The 2020 offseason for the Washington Capitals is massively important.
It's also going to be massively difficult.
With the NHL Draft starting Oct. 6, and free agency opening just three days later, so much of the normal pre-draft prep and offseason work won't be done face to face as it normally could.
Instead, it's all through Zoom.
Conference rooms and lunch meetings have turned into virtual backgrounds and potentially not wearing pants while talking to your boss.
That scenario is no different for Caps' assistant GM Ross Mahoney (Well, maybe not the pants part. I didn't ask him about that. I know, missed opportunity).
"It's been different," Mahoney told the Capitals Talk Podcast. "We didn't have that opportunity to probably catch the last couple months of a regular season like we normally would. We didn't have the combine and being able to do the interviews, but it's like anything else -- everybody had to deal with a little adversity during these times and you make the best of it."
But just because his job, like so many others, is more complicated in 2020, doesn't mean things can't get done though. It's all about embracing technology and improvising.
"We did a little more into the watching of the videos because you wanted to have a few more looks at them," Mahoney said. "The video has really helped a lot. Zoom has enabled us to be able to interview a lot of these young players that are eligible for the draft. So, it's different, but it's the way it is."
Keep in mind, Mahoney and GM Brian MacLellan not only have to prep for the draft and free agency differently, but they still have to finalize their coaching staff with new head coach Peter Laviolette. Once that's established, the new coaches won't have the chance to meet with any players face to face either.
With potentially up to 11 guys that would be on the roster next season living overseas at the moment, there are probably no long trips to Russia or Sweden or the Czech Republic on the schedule to get to know each other.
But hey, there's always virtual team happy hours, right?
As Mahoney pointed out in our conversation, the Capitals, as we all expect, remain in win-now mode. With a championship window closing, and a lot of moving parts, plus an offseason that doesn't even have an end date yet, this will be a major challenge for every decision-maker in the organization.
Luckily, every team around the NHL has to navigate these same waters. It is the most experienced, most successful organizations who will figure out how to deal with what's in front of them under extreme circumstances and put together another winning team in 2021.