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
Deputy Commissioner of the NHL Bill Daly. (Photo by Abelimages / Getty Images for NHL) /

Go Back to Worst Goes First

Sometimes, the easiest path is the smartest path. The NFL and MLB still use a system where the worst teams get the best pick and there’s no other way around it. How often does tanking come up in those sports?

It’s definitely also with its flaws, but do teams lose more when there is a lottery than when there is not? So many times, we’ve seen football teams win games and ruin their chances at the number-one overall pick. The New York Jets had the inside route to the number-one pick and a transcending talent in Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Instead, they won two games, and now the Jacksonville Jaguars have the pick. This is from a league with only 16 (and soon 17) games, so every loss matters more for draft picks.

Each loss in hockey isn’t that important when it comes to draft status. Two years ago, the last 82-game season, Ottawa had the worst record locked up by seven points. Usually, the worst team in the league doesn’t need to “tank” to be the worst.

There are teams that sell at the deadline, but they would usually do that anyway. That is more about gaining assets for pieces that likely wouldn’t stick around over traditional tanking. This would be the easiest path to “fairness” and it would avoid teams like the Rangers making insane jumps to get the number-one overall pick.