Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; A general view of the complete draft board after the completion of the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

NHL News: NHL Draft Lottery Format Changes

The NHL announced today that there will be changes to the NHL Draft Lottery. The Draft Lottery is a system that determines the order of the NHL Draft for the teams that failed to qualify for the postseason during the regular season.

According to the NHL, the changes will be phased over a two-year period that will begin with next season’s 2015 NHL Draft.

Here are the changes that will be used starting with the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery:

“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. This will result in a more evenly-balanced allocation of odds, with the 10 highest-finishing non-Playoff qualifying teams receiving higher (better) Draft Lottery odds than they received previously and the four lowest-finishing teams receiving lower (worse) odds. The revised set of odds will remain in effect year-to-year in the future.” – Statement made by the National Hockey League

Here are the changes that will be implemented for the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery:

“Beginning in 2016, the Draft Lottery will be utilized to assign the top three drafting slots in the NHL Draft, an expansion over previous years when the Draft Lottery was used to determine the winner of the first overall selection only.

Three draws will be held: the 1st Lottery draw will determine the Club selecting first overall, the 2nd Lottery draw will determine the Club selecting second overall and the 3rd Lottery draw will determine the club selecting third overall.

As a result of this change, the team earning the fewest points during the regular season will no longer be guaranteed, at worst, the second overall pick. That club could fall as low as fourth overall.

The allocation of odds for the 1st Lottery draw will be the same as outlined above for the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery. The odds for the remaining teams will increase on a proportionate basis for the 2nd Lottery draw, based on which Club wins the 1st Lottery draw, and again for the 3rd Lottery draw, based on which Club wins the 2nd Lottery draw.

The 11 Clubs not selected in the Draft Lottery will be assigned NHL Draft selections 4 through 14, in inverse order of regular-season points.” – Statement made by National Hockey League

The NHL has done a marvelous job of creating and maintaining a competitive balance throughout the league since the implementation of the salary cap following the 2004-2005 lockout. The updates to the Draft Lottery only further adds to the competitive balance as the odds for winning the lottery are more evenly distributed as compared to years past.

Non-Playoff Team
(Fewest Pts. to Most)
New Draft Lottery Odds Odds Under Former Allocation
1 20.0% 25.0%
2 13.5% 18.8%
3 11.5% 14.2%
4 9.5% 10.7%
5 8.5% 8.1%

(Table/numbers via NHL.com)

The second change adds to the suspense of the draft lottery as there will be three draws held as opposed to only one. According to the NHL, the team who finished with the least amount of points could fall as low as No. 4 if they are not picked in one of the three draws. The teams not selected in the lottery will be ranked in inverse order of points for the 4-14 draft slots.

These measures certainly act as a deterrent to teams that plan on “tanking” once they are eliminated from playoff contention. But have these changes improved the NHL Draft Lottery and NHL Draft?

What do you think of the changes to the NHL Draft Lottery?

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