NHL looking to Make Changes to Draft Lottery

The all powerful ping pong balls have fallen in the favor of too few teams recently. The NHL is looking to make some changes to their draft lottery system. As it stands right now, the lottery is used to determine the top 3 picks of each draft with the worst team having the best odds to land the top pick. However, there are times when teams outside of the bottom few catapult into the top of the draft. It is this kind of event that the NHL wants to limit.

Proposed Changes

The NHL plans to propose three key changes to the draft lottery system:

  1. Teams will be limited to 2 lottery wins in a 5 year period (lottery win is defined as a top 3 pick)
  2. Teams will be allowed to only jump 10 spots with a lottery win
  3. A reduction in the number of picks in the lottery from 3 to 2

Change number 1 should strike fear into Oilers, Devils, and Rangers fans. The Oilers would not have been able to land Leon Draisaitl, or Connor McDavid if this was the system when they went 3/5 years with getting the first overall pick. The Rangers would be ineligible after landing Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere in consecutive years. In addition, the Devils would be ineligible after landing Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes.

My Thoughts

Personally, I think the NHL (and the NBA for that matter), need to get rid of the lottery system. Yes it is fun to have a team jump from the number 9 spot to the top pick, but it keeps talent dispersed throughout the league. I like the idea of putting some restrictions on winning the lottery. I want to see talent dispersed amongst the teams instead of one team winning it three year’s in a row. Furthermore, I want to see the best player in a draft go to the worst team and be a part of their revival. Top picks are incredibly helpful when it comes to getting out of the basement. Except if you are the Oilers of Sabres of course. Then, the elevate them to barely mediocre and then demand a trade a few years in. Looking at you Jack Eichel.

The NHL did not make drastic changes to the draft lottery system after the Oilers won three years in a row

Final Thoughts

The NHL is proposing some big changes to their draft system. Ultimately, I want to see them abolish the lottery and adopt the system NFL and MLB have where the worst team gets the top pick. However, I do find it a little fishy that they want to impose limits only after the Rangers get a top 2 pick in consecutive years, but not after the Oilers got the first overall pick 3 years in a row. I feel like the same team winning the first pick years in a row is worse than one team getting a top 2 pick in consecutive years. But, we all the know the NHL is very weird and marches only to the off-beat sound of their own drum.

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