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

Kevin Hoffman / USA TODAY Sports

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.

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