Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Thinking Of Turning Draft Lottery Into Shell Game


The NHL wants to prevent teams from tanking to ensure that the best product is being presented on the ice.  So we went to the draft lottery after thoughts surfaced that the Ottawa Senators intentionally lost games to draft Alexander Daigle in the 1993 draft.

Then the NHL changed the draft lottery a bit to add more parity and give more teams a chance at landing the number one pick.

It appears that the NHL wants to change the draft lottery again in advance of the 2015 NHL draft as many teams in the league are salivating over the chance at drafting Connor McDavid.

Originally the draft lottery only benefited the top five teams, as you could only move up a maximum of four spots if you won the lottery.  The current CBA was amended to every team having a chance at the first overall pick, albeit with a weighted number of chances to the worst teams in the league.

Now it looks like the NHL wants to use a lottery system to select the top three, and possibly even the top five draft picks in the entry draft.

Can the league change it mid CBA without getting approval of the NHLPA and the board of governors?  Sure teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks have to be keenly interested in that number one selection as adding another potential superstar only adds to the fact that these teams are setup in the equivalent of a modern NHL dynasty.

Teams that have gone into full rebuild mode, either recently or ongoing – should be absolutely trembling at this thought – especially in Buffalo where the Buffalo Sabres have sold off all major assets for draft picks in the hopes of rebuilding from the top of the draft.  Under the new system, the worst place team could potentially pick fourth or sixth, if they don’t get a selection in the draft lottery.  So much for fan run campaigns like Fail for Nail and Suck for Luck (ok, that’s a football reference, but you get my point).

Potentially drafting first overall the next two seasons gives the Buffalo Sabres bargaining power in free agency – you have the best blue chip prospect coming out of the draft, guys that could be good enough that other players want to play with.  Ask the Buffalo Bills or any other team that sucks just bad enough to not make the playoffs, but not bad enough to pick outside of the 6-9 range.

The minute this system get’s put into place and the Pittsburgh Penguins or any other National Hockey League powerhouse get a top five draft pick – will push more fans out of the way courtesy of Gary Bettman and company.

Thoughts on this and other NHL tidbits.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Connor McDavid Draft Lottery Featured NHL Popular

  • jimbobv2

    If they really want to discourage tanking, then they need to have the same odds of winning the lottery for all non-playoff teams and then have a lottery for the top 5 picks.

    Any other system won’t really give teams pause. The NBA has a lottery for the top 3 picks and teams still do what the Sabres are doing now.

    I’m a Sixers fan and they have lost 21 straight as they bottom out as Phase 1 of their new GM’s plan to rebuild the roster.

  • Mike Flynn

    I think the last place team should have the number one pick no matter what. How can teams like the sabres panthers islanders oilers flames get better if Chicago Pittsburgh Boston and stolid win the lottery all the time it’s the classic line of the rich get richer. Never heard complaints about teams tanking to get a good pick when Chicago or Pittsburgh were at the bottom of the league. Just look at the Sidney Crosby draft how is it fair for Florida to pick 28th. Top five picks go to the five worst teams then lottery or bingo draw the rest don’t think u should be kicked when yr down.

    • Dano

      How many #1 picks has Edmonton had in the last 10 years and where are they still?

      A LOT of the problem isnt the draft, its coaching and scouting, having a good system from their farm teams and giving players proper development.

      Detroit has traded away their first round picks something like 18 out of the last 20 years. They have had a few cups and been to the finals a few times in that period. They have a GOOD system and good scouting.

  • RonNasty64

    I still think that Pittsburgh should not have been allowed to draft Crosby. That one was fixed. I think the rules should be changed, but there should be limitations on who can get the #1, and that would be that you haven’t won a Stanley Cup in the past 10 seasons. There is no reason, other than through trades, why any team that has won it all in the past 10 years should get the number one. The one exception would be that your entire team died in a plane crash.

  • Dano

    All those draft dreamers are now going to be miffed. As you stated Tim, teams can tank to increase their odds.

    I have a better plan and one that will cause REAL parity.

    A ‘ flexable Cap ‘ system. Theres 30 teams. The best team from the year before looses a certain percentage of cap space. If their roster is already ‘ over ‘, they cannot renew contracts till they are under the cap designated for them. Teams whom are tanking will have ‘ cap relief ‘ of such as they will have more funds to pay for better players.

    If the cap were at 50$ per team and theres 30 teams, make each ranking worth 50 cents. The team whom wins the cup will have a cap of 43.50$ the next year. If they are already contractually over that number, they just cannot renew contracts. The worst team in the league could spend up to 57.50$ on their team.

    Change the draft to a ‘ 10 slot ‘ type of system. The Bottom 10 teams draft 1-10th positions via draw of a hat. No weights involved. 11-20 draw from the hat, no positioning involved. The same for 21-30.

    Theres also the option for lower teams whom will have more cap space being allowed to ‘ trade ‘ or sell cap space for a team whos ‘ over ‘ for their draft picks.

    Theres many ways to do things to balance out the draft ‘ lottery ‘ by making it more flexible.

    Look at Edmonton and the Av’s. They have how many of the top 1-5 picks over how many years? Where are they? The Sabres COULD catch Edmonton and they have absolutely NOBODY on their roster right now.

    Im under the firm belief that Murray intentionally ditched a bunch of players that wanted to be here to hide the fact he wants dead-last to go draft-dreaming with.

  • john masich

    Just shows that the nhl doesn’t believe buffalo deserves anything. Nothing was said when Edmonton got 3 consecutive number 1picks. I mean wtf veterans don’t want to come here and now the nhl doesn’t want us getting the number 1 pick for a possible 2 years in a row. Where does it make sense to make the cup contending teams stronger and the worse teams weaker? Fair competition my ass, the pens and black hawks must be in bed with bettman. Vanek was our last top 5 pick. It’s not like we are at the bottom every year. Usually just missing the playoffs and having a pick from 8 to 16. The draft should be like the nfl, problem solved.

  • john masich

    How many cup contending teams have multiple top 5 draft picks on their roster? I don’t think we have 1.