Results of 2020 NHL Draft Lottery Sparks Outrage and Call for Change

by | Jul 2, 2020 | Soapbox | 16 comments



  1. I’m with Chrism who suggested a couple of days ago that the entry draft be cut back, much as in the NBA (2 rounds) and this year in MLB (5 rounds) with all undrafted prospects becoming unrestricted free agents.
    I think, for the NHL, three rounds of picks would work. The cap structure and entry level contracts would keep teams from spending crazy money on kids that weren’t drafted but we’d soon see which teams had the best scouts. Teams would also have the opportunity to fill specific needs and undrafted prospects could consider which team gives them the quickest route to the NHL.
    The NHL might also consider salary slots for drafted players similar to MLB, top dollar for first overall and on down to the last player drafted.
    As for the draft lottery, I think the current (normal) system is as good as any. The odds for teams with the worst records might be bumped a bit but the basic idea makes some sense.

    • Thanks. I couldn’t have stated it better myself!

  2. Personally, I like the concept & would keep it. Any team that does make the playoffs in a normal year, means they weren’t a good hockey team & giving every team out of playoffs an opportunity to pick first overall IMO, is very intriguing.

    All things equal, first overall picks do not automatically make you a dynasty. Just ask Oiler fans!!!

  3. I’ve been reading your comments for years but this is my first time posting. I just felt I had to chime in.

    As far as I’m concerned, the entire purpose of the lottery is to keep teams from intentionally tanking.

    Having teams that are actively competing for a playoff spot having even a minuscule shot at the top 3 spots completely goes against this purpose. The way the lottery was run this year just brought to light the chances of a competing team getting a top slot. People just didn’t realize what the probabilities were until they were added up for them.

    There’s got to be some way to keep this more fair. Something like maybe only making teams mathematically eliminated with 2 or 3 weeks left in the season eligible for the picks.

  4. I disagree keep the system the way it works before this lottery. It’s one of the main reasons that parity rules in the NHL but also prevents tanking. I personally didnt like this year’s lottery it should have been done one time but the league overthink the situation.

    • I respectfully disagree that the draft has anything to do with parity. Parity is solely the child of the salary cap.

      Even when there was no lottery, the worst teams got the best picks & were able to hold their rights until their late twenties, there was far, far less parity.

  5. Teams like the Pens, the Leaf, etc.. deserve a concession. The chance at the first overall pick is the least the league can do. Forcing teams to play teams that shouldn’t be in the playoffs in the first place shouldn’t come without consequence.

  6. Hi Lyle,

    Love your work. Is it time for the NHL to repay the Habs for assisting with the John Scott debacle? Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge

    • Wasn’t much of an assist.

  7. I think that this is only upsetting because teams like Edmonton and Pittsburgh have an outside chance of getting the pick. Doesn’t help that everyone talks about the qualifying round being ‘the playoffs’ which it’s not. I’ve thought from the start that a 20 team format made more sense based on the standings, but the NHL couldn’t pass up the chance to put Chicago and Montreal into the play-in.

    Realistically, the most probable outcome is that a team that has no reasonable business competing for the cup is going to get that pick (not that people won’t scream foul if Montreal or Chicago get it). If this was a normal year, we would just be talking about how the 20th place team got lucky at the lottery.

    No point being upset until the second lottery is over and we know who gets it, because there are a good number of teams playing who need (I won’t use the term deserve) that pick. I think Columbus getting it would be a great story; Minnesota, Montreal, Chicago, etc. are all teams that need major help.

  8. I think that the lottery works well to keep teams from tanking. I would agree that they should increase the odds a little bit for the worst teams

  9. I suggested before a solution re lottery

    Aside from this Covid nightmare…. in normal years lotteries:

    15 non playoff teams put in 2 3 groups…. (1) Group A: last place to 27th [bottom 5]; (2) Group B) 26th to 22nd [next 5]; (3) Group C, 21st to 17th

    Each of the groupings of 5 have ranked reducing odds …. say 30%, 25, 20, 15, 10

    2 lotteries for each group of 5 (total 6 lotteries)

    Most a team can move up is 4 spots (5th to 1st; 10th to 6th; 15th to 10th);

    Most any team can move down is 2 spots (e.g. last place picks 3rd; 6th worst team 8th; 10th worst team; 12th)

    Note: actual lottery ball drop takes seconds; the 6 ball drops and results (as usual in a locked room with 15 team reps (cell phones confiscated to eliminate communication out) can be determined in 15 minutes tops; the 15 placards sorted in final draft order in 5 mins; handed to Bill Daly for walk and then public announcements …. might be a total of 10 minutes longer than current process but

    avoids a 17th overall team ; who could have been in a very competitive tightly packed Div and minimal points out of home ice (2nd in div) ; but just losing out of last WC spot (due to a rash of late season injuries) by a tie-breaker; of winning first overall pick…. in that case; an already very very competitive team gets an added huge bonus of a first overall pick…. massively increasing their playoff success in the following years

    Can’t see Gary adopting this plan though

    • Peggy sorry have been away a few days so my comment may not be read even . I like the concept except may provide more tanking by a gm at the end of the season just to drop into a lower group. easy to dress a rookie even if its against a playoff team battling for postion . Just my thoughts

  10. The lottery is a joke – anyone who does not admit to this is an idiot.

  11. There are a ton of good proposals floating around. None are perfect and it’s obvious, in the week or two post-lottery, many opinions are biased towards how it impacted their team. That said, this is not a perfect system but one ‘good enough’ the league won’t waste time fighting over changing it.

    Side note: I love this site but, with all due respect, is there any chance at an update on the layout? It is completely non-responsive on mobile and tablet and even on desktop, is hardly optimized with the thin vertical content area. I won’t say peep about the ads since we’re all happily visiting and you gotta pay the bills, ;).

    • Agree; I would love to see an update to this site. It’s awesome!