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 NHL

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