On Wednesday, the NHL announced that they will be changing the lottery system the determines the draft order of the 14 teams who fail to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Under the old system the team with the least amount of points had the best chance to win the number one overall all pick. The league wants to implement a new weighted system over the next two seasons in order to prevent any team from "tanking" for a better pick.
Starting with the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, hosted by the Florida Panthers, the odds of winning the first overall selection will be adjusted to more appropriately reflect the current state of competitive balance in the league. Basically the ten teams with the most points who didn't qualify for the playoffs, will receive better odds at the top pick than they did before while the four lowest teams will have a smaller chance than they did in the previous system.
Here is the chart of what the new odds will look like, courtesy of NHL.com.
(Fewest Pts. to Most)
|New Draft Lottery Odds||Odds Under Former Allocation|
Starting in 2016, the NHL will make three separate draws; one for the first pick, one for the second pick and one for the third pick. The old system had just one draw for the top pick so the team with the least amount of points would pick no lower than second. Now that team can pick as low fourth.
The odds for the first draw will be the same as the chart shows above. The odds for the second and third draws will be adjusted proportionately. After the three draws are complete picks four through fourteen be ranked based on regular season points started with the team with the lowest point total.
The NHL is implementing this system to keep teams playing hard throughout their schedules so no team can be accused of tanking to get a better prospect the following summer. It is very hard for a professional team to lose on purpose and not make it obvious to the rest of the league, but not impossible. The NHL is trying to eliminate that possibility even though it is doubtful any team is guilty of this practice over the past few seasons. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being proactive and innovative at the same time, which is what the league is doing with this new format.