The NHL’s board of governors has officially voted to approve the changes to the draft lottery that were proposed earlier this month, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic. Three major changes will be implemented:
- The number of picks determined by lottery draws will drop from three to two starting in 2021.
- A team winning the lottery can only move up a maximum of ten spots starting in 2022.
- A team can only win a draft lottery twice in a five-year period starting in 2022.
Past wins will not be included once the five-year period is implemented. Because of the first rule, a situation like last year can no longer occur, when the Detroit Red Wings, clearly the last-place team in the NHL, were knocked to fourth overall. Teams can now only drop a maximum of two spots, meaning the worst team in the league is guaranteed a top-three pick. The second change also means fewer teams are in contention for the first-overall selection.
It will be interesting to see the effect of the first change this year, given there is no clear consensus at the top of the draft rankings. The Buffalo Sabres look like a lock to finish at the bottom of the standings after losing their 14th in a row last night, meaning they will get a top-three pick. The question becomes whether who they have at the top of their board is the same as the other bottom-feeding teams who will have a good chance at one of those top-two spots.
When the lottery changes were first reported, we polled the PHR community to see if they believed there should be a lottery at all. Nearly 45% of voters believe it should be solely based on standings.