The NHL will discuss potentially changing the way the draft lottery is done in order to prevent any more situations that occurred with the Edmonton Oilers from 2010-2012. In that three year span they won the lottery three consecutive times, earning the first overall pick in each of those occasions.
Under any new system, the ability to receive the first overall pick in consecutive years would be eliminated, thus – in theory – prevent teams from ‘tanking’ in order to get the top overall pick.
While the Oilers did select first overall three years in a row, they seem no closer to digging themselves out of the basement as the team who currently holds the first overall pick – the Florida Panthers.
Florida could have easily went into the tank last season, traded any and every tradable asset in order to secure their place at the bottom of the standings, and stockpile draft picks to select players that may or may not aide in their future success – but they didn’t and Dale Tallon refused to ‘tear the house down’.
Instead they went out and added a franchise goaltender in Roberto Luongo. They made moves that both helped them now (Luongo) and helped them down the road (Brandon Pirri), but still they ended up in such a position that they ended up winning the draft lottery.
So why should they be punished for actually trying to field a winning team? If they put everything they have into building themselves into a winner and they still fall short, should they be forced to miss out on getting players like Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid?
The league is (supposedly) in the midst of a revenue boom, creating the potential of increased sharing between the teams – raise the salary cap floor, especially during the season, making it impossible for teams to completely burn the house down.
Stiffen up the penalties should they do so, make it bad enough to where no team is going to want to make such moves just to ensure a high draft pick.
And if that team still remains that bad then it will force owners to act quicker in moving on from a general manager as it will start to cost more money to run an underperforming team.
I was once a proponent of saying if a team gets the first overall pick, make it to where they wouldn’t be able to draft inside the top three for at least the following season, maybe even two. But in the end it seems like that would hurt teams like the Panthers, who did everything they could not to sell the house, and actually improve their roster– and still end up with the first overall pick.