Just as baseball fans remember 1994 as the season with no World Series.....hockey fans will remember 2005 as the season with no Stanley Cup Champion [though the Ning kept the title]. That may change in the future. The trustees of the Stanley Cup have agreed to award North America's oldest trophy to a non-NHL team in years of labor strife, or if there is no NHL at all. Absurd, you say? Well, the Stanley Cup is older than the NHL and was awarded to the best team in numberous leagues in the early days. It ain't the NHL playoffs....it's called the "Stanley Cup playoffs". Since 1927, only NHL teams have won the trophy....and an exclutivity agreement agreed to in 1947. That has changed.
So, in a year that saw no NHL hockey....the trustees of the Stanley Cup can award the trophy at will. One possiblity would be a "playoff" of the various champions of the minor leagues. They could form a Stanley Cup Playoffs with the championship teams from the leagues like the AHL, ECHL and all the other Canadian hockey organizations.
Either way, the trophy should be awarded whether there is an NHL season or not.