5 Ways To “Fix” NHL Draft Lottery System That Make It Much More Fun

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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NHL Draft Lottery
NHL Draft Lottery (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for NHLI) /

The New Jersey Devils have won two NHL Draft lotteries this decade after never winning the first-overall pick in its almost four-decade history. They were able to draft Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier to help put together a very good foundation down for the future. We’ve seen teams use the draft lottery to accelerate their ascent up the standings, while others botched their picks and kept themselves at the bottom. Now, after the New York Rangers moved up considerably in the draft lottery twice to get Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere, the conversation once again moves to “fixing” the draft lottery system.

Obviously, the first piece of news there would severely impact the Devils this season. Since they won in 2017 and 2019, they would not be able to move up at all in 2021, a draft that is very heavy on top defenders. This seems like one of those “change for change sake” moves by the NHL. So, if we’re making changes to the NHL Draft and draft lottery, let’s go crazy.

The league would do well with going with an off-the-wall system that will get more eyes on the product. Sure, the draft lottery gets people to watch now, but it’s only for the teams that are in it. There’s a way to make the NHL Draft a must-see experience. There are also ways to make it fairer.

The lottery isn’t as bad as some people make, but there are major flaws. So, might as well make it one of the craziest and fun nights on the NHL calendar. The draft lottery is a huge night for one NHL fanbase, but it’s also one that takes away a lot of what the NHL Draft could be. Imagine if we didn’t know which team had the number-one overall pick going into the night? Imagine if there were other ways to find the “winner” of the top pick?

So, this is to look at various other options. Some are already out there, and we will do our best to give credit where credit is due. Others are just ideas from my brain, which might be just a little bit insane but equally as fun. Let’s rank the ideas to fix the NHL Draft and its lottery system from “most boring” to “must watch”.