Today, the NHL announced changes to the way the top picks in the NHL Entry Draft are selected. In a press release, the league announced a plan to phase in these changes to the NHL Draft Lottery over the next two years.
If you really want to, read the full press release here. It is very technical and slightly confusing.
The first major change will be coming in the 2015 lottery. The odds for earning the top pick will be drastically different compared to last year. The changes make it easier for “mediocre” teams to have a better shot at a top pick. The changes, according to the release, are as follows:
The league says the adjusted odds “reflect increasing competitive balance in 2015.” As the chart shows, the worst teams in the league now have worse odds to land the the top picks. The worst two teams will see the greatest changes, with their odds dropping about five percent each.
So, if the Predators end up in this pool again (which is likely, considering how strong the Central Division is), how would they be impacted? Assuming they don’t tank completely, they would probably end up in the 7-14 range. These changes mean that Nashville would be even more likely to move up on the draft board. With a little bit of luck, they could end up sliding to the fifth, or even the fourth pick. They won’t end up with a top pick, however (unless they want to #TankForMcDavid).
In 2016, the full changes take effect. In addition to the new odds, the lottery will be expanded to determine the
first three picks. There will be one lottery to determine the top pick. Then, the remaining 13 teams will be recycled into a second lottery for the #2 pick. The last 12 will go into a third lottery for the third overall pick. The odds for each team will be adjusted each time. The last 11 teams will then be given picks 4-14 in inverse order of points.
The biggest impact of this change is on the worst team in the league. Now, that team will not be guaranteed a top three pick. The lowest they could end up is fourth. Of course, with the way the odds are stacked, it is unlikely that the worst team will not win any of the three lotteries.
From a Predators perspective, this is another good change. Now, the “mediocre” teams (Nashville included) will have an even greater shot at a top three pick. Naturally, the Predators’ odds would increase as they move through the lotteries. But, this change also comes with plenty of risk. If the Predators don’t win any of the lotteries, they would be assigned a pick based on regular-season points. Once again, assuming the Predators aren’t atrocious in 2016, they would end up with mid-round pick.
If all goes according to plan, the Predators will be out of the lottery pool by 2016. But, should things not go so well, these changes would help Nashville.