The Death of the Ping Pong Balls: Re-thinking the NHL Draft Lottery

I used to be an observer of this group for the 2014-15 season. Glad to have discovered a group of those that obsessed concerning the Sabres and the draft as a lot as I used to be, however reluctant to make a FanPost as a result of I felt I wasn’t educated sufficient to contribute. Then the notorious Coyotes sport occurred, the followers cheered once we misplaced, and Mike Weber was NOT joyful. So I wrote him an open letter which I revealed here.

This previous week there have been reports that the GMs (at the least a few of them) weren’t pleased with the present NHL draft lottery and have been searching for adjustments to it. Elliotte Friedman reported particularly that Steve Yzerman was not joyful shifting all the way down to the fourth decide this previous 12 months.

Whereas the lottery system has been in place because the 1995 NHL draft and it’s present format adopted for the 2016 draft; it has been removed from good. The 2016 draft guidelines expanded the lottery so any staff may get the #1 decide and was constructed to maintain groups from tanking to get a prime two decide.

Whereas there hasn’t been a draft like 2015 that options two sure-fire superstars lately; there are two drafts in 2022 and 2023 which are shaping as much as resemble the McDavid/Eichel 12 months. With Shane Wright/Brad Lambert in 2022 shaping to be a VERY good 1-2 combo (with Shane Wright being a top-end #1 decide) adopted by what’s considered the 2015 famous person degree showdown once more in 2023 with Connor Bedard and Matvei Michkov; there are going to be some offended Homeowners/GMs who get the flawed finish of the ping pong balls within the upcoming years.

Alas, again to my open letter to Mike Weber. What has caught with me for the 5 years since writing that submit is the easy considered “Why would the NHL create a system the place I root towards my staff?” I believe the perfect NHL draft lottery does three issues:

1.) You’re by no means put able to root towards your staff. What enjoyable is it to root for a Sabres loss? You wish to watch Eichel go in on a breakaway with a tie sport and hope he misses so we’d get a greater draft decide?

2.) There may be pleasure for all 82 video games.

Three.) Administration ought to be motivated to win even after they understand they aren’t making the playoffs. They shouldn’t be rewarded for promoting each participant they will for a draft decide on the commerce deadline. They shouldn’t bench half the lineup as a result of the season is misplaced.

My 2021-22 NHL Lottery Draft Lottery Proposal

The way it works:

  • As soon as a staff is mathematically eradicated from the playoffs that staff will start to accrue factors in the direction of successful the #1 decide (or highest draft decide they will acquire)
  • The staff who accrues essentially the most factors as soon as they’re mathematically eradicated will get the #1 decide.
  • Tie breakers go: Decrease Standings factors, ROW, Head-to-head ROW, Aim differential

The pandemic shortened season didn’t enable me to run what it’d appear like for this previous season. Operating this mannequin for Detroit although (who on the time the pandemic ended the season was the one mathematically eradicated staff) they’d 5 factors over 7 video games. Ottawa was a couple of sport or two away from coming into the sweepstakes, and San Jose was about 2-Three video games away.

Operating it for the 2018-19 season that is what the draft order would’ve seemed like:

2019 Draft Lottery Mannequin

GroupDate EradicatedVideo games PerformedDocumentMannequin FactorsComplete Factors in seasonDraft Order No LotteryPrecise Draft OrderMannequin Draft Order
GroupDate EradicatedVideo games PerformedDocumentMannequin FactorsComplete Factors in seasonDraft Order No LotteryPrecise Draft OrderMannequin Draft Order
Detroit Purple WingsThree/1212Eight-Four-Zero1674Four61
LA KingsThree/18106-Three-11371252
Ottawa SenatorsThree/9136-7-Zero12641FourThree
New Jersey DevilsThree/1510Four-5-1972Three1Four
Florida PanthersThree/265Three-Zero-2Eight8613135
New York RangersThree/23EightThree-Four-1778626
Anaheim GeeseThree/26FourThree-1-Zero680Eight97
Buffalo SabresThree/23Eight2-5-157657Eight
Vancouver CanucksThree/29Four2-1-15819109
Chicago BlackhawksFour/2Three2-1-ZeroFour8412Three10
Edmonton OilersFour/1Three1-2-Zero2797Eight11
Montreal CanadiansFour/511-Zero-Zero296151512
Philadelphia FlyersThree/31ThreeZero-Three-ZeroZero82101113
Minnesota WildFour/22Zero-2-ZeroZero83111214
Arizona CoyotesFour/22Zero-2-ZeroZero86141415

Some ideas:

  • It’s irritating to see how poorly the Sabres completed the season.
  • It tiers the draft picks by factors, however nonetheless introduces a little bit of randomness to the method. You see the clear profit of getting extra video games to accrue factors, however simply because a staff performed essentially the most video games it didn’t imply they obtained the #1 decide.
  • I really like that Florida jumped up within the standings a lot by going undefeated of their 5 video games. That included two wins towards the Capitals and Bruins and a shootout loss to the Islanders.
  • Pure chaos. The final sport of the season decided somebody choosing 4th or 10th.

I’m positive somebody will level out that conferences could possibly be very totally different and that two an identical level totals and video games performed within the Jap and Western convention may have two totally different paths to after they’d be mathematically eradicated from the playoffs. Case-in-point: the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers in 2018-19. Whereas they have been separated by simply 1 standing level: the Rangers had Eight video games to play after they have been eradicated in comparison with Edmonton’s Three video games. But when that is the solely con (and I actually can’t consider one other one)…wouldn’t you relatively be within the playoff hunt till Four video games out relatively than be chasing a mid-top 10 decide?

If Kevyn Adams goes to learn this: suggest this for the 2021-22 season. If folks deliver up the conferences you’ll be able to at all times tweak the schedule on the finish of the 12 months to appease that crowd. Maybe everybody performs two groups from every convention for the final 6 video games of the 12 months, or that you just play your standings equal from the earlier 12 months in a home-and-home in all three of the opposite divisions to finish the 12 months.

A play-in match for the final seed within the playoffs would take too lengthy. I can’t consider an incentive any participant would care about for a match for the highest decide. I hate rewarding intentional shedding so no to standings alone for me. Entry-level contract budgets and eliminating the draft altogether can be a bizarre strategy to go in a league with a wage cap with no luxurious tax.

No matter they resolve…I simply hope it’s the demise of the ping pong balls.

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