NHL Fixes Entry Draft…Sort Of


And no, I don’t mean fix  in the NBA “frozen envelope” kind of way, but more in the “its broke and we need to fix it” kind of way.

June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cody Ceci poses for a photo after being selected as the number fifteen overall draft pick to the Ottawa Senators in the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL released details of the upcoming Entry Draft, and the procedures that will be used to determine the draft order.  While they finally got something right, they didn’t quite go far enough in my mind.

On April 29th the NHL will have the draft lottery, and new this year all 14 non-playoff teams will have a shot at the first overall pick.  Good move.  I have been touting this for years that it is unfair that only 5 teams have the chance to get the first overall selection.  Especially when the conferences don’t play balanced schedules and the bottom 5 cannot be accurately determined.

But one detail they have kept in force is that once the first team is selected, that team moves to #1 and the rest of the order stays the same, just pushed back a spot until the lottery winner’s spot.  This stillmeans that no team can fall more than one slot in the draft order, and in all likelihood most will be slotted in the same spot.  I still don’t like this part.  If you are going to weight the lottery to favour the lower ranked team, then its not truly a lottery for the rest of the teams and it takes the drama out of the event.  I much prefer the way the NBA does it, placing all lottery teams in the pot and drawing each position in order.  That means the team that finishes 30th could conceivably draft as low as 14th, but it would be highly unlikely.  It also means that the top two picks could conceivably go to the 17th and 18th place teams in the league, again highly improbable but possible.  The combinations are endless and as such the drama is appealing.

The Draft itself will take place on June 30th in beautiful Newark, New Jersey, with all 7 rounds being held on the same day.  I don’t like this change either.  Being a draft nerd, I happened to like the 3+ hour prime time first round on Friday night TV.  It created more of an event.  The draft will start at 3 pm and they will cram all 210 picks into the time allotted.

I will still be watching, and hoping for the day that they make it a true lottery with some real drama.