The Philadelphia Flyers, for example, could not use their usual Quebec-area scouts because of travel restrictions, so they had to add staff in the Maritimes.
“It’s been a challenge, for sure,” Brent Flahr, Philadelphia’s assistant general manager, said in a phone interview. “The good thing is that if this were 15 years ago, without the video programs and access to video we have, it’d be an even bigger problem.”
Canada’s top three junior leagues, a major source of prospects, did not go unscathed: The Western Hockey League played a regular season but not a postseason; the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is staging its championship series; but the Ontario Hockey League did not play at all.
Center Mason McTavish, whose father played briefly in the N.H.L. before having a long career in Europe, was a displaced O.H.L. product. McTavish, born in Switzerland but raised in Canada, played in Switzerland’s second-tier league and finished second in N.H.L. Central Scouting’s North American skater rankings behind Power.
“Once the O.H.L. kept postponing their start, I came to the realization that they probably weren’t going to start,” he said in a phone interview. “So I started looking around in November.”
He added, “I really wanted to make sure I was going to be seen in my draft year.”
The N.C.A.A. held its championship, won by Massachusetts, but St. Lawrence, Notre Dame and Michigan were forced to withdraw from the tournament because of Covid-19 protocols.
That deprived the tournament of Michigan’s three freshman prospects who are potential top 10 picks — Power, center Matthew Beniers and left wing Kent Johnson. Beniers had decommitted from Harvard with the Ivy League season uncertain.