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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New Jersey Devils
Jack Hughes selected first overall by the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Let Players Pick Where They Sign

Imagine the drama of a reality TV show reunion special, only on the NHL stage. The top ten picks in the NHL draft would be allowed to sign a three-year entry-level with any team in the top ten. It would make teams want to avoid tanking because they need to prove to the top prospects that they aren’t a complete mess. It would also force teams to actually have a plan outside “draft good player”. They’d need to sell themselves to the top prospects, or they would be left with the scraps (which admittedly would still be very good).

To take out overpaying, the league would still have to keep entry-level deals, but the players would choose them immediately. The drama would be impeccable. Elliotte Friedman would be tweeting that “Brandt Clarke has his list down to three teams”. William Eklund could choose to go with the Seattle Kraken to help jumpstart their franchise. Luke Hughes could choose between playing with his brother Quinn or his brother Jack since both teams are in the top ten right now.

Again, this is only looking to make draft night insanely dramatic and much more fun. The players could walk up to the podium and announce their next destination. Fanbases would be devastated if they thought they had a player in the bag and then they chose their biggest rival. It gives players more power and it gives fans one of the most watchable products in the world.

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The draft in itself was meant to bring parity, but there are ways to make it better. There’s no perfect system, but there are ones that are a better TV product.