After changes to the NHL divisions and playoffs last season, the league has now announced changes to the 2015 NHL draft lottery process.
The decision to change the lottery was reported by NHL.com, along with details about the new system:
The National Hockey League announced today changes to its Draft Lottery, a weighted system implemented and utilized to determine the order of selection in the first round of the NHL Draft for the 14 Clubs not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (or the Clubs that have acquired the first-round drafting positions of those non-playoff teams).
Changes to the system will be made over the next two years, with several coming in the 2015 draft. Odds for the 14 teams missing the playoffs have been reshuffled, with the percentages for the top four teams being reduced.
Under the former allocation, the last-place franchise was given a 25 percent chance at the first pick but now will have 20 percent odds. Аrpon Basu of LNH.com explains why the 29th-place team will suffer the most:
The team that actually sees biggest drop in top pick odds in new NHL Draft lottery is in fact the 29th place team, drops from 18.8% to 13.5%— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) August 20, 2014
So, in a nutshell, finishing 29th this season is really going to stink— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) August 20, 2014
Here's a look at the full list of odds compared to the old system:
|Non-Playoff Team||New Lottery Odds||Former Allocation Odds|
Following the changes to the 2015 draft, more will be on the horizon for the next season. According to the NHL.com report, three separate draws will be held to determine the draft order of the top three overall picks.
The odds for those teams will remain the same as the new odds implemented next season, with the team earning the fewest points potentially falling outside of the top three. James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail explains what the new change means:
Starting in 2016, the NHL draft will then have a lottery for each of the top three picks. 30th place team could end up with fourth overall.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) August 20, 2014
With the NHL continuing to work toward a more competitive balance, the changes show a continued effort to do so. Rather than guaranteeing the team with the lowest amount of points the second pick at worst, this gives several struggling franchises a shot.
Are these changes good for the NHL?
Timing of the decision is also huge for this rule change. Non-playoff franchises now have a much better chance of nabbing Connor McDavid, widely considered the top overall prospect for the 2015 class.
The changes also make the draft lottery much more intriguing. Rather than the top players being nearly locked into a franchise depending on the rankings, the last-place team could be eyeing the fourth option by 2016.
As with any decision, it likely won't go over perfectly with all fans. The drop-off in percentages for the 29th-place team might hurt some teams in the future, but likely won't be a huge factor.
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