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
2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

A Tournament

There have been multiple media proponents that have proposed tournaments to get the last spots in the playoffs. It would provide a different look and feel to the teams at the bottom of the standings instead of being fed to the sharks (and not the San Jose kind). Bill Simmons has been pushing for this in basketball for well over a decade.

We came close to this in both the NBA and NHL with play ins for the last seed in basketball and a 24-team tournament in hockey. It was exciting, and it brought a level of competition to the middle of the standings that might not have existed in a normal year.

So, let’s bring that competition to the bottom of the standings in the NHL.

Starting next season, 16 teams will miss the playoffs. That could make a perfect NHL tournament. However, there’s the issue that the teams that just miss the playoffs would have an insane advantage. They likely didn’t sell at the trade deadline, and the other has been playing for the playoffs for a month while the other teams have been looking ahead to the offseason.

There are two ways to fix that. Either, make it an eight or ten-team tournament, or make the top eight seeds play in their own tournament, then the bottom eight seeds will have another tourney, and the winners face off for the right to the number-one overall pick. This wouldn’t impact the rest of the draft, but only the first pick. The tournament should be one and done, and it would happen over the course of eight days before the playoffs start. That would give playoff teams time to rest and prepare, while hockey is still on your television.