With the NHL throwing around myriad options regarding a return to action this season, teams are starting to get really creative.
At least one NHL club has submitted a proposal featuring a tournament in which lottery teams would play for the first overall pick of the draft, according to The Athletic's Craig Custance.
The idea may seem radical, and arguably unfair to teams like the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, and other bottom-dwelling clubs. But Custance suggests the tournament could work if its format left room to increase those teams' odds of winning.
"Without knowing the exact details of the proposal, there would have to be some assurances for the teams at the bottom of the standings that their odds of winning a lottery tournament resemble their odds of winning the lottery drawing now," Custance wrote.
"That would mean home games for Ottawa and Detroit, with a fairly easy path to the championship. And likewise, a bubble team would have to go on an all-time run of games to win the lottery."
The proposal could allow all teams to continue playing if the season were to resume, rather than limiting the action to teams that entered the hiatus in playoff spots, Custance notes. It could also prompt fans to tune back in were it to take place over the summer months.
"Radical times call for radical measures," one NHL source told Custance.
With the NHL on an indefinite hiatus and the status of the 2019-20 season uncertain, commissioner Gary Bettman has confirmed all options are being considered.
"In terms of where we go from here, we're modeling all sorts of options and everything is on the table," Bettman said, according to The Hockey News. "But we're going to have to be flexible and react to things that are beyond our control."