Report: NHL Board of Governors approves changes to draft lottery system

Jun 26, 5:50 PM

At the NHL Board of Governors meeting in New York, N.Y. on Thursday, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly unveiled a proposal to modify the the NHL's draft lottery process. 

According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun and Katie Strang, those proposed changes have been approved by the board. If the NHLPA assents to the proposed changes to the draft lottery, the modifications could go into effect for the much anticipated 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The NHLPA's executive board will meet in Pebble Beach, Calif. in mid-July and would likely vote on this issue then.

While few specifics about Daly's proposals are known, Sportsnet's John Shannon suggests that one difference might be to expand the number of selections determined by draft lottery. Currently only the first overall pick is determined by the bouncing balls, fate, and Lady Fortuna.

This news must come as a bit of a shock for the Buffalo Sabres and new general manager Tim Murray. The rebuilding Sabres own three first round picks for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and Murray has been an outspoken opponent of any rushed modifications to the draft lottery system.

"That's something that the board reviewed as well, but again, before we make that change, we'd want to consult with the Players' Association, so I don't want to get ahead of ourselves," Bettman said of the Governor's approval of propposed changes to the draft lottery per NHL.com. "There's been a lot of discussion and rumor and speculation about it. Before we formally announce anything, we'd rather consult first with the Players' Association."

According to a report from LeBrun, the revamped lottery process could be introduced incrementally, with the odds being re-weighted for the 2015 entry draft, and additional selections being determined by draft lottery beginning in 2016.

Feature photo courtesy of REUTERS/Andy Marli

Jun 25, 11:54 PM

Report: Bill Daly to propose a change to NHL draft lottery at BOG meeting Thursday

Jun 25, 11:54 PM

At the NHL Board of Governors meeting in New York, NY. on Thursday afternoon, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly plans to table a proposal to change how the NHL's draft lottery system functions, according to a report from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

It was first reported that the league was considering a tweak to the draft lottery process that would "give more teams better chances at top picks via a weighted lottery" in March by ESPN's Scott Burnside. Presumably the new process that Daly plans on proposing to the Board of Governors on Thursday will serve to accomplish just that.

One club that we know will be opposed to any modifications to the draft lottery process is the rebuilding Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres own three first round picks for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and could desperately use a marketable blue-chip young talent like highly regarded 2015 draft eligibles Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. 

Sabres general manager Tim Murray has been outspoken in expressing his belief that the will to significantly tweak the existing system doesn't currently exist among the NHL's member clubs.

The NHL's Governors will also discuss and vote on the four rule changes that the NHL's competition committee suggested and that the league's general managers have recommended. Those rule tweaks include an expanded trapezoid, teams changing sides for regular season overtime, the adoption of IIHF-style hashmarks and more leniency when it comes to the "distinct kicking motion" standard for goals scored off of skates. 

If those recommendations pass the Board of Governors, they'll still need to be agreed to by the NHLPA's Executive Board who are scheduled to meet in Pebble Beach, Calif. in mid-July. If the tweaks pass muster at the Board of Governors meetings and the Executive Board meetings, they'll come into effect next season.

"We'll look at a couple of tweaks," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told the Chicago Tribune of the topics up for discussion at the Board of Governor's meetings. "Fundamentally, we like the way the game is. We had a great season. The competitive balance is extraordinary. The game is in a good place."

Feature photo courtesy of REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Jun 11, 8:26 PM

Report: Bill Daly may propose changes to draft lottery

Jun 11, 8:26 PM

The rebuilding Buffalo Sabres, owners of three first-round picks in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, are keeping a keen eye on any proposals that might alter the NHL's draft lottery process. 

The topic was discussed again at the NHL general managers meetings on Wednesday, and Sabres general manager Tim Murray reportedly came away feeling "relieved."

"We spoke to Tim Murray who said that he was relieved ... and his understanding is that there won't be changes to the lottery before then," TSN's Pierre LeBrun said on an "Insider Trading" segment on "Sportscentre" on Wednesday evening.

LeBrun then added: "But we heard from a league source that it's still possible that [NHL deputy commissioner] Bill Daly will make that proposal at the Board of Governor's meeting in less than two weeks." So perhaps Murray's relief is a bit premature.

It was reported by ESPN's Scott Burnside in March that the league was considering re-weighting the odds of the draft lottery to discourage tanking.

Apr 6, 6:35 PM

Sabres GM Tim Murray: 'really no appetite' to change NHL Draft format

Apr 6, 6:35 PM

The art of "tanking" - a North American phenomenon in which teams intentionally lose games to increase their odds at receiving a better pick at the entry draft - has infected the NBA this season, and there are some concerns that NHL teams could follow suit next season. 

The 2015 NHL draft, after all, will feature two possible franchise altering talents in Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. In anticipation the league has reportedly discussed changes in the draft lottery format to try and disincentivize teams from intentionally losing games.

Any changes to the draft format, however, would appear to be a ways off according to Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray, who would know. "We’ve all heard that talk of the five-team, five-year rotation, things like that, but there’s been really no appetite to do that," Murray told the Buffalo News this weekend. 

Continued the Sabres' top executive:

They don’t think there’s any appetite right now to change it. I believe if there is an appetite to change it, if they’re going to make a drastic change, it has to be something like three to five years out so it doesn’t affect somebody that’s in that position now.

From what I understand, they’re not worried about tanking for McDavid and Eichel.

Here's how the NHL currently handles the draft lottery:

The NHL Draft Lottery is a weighted system to determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks... Teams finishing with the fewest points during the regular season possess the greatest chance of winning the right to the first pick in the NHL Draft. Fourteen balls, numbered 1 to 14, are placed in a lottery machine. The machine expels four balls, forming a series of numbers. The four-digit series resulting from the expulsion of the balls is matched against a probability chart that divides the possible combinations among the 14 participating clubs.

The way the NHL currently determines the top of the draft order means that the Buffalo Sabres, far and away the NHL's worst team this season, can't select any lower than 2nd overall at the 2014 Draft. 

"Whatever happens in the lottery happens," Murray said. "We’re going to be picking first or second, so we’ve got to be prepared for that, and we will be." The Sabres general manager also suggested that his management team is currently considering four players as potential selections with the first or second pick at the draft.

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Kevin Hoffman

Mar 18, 7:03 PM

Report: NHL considers adjusting the draft lottery

Mar 18, 7:03 PM

The NHL will evaluate its draft lottery process and consider changes to the system in order to give more teams a better shot at picking higher in the draft.

Scott Burnside of ESPN.com reports that the proposed modification could be in place for the highly anticipated 2015 draft - featuring Connor McDavid - if the NHL board of governors vote to approve a new process.

He says the new system would expand the process "to give more teams better chances at top picks via a weighted lottery".

There were 14 teams that were eligible for the top pick in the 2013 draft, with the Colorado Avalanche eventually winning the lottery and selecting Nathan MacKinnon. The Avs were the second worst team, behind the Florida Panthers, who wound up with the second overall pick.

The lottery was expanded to 14 teams because of the lockout last season and had been limited to five teams in previous seasons. An older system automatically granted the first overall pick to the league's worst team.

If the NHL board of governors approve the proposal, the changes could have a negative impact on the worst teams in the league, but will provide more excitement to a bigger group of teams.

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Ed Mulholland

Mar 12, 1:15 PM

GM meetings may see changes to draft lottery, combine first

Mar 12, 1:15 PM

While most of the NHL's general managers participate in the last day of the general manager meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, there are a few tweaks that may come into play soon.

Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray doesn't think much needs to be changed though, as he told reporters Tuesday: "...we like our game. We think that, for the most part, it's in good order."

The focus appears to be on the draft combine. Many reports suggest there will be different protocol for testing prospects and anything considered "illegal" will get you a fine.

Darren Dreger reported no teams will be able to do individual testing with prospects past the combine. Hockey operations will handle any further testings.

Sportsnet's John Shannon also had new details on the draft lottery concerning the New Jersey Devils and the pick that was awarded back to them:

Through the three-day meeting, there was much talk about the faceoff circle and creating a penalty for the player who violates faceoff rules.

The main points on the agenda were as follows from Dan Rosen of NHL.com:

The managers will recommend that the hash marks on the faceoff circle be separated by two additional feet, from three feet to five feet. They would also like to change the penalty for a faceoff violation. Instead of removing a player that commits a faceoff foul from the draw, the player will be forced to move 12-18 inches back. Finally, the GMs are expected to propose that teams should switch ends for overtime, creating the "long-change" factor.

With the talk of 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 overtime, including longer overtime periods, overshadowing the mood prior to the meetings, Mathieu Schneider of the NHLPA explains the players don't care for it.

"It becomes very difficult when there is a travel involve and you are going city to city and playing back-to-back games. It becomes more taxing on the top guys and who are out there more often and getting a couple of extra minutes per night."

Using your skates to score was also a talking point at the meetings which could become an even more controversial rule.

Under the proposed rule, the player could score using his skate as long as there was no "distinct kicking motion," though the player could change the puck's direction.

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters/Mark Blinch