Drafting Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel Just Got Harder


Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; NHL Draft changes are on the way. Being the worst team in the league just got much more uncomfortable. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL announced today (August 20th) that the 2015 Draft will be a little different and that the 2016 Draft will be a lot different.  Here’s how the NHL phrased the changes to the 2015 Draft:

"The odds of winning the first overall selection in the NHL Draft for the 14 non-Playoff teams will be adjusted to more appropriately reflect the current state of competitive balance in the League."

In terms this Alberta boy speaks, the NHL is trying to stop teams who sell off their assets at trade deadline and try to dive from 19th overall in the league standings to 29th overall in the league standings.  More so, it also should mean a reduction in the amount of teams in the NHL who enter a season without ever having a thought of finishing out of the bottom five.  I absolutely loathe how “vogue” it is to cheer for your team not to win!

The way the NHL currently does their draft is via a lottery.  The lottery includes the 14 non-playoff teams.  Depending on how each non-playoff team slotted themselves in the regular season league standings, that team would have a certain allotted mathematical percentage of winning the lottery and getting first pick overall.  The rule that no team can slide down more than one spot from their original draft location was also included.

The Hockey News nicely sums up the changes for 2015:

"“The odds to win first pick for the bottom four teams go down. The 30th-place team’s odds fall from 25 percent to 20; the 29th-place team’s odds fall from 18.8 percent to 13.5; the 28th-place team’s odds fall from 14.2 percent to 11.5; and the 27th-place team’s odds fall from 10.7 percent to 9.5.That means the odds for the 10 teams closest to making the playoffs increases, marginally in most cases. What the NHL effectively did is shift 13.9 percent worth of odds from the bottom four teams to the 10 teams closer to 16th place in the overall standings. In other words, there’s a little less incentive for bad teams to mail in the final weeks of the season in order to really ramp up their lottery odds.What does remain the same in the 2015 draft is a team can only slip one spot in selection order compared to inverse order of regular season points.”"

So for the upcoming Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel 2015 Draft, if you finish 30th overall, you will select one or the other because the rule is still in effect that you cannot slip more than place.  Therein lays the HUGE change for the 2016 NHL Draft.  Once again, nicely summed up by The Hockey News:

"“…starting with the 2016 draft, the league will now have a lottery to determine the top three picks in the draft, not just the top pick. In past years, if the 30th-place team didn’t win the lottery, it slipped just one spot to second pick. Starting next year, the 30th-place team could conceivably slip to fourth pick if its number doesn’t come up during the draws for the first three picks.”"

The NHL Draft changes are for the best.

I would have preferred a system where the bottom ten teams in the league all had an equal chance of winning the lottery but I’m just desperate to rid the sports world of fans hoping for a losing team.