Is it Time to Change the Draft?

Is it time to change the way to change the way draft positions awarded? I’ll admit I am a Leafs fan and this might seem like sour grapes, but it’s not…mostly. The advantages of the current system are obvious, look no further than Pittsburgh, Washington and Chicago, but it rewards failure.

As it gets closer to the deadline day, March 3rd, teams all across the league begin to will conclude whether they are buyers or sellers. With the current setup there will be a group of underperforming teams that will begin to off load talent with the hope of finishing in the bottom 5.

The draft and prospects get more coverage now than ever ,causing many fans of underperforming teams to begin to cheer their respective teams to lose. Look no further than the Edmonton Oilers whose fans now hope for Taylor Hall or Leafs fans when we actually had picks. Any system that encourages losing should not be in place.

The idea I propose I’m sure has been suggested before but would eliminate any benefits to losing. All non-playoff teams be given an equal shot at the first overall pick. Positions 1-14 will be awarded at random and 15-30 will be ranked through the current setup. This way there is no benefit to losing and essentially kills off any ‘Tank Nation’ crap any team might have. The point is always to win, not to lose now to win in 5 years.

With a salary cap in place and more parity in the league now than ever I don’t feel the system needs to reward the worst team any longer. The difference in between most of the non playoff teams isn’t overly substantial. Teams can rebound quickly to become playoff contenders. Philladelphia rebounded from a last place finish over the last 2 years without any help from the top 2 pick they recieved.

What does everyone think, will it be a good time to change things up when the NHL’s CBA expires in 2011? Better ideas or defense of the current system?


25 Responses to Is it Time to Change the Draft?

  1. bbruins37 says:

    i dont think there's any way the nhl changes it up as theyre going for more parody, not less.

    personally, i dont like the 1-14 all getting an equal chance. that's too extreme for me. the detroit red wings having the same shot as the edmonton oilers to land taylor hall doesnt seem right to me.

    maybe something like the nba draft lottery. all 14 non-playoff teams are in it, and the chance of landing the top pick (in order from worst to best) are: 25%, 19.9%, 15.6%, 11.9%, 8.8%, 6.3%, 4.3%, 2.8%, 1.7%, 1.1%, 0.8%, 0.7%, 0.6%, 0.5%. they do this lottery system for the top 3 picks in the draft, and then 4-14 are determined by the worst to best remaining teams' records. this doesnt completely eliminate tanking, but it does help.

    the nhl system right now can only see you move up 4 spots, and drop no further than one spot, so the team that tanks the most has a 50/50 shot at the first overall pick, or else they end up with the second pick.

    so i think changes should be made, but nothing too drastic 

  2. sensnation says:

    Even with the parity, bad teams need elite young players to turn the corner like Chicago, Pittsburgh and Washington have.  Without these top prospects, teams will perpetually wander in the NHL purgatory that is consisten mediocritry, see Exhibit A, Maples Leafs, Toronto. 

    Let's say for argument's sake that your system was in play in the early to mid 2000s.  In between 2002 and 2006, the Penguins finished 26th, 29th, 30th and 29th respectively. 

    They end up getting shafted in this new draft system, getting two top 10 pick rather then 5 top 5 picks, then, hypothetically, having drafted Steve Eminger (12th-2002), Nikolai Zherdev (4th-2003), Lauri Tukonen (11th-2004), Brian Lee (9th-2005) and Jiri Tlusty (13th-2006) (All solid picks at the time) rather then Whitney, Fleury, Malkin, Crosby and Staal… not only do they not win the cup last spring, but they probably end up leaving Pittsburgh when the financial troubles hit, because there is little hope.

    There is no problem with fans hoping for their teams to tank, there is only a problem if the teams actually do decide to tank.  With the current parity, this is not a problem at all, becomes with the exception of the bottom 2 or 3 teams that are hopeless, everyone has a chance.  And even if they did decided they wanted to tank, they could not do it because of the cap; they could not trade all their players for junk or picks because nobody could take on salary.  The only thing left would be for a team to switch their AHL and NHL rosters, which I think the NHL would have a problem with.

    With the likes of LA and Phoenix, and to a certain extent the Islanders, now also reaping the benefits, this system has proven that it works.  Perpetual floormats like Florida and Toronto simply need to draft better and/or keep their picks.

    *Philadelphia had already drafted incredibly well with late first round steals in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, and trading for youth like Brayden Coburn, so this is the exception rather then the rule*

  3. reinjosh says:

    Yeah I agree with that.
    The NBA way would work a lot better in my opinion.
    And I am quite surprised Bettman hasn't tried to institute this.
    Not only is it a better option but it comes from the league he tries to copy everything from. And you could really make a big show out of it, which would help give the league another marketing scheme.
    Do it for the first 3 would work well to. The worst team would be guaranteed a top 4 pick but everyone else

  4. bbruins37 says:

    im not surprised he hasnt done it at all. with a handful of markets really struggling, its pretty understandable why he'd have the drafting system he has: parity.

    the nba lottery definitely would create a lot more excitement though. that would be one plus. its without a doubt a better system overall, but with the way the nhl is right now, id understandhim keeping it the same

  5. reinjosh says:

    yeah, i guess that makes sense
    still, it would be something to look into during the next round of CBA negotiations

  6. TimTheBone says:

    I agree…. Also teams with great Scouting personnel and informed drafting get great players late in the draft who develop GREAT! <<<<<<< !!!!! also a HUGE thing is development of your draft picks…. Let's face it theres only so many Crosbys and Ovechkins in the world who can come out of junior ranks (not so much in Ovechkins case on a literal sense) and create an instant impact…. Young kids need development to flourish… A LA Latendresse… he was ruined in MTL being brought up to the pro team way too early…. Then players with talent are in need of new scenery… Lats and Pouliot both are doing well given the new scenery… lets see if they can keep it up….

    Also as a Habs Fan i get so frustratred looking back at that 2003 draft,… 10th overall pick in MTL was spent of A.Kostitsyn…. notables selected after Andrei:

    11. Jeff Carter
    13. Dustin Brown
    14. Brent Seabrook
    15. Robert Nilsson
    16. Steve Bernier
    17. Zach Parise
    19. Ryan Getzlaf
    20. Brent Burns
    21. Mark Stuart
    23. Ryan Kesler
    24. Mike Richards
    27. Jeff Tambellini
    28. Corey Perry
    29. Patrick Eaves

    Now its a given that AK47 is a more valued player than some on that list… but it pains me seeing Getzlaf Richards Perry Kesler Parise Brown after AK…… granted most of these guys were taken before their respective WJHC dominance… But still….

  7. reinjosh says:

    I very much disagree with you argument that the system has proven it works. Getting top 5 picks is not the only way to get a winning team.
    New Jersey, Colorado, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Jose, Buffalo, Nashville, Vancouver, Ottawa, Minnesota have all become playoff teams with one or less top 10 first round picks.
    I'm not saying first rounders are not essential but they are no where near as necessary as everyone seems to make them out to be.
    Yes a team like Pittsburgh or Washington has had some nice success with players like Malkin, Crosby, Staal, Fleury, Whitney, Backstrom, Semin, Ovechkin. But they also got 3 players who don't come around all that often. Saying they did the right thing isn't all that hard.
    Looking at a team like Florida or Atlanta or the Islanders and you can see that as much as it may work it can also backfire. Florida grabbed Weiss, Horton, Bouwmeester and they havent made the playoffs since they got beat by the Avs in the Finals. Atlanta has made a playoff appearance once since they joined the league and they had players such as Heatley, Savard and Kovi at one time.
    The Islanders are another team. From 1994 – 2000 they picked no lower than 9th and yet have nothing to show for it. Even with Bailey, Okposo, and Tavares they are still only a team fighting for the playoffs.
    The Lightning have 3 picks from the top 2 (Hedman, Stamkos, Vinny) in the first round and still are pulling down 25th overall.
    It just goes to show that getting multiple top 5 picks is not sure bet. It can be done that way but it can also be down other ways.
    Take Los Angelos. They only have Frolov, Doughty, Kopitar and Dustin Brown as first rounders on their team. Of that only Doughty is a top 5 pick. The rest are later.
    It can be done other ways.
    And your using arbitrary picksin your pittsburgh example. Chances of them getting only two top 10 picks are highly unlikely.
    And stop using the Leafs as an example. They have first rounders. A top 5 pick in Schenn and a top 7 pick in Kadri (which was a deep draft and could be considered top 5 in other drafts). That doesn't include Kessel who is a top 5 pick. So considering that teams with picks usually don't fill their entire team with top 5 picks, and most have 1 – 5 picks in the top round playing, the leafs have a pretty good basis.

  8. reinjosh says:

    Hindsight is 20/20
    every team has those types of players who they picked over better players.
    Its the nature of the draft.
    Columbus grabbed Zherdev at #4. The Islanders grabbed Nillson at 15, two before Parise. The Rangers Jessiman at 12.
    Its just the way things turn out.
    You can't put two much emphasis on the first rounder. Chances are a team will grab a player who has more impact in the next 6 rounds compared to the first round.
    First rounders are good and they help but they are not necessary to a teams development or to making a winning team.

  9. bbruins37 says:

    '03 was a freak draft. it was definitely the best draft of all time. after the first round you still have:

    33. loui eriksson
    45. patrice bergeron
    47. matt carle
    49. shea weber
    56. patrick o'sullivan
    62. david backes
    64. jimmy howard
    73. dan carcillo
    132. kyle quincey
    148. lee stempniak
    205. joe pavelski
    239. tobias enstrom
    245. dustin byfuglien
    250. shane o'brien
    271. jaroslav halak
    291. brian elliot

    and theres some other solid NHLers in there too

  10. bbruins37 says:

    the season is roughly 2/3 finished. here are my awards:

    hart trophy: ryan miller
    – i fully expect ovie to get it yet again, but without miller, sabres would not be a very good team at all

    finalists – sidney crosby and alexander ovechkin
    – malkin has regressed a bit and crosby has had to put the team on the back,all the while "changing his game up" to become one of the best goal scorers in the league.
    ovechkin has the better supporting cast which will hurt him, but the two-time defending champ is having his best season ever

    honourable mentions: henrik sedin

    lester b. pearson: alexander ovechkin
    – no real explanation needed

    finalists: ryan miller and sidney crosby
    – see above basically

    honourable mentions: henrik sedin (he's getting screwed over in this so far), joe thornton

    norris: duncan keith
    – just an unbelievable defenseman. he's keeping up with mike green offensively, and is one of the best defensively

    finalists: mike green and drew doughty
    – say what you want about green defensively, but he's still on the ice for 22 more goals scored by hisownteam than against. best offensive defenseman since leetch.
    i think doughty deserves some credit for what he's done this year. he's only 19. that's just scary.

    honourable mentions: no one really comes to mind

    vezina: ryan miller

    finalists: evgeni nabokov and tomas vokoun
    – nabokov is having the best year of his career, and vokoun continues to play lights out for a shitty team.

    honourable mentions: martin brodeur

    calder: tyler myers
    – playing big minutes, excellent everywhere on the ice.

    finalists: jimmy howard and james van riemsdyk howard has been one of the better goalies in the league. he doesnt seem to be getting attention though. JVR has been decent. there isnt alot of big rookies this year.

    honourable mentions: tuukka rask (with more games, he'd be right up there), john tavares

    selke: patrice bergeron
    – might hurt that he was injured, but he's a big reason why the bruins PK is so good, and why the bruins shut down alot of top players.

    finalists: pavel datsyuk and ryan kesler
    – it's tough to argue against these two players. both excel at faceoffs,takeaways, etc.

    honourable mentions: mike fisher, jonathan toews, mikko koivu

    jack adams: joe sacco
    – props to him. i have no idea how he managed to get that team in the position they are in now.

    finalists: terry murray and jacques lemaire

    – murray has done a great job with that young roster, and lemaire is implementing his defensive strategies to some impressive results

    honourable mentions: no one comes to mind

  11. reinjosh says:

    All good picks.
    For the Norris I would add Enstrom as an honorable mention. He has been lights out for Atlanta.
    For the Vezina I would add Kiprusoff. Even a Hart Honarable Mention if the Flames make the playoffs. He has been his best since the cup run of 04 and without him the Flames would be fighting to get out of last.
    For the Jack Adams, I would say Barry Trotz. How he continues to fly under the radar and yet keep a team like Nashville in the Playoffs almost year in and year out amazes me.
    And the new GM award- David Poile (above explanation) and a couple others/ I don't know who would win though.

  12. Kramer says:

    Original six teams should draft first every year. They were there first, they deserve the first serving at the buffet table.

  13. number15 says:

    something tells me u wouldnt feel the same if the Leafs had their first rounder this season…… but u know what we have to live with that. In both scenerios Toronto does NOT end up a winner.

    The only  difference this rule u proposed would make is possibly taking the 1st overall pick away from Boston but u know what either way some one is gonna have it and its not Toronto (even if they deserve it the most).

    Leafs made a deal and we gotta live with it……. ur proposal is weak. Would u really wanna award the 1st overall pick to the Stanley Cup champions? thats dumb…… the rich get richer and poor keep losing that way

    **** I like the NBA system though. NHL should learn

  14. blaze says:

    Cup champs would still get 30th overall only non-playoff teams have a shot. It really does have nothing to do with the Leafs I figuired it should change under the new CBA which would be after Boston used both Leafs first.

    Under this system failure is rewarded and below average teams are better off aiming for a last place finish and GMs and fans know this. My solution is far from perfect but the current setup goes against the idea of sports.

    Do you not remember 'Tank Nation' in Leafland last year? Yeah Tavares would've been sweet but how does it make any sense to have a system base that has almost an entire massive fanbase willing their team to lose? 

  15. blaze says:

    What about Florida, Nashville, Atlanta all teams that might leave because of financial issues but because they never bottomed out they're doomed to mediocrity?

  16. habswinthecup-again says:

     Keep the draft the way it is, except that no team should have a top 5 pick for 5 years in a row, right Pittsburg?
     How about if a team has the top pick this year then they can be no higher than 2nd next year even if they win the lottery, and the following year no higher than 3rd and so on.

  17. FlamingHomer says:

    As much as I'm going to cringe watching the Oilers pick first overall just because they stopped trying back in November, the current system is still the best.

  18. reinjosh says:
    the NBA system is better
  19. FlamingHomer says:

    I thought the NHL and NBA were the same until I just looked it up. I have to agree with you now. Including all non-playoff teams in the lottery would decrease the urge of a team to purposely tank.
    Tonight may the first time ever that Oiler fans and Flames fans will both be cheering for Calgary.

  20. Magleaf says:

    Ya i was going to say..  if the draft system changes i would say it would have to be changed after any draft trades.

  21. reinjosh says:

    yeah. still under the NBA one, its still weaighted. its just a better system.
    and if you do all top 5 picks as lottery picks it would make things so much more interesting
    give all 14 teams a chance at the top 5 (or top 3, i could settle for that)
    it would make things intriguing to say the least
    and yeah tonights game is going to be funny to watch
    they have lost a combined 21 straight games

  22. bbruins37 says:

    although the nba system isnt good all of the time. the nets are 4-41 this year, and "tanking" was never an issue as they started out 0-18. this year there's one player clearly better than the rest in john wall, and they have a 75% shot at not landing that pick. imagine if they slip down to pick 4th? thats going to be another year of suffering.

  23. bbruins37 says:

    i think the jack adams will always go out to a turnaround team. with trotz, he does the same thing every year getting the preds in the playoffs. that's not discrediting him, but if he hasnt won (or even been nominated? not sure if he has) in those years, i dont think anything will change this year.

    poile has done a very impressive job with that team though, i agree.

  24. leafmeister says:

    If that draft was redone today wadda think it would look like? I came up with this:
    1.Eric Staal
    2. Zach Parise
    3. Ryan Getzlaf
    4. Marc Andre Fleury
    5. Mike Richards
    6. Shea Weber
    7. Jeff Carter
    8. Ryan Kesler
    9. Brent Seabrook
    10. Tomas Vanek
    11. Dion Phaneuf
    12. Ryan Suter
    13. Corey Perry
    14. Brent Burns
    15. Corey Perry
    16. Ryan Suter
    17. Dustin Brown
    18. Patrice Bergeron
    19. Braydon Coburn
    20. Milan Michalek
    21. Tobias Enstrom
    22. Nathan Horton
    23. Andrei Kostitsyn
    24. Nikolai Zherdev
    25. Loui Eriksson
    26. Joe Pavelski
    27. Dustin Byfuglian
    28. David Backes
    29. Jaroslav Halak
    30. Matt Carle

    A draft of entirely top 6 forwards and top 4 d-man. That draft was insane.

  25. 3rdLinePenguinsStars says:

    All drafts are set up to benefit the worst teams, so no I personally don't think there needs to be a change in the draft.  If you go with what you said

    "The idea I propose I'm sure has been suggested before but would eliminate any benefits to losing. All non-playoff teams be given an equal shot at the first overall pick.  Positions 1-14 will be random and 15-30 will be ranked through the current setup. This way there is no benefit to losing and essentially kills off any 'Tank Nation' crap any team might have. The point is always to win, not to lose now to win in 5 years."

    Honestly I really don't think teams totally put their seasons in the "crapper" to get a #1 pick.  I am saying this because the players on a team are in no way guaranteed they will be there next year, or in five years.  So there is no 100% positive bonus for them to lose, besides you aren't guaranteed how good any player will be in the NHL, there has been plenty of #1's that suck, and plenty of 7th rounders that have been quality players.

    It may decrease the theory of "tanking" seasons, and the support to do so by fans, but what you cut down there, you will gain in "the system is rigged" talk, especially if it is suppose to be random, and say the Pens get #1 this year, and by sheer coincidence end up with #1 for the follow season you would never hear the end of the conspiracy theories.

    14 NHL teams not qualifying for the playoffs are entered in a weighted lottery to determine the initial draft picks in each round, seeded according to regular season standing. The 30th-place team has a 25% chance of winning the lottery, with odds diminishing to a 0.5% chance for the 17th-place team. A single selection from the lottery pool is made, with the winning team eligible to improve its draft order by up to four places, and no team eligible to drop more than one place. Therefore, only the 26th through 30th place teams are eligible to receive the first draft pick. Consequently, the 30th place team's chance of retaining the first overall pick improves to 48.2%,

    Even with the lottery you still have "tanking" rumors. (i.e. Seattle SuperSonics for the 2007 draft when Durant was taken, or 1992 draft Orlando Magic pick #1 overall Shaquille O'Neil)

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