candidates to go on Day 2 of the draft, including freshman defensemen Tyler Kleven and Mitchell Miller, sophomore defenseman Ethan Frisch, and committed forward recruits Ethan Bowen, Stephen Halliday and Grand Forks native Jackson Kunz.
The NHL Draft was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is now slated to begin a week after the Stanley Cup Final.
The league has not yet announced how it will conduct the draft, but it is expected to be done virtually, like the NFL's event in April.
It has not yet been decided which team will earn the No. 1 overall pick -- and likely select forward Alexis Lafreniere -- but Nos. 2-8 have been decided.
The Los Angeles Kings will pick second, followed by the Ottawa Senators at No. 3, Detroit Red Wings at No. 4, the Senators again at No. 5, Anaheim Ducks at No. 6, New Jersey Devils at No. 7 and the Buffalo Sabres at No. 8.
The Senators have repeatedly drafted UND-bound players with high picks in recent years, selecting defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker in the first round in 2018, defenseman Jonny Tychonick in the second round in 2018 and forward Shane Pinto with the opening pick of the second round in 2019. The Senators also have one current UND player on their roster in Christian Wolanin.