The National Hockey League has just introduced a new draft proposal and if things go forward as is it will have a major impact on several teams in the league. In fact some of these proposed rule changes to the draft are so drastic that they could irreparable change the future of multiple teams in the NHL for the next several years, and if you think I am being hyperbolic let me assure you that I am not.
For those of you who missed our earlier report the NHL is now pushing for a return in early June when it would hold the NHL Draft. It is unclear at this time exactly when in early June the draft would be held but word on the rumor mill would suggest that June 5th is the date that the league is currently looking at for this event, but this would not be you typical NHL Entry Draft.
The biggest change in the draft would come in the form of the draft lottery, and I must admit if I am a general manager like Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin, I am outraged at this current proposal. According to the proposal set forth by the league the draft lottery for this draft would include only 1 winner, and that winner would only be allowed to move a maximum of 4 spots in the draft. So what does that mean exactly? Well according to Sportsnet's National Hockey League insider Chris Johnston it means that several teams in the lottery won't even have the possibility of receiving this seasons 1st overall pick.
For example according to Johnston under this scenario the Detroit Red Wings, who currently hold the top pick in the draft, could do no worse than falling to 2nd in a lottery scenario. This effectively guarantees that the Red Wings will get either the 1st or the 2nd pick in the draft. Now if you're a Red Wings fan that is terrific news, however it will come at the expense of other teams. I mentioned Marc Bergevin specifically because this year's projected 1st overall pick is of course 18 year old Alexis Lafreniere, a player from Quebec with a ton of hype surrounding him.
No doubt the prospect of acquiring a player like Lafreniere has the Canadiens salivating at the possibility, even if it is a long shot at this point, but under this new format the Habs wouldn't even have the possibility of landing the top pick. In this new draft lottery the Habs, even if they won the draw, would only be able to move up to the 4th overall spot in the draft, a far cry from the top pick you would normally be awarded. This also applies to teams like the New Jersey Devils who could only go as high as 2nd, the Buffalo Sabres who could only go as high as 3rd and the Chicago Blackhawks who could only hope to pick 5th in their best case scenarios.
Of course no plan is going to be perfect at this point, but if this one goes through the Red Wings are clearly the big winners.