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
Kelly McCrimmon and George McPhee of the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Auction Style

This one might get a little complicated but stick with it. So, the basic premise of the idea is to hold an auction at the NHL Draft for the top-five picks. Start with pick number one, and allow the top five teams to bid on the player. This would have to eliminate the restrictions that come with an entry-level contract, but if the contract is restricted to just three years, it shouldn’t be a problem. Players should be getting paid more anyway.

Have you ever been to a live auction? This isn’t like eBay. We’re talking about an old-school, inside a barn or warehouse, sell everything for what it goes for auction. It’s exhilarating. Trying to find the pieces that you want, and then actually putting the right price on it is one of the most exciting experiences.

So, let’s take the bottom of the standings right now. The Sabres are at the bottom of the league in terms of pure points (since it is only a hypothetical, we won’t use points percentage). Then, it’s the Red Wings, Devils, Senators, and Sharks. So, the Sabres would be allowed to nominate a player, and then those five teams would bid on the top pick. Then, the second pick would be between the four losing teams and the sixth team all the way through the top five.

This mixes strategy with going all in on a prospect. A top team could pick the one prospect they want to make sure is cost-controlled, or they could pick a player they don’t want to get another team to pay for them. The strategy could backfire, which makes the entire thing very fun.

The rest of the draft would be paid based on a scale similar to the NFL Draft. What would the Toronto Maple Leafs be willing to pay for a brand new Connor McDavid? Would the Oilers overpay for Jack Eichel if they missed out on McDavid? Would they go $5 million per season on a rookie who’s never played an NHL game? Would they go $8 million to beat out the competition? It’s a fun theory that would make the NHL Draft one of the most exciting days in sports.