As first reported by Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, the NHL is proposing three changes to its Entry Draft lottery format:
The proposed changes come in response to complaints about the current draft lottery format from general mangers, executives, and fans after recent lottery results have been viewed as unfair. The first rule change would prevent a situation like the one that saw the Edmonton Oilers picking 1st overall four times in a six year span from 2010-2015, including three consecutive years. The second change would prevent a result like last summer’s lottery, where the New York Rangers jumped 13 spots to the 1st overall pick, selecting Alexis Lafrenière. The third change would prevent the team with the worst record from having their pick pushed all the way back to 4th overall, which has happened three times in the last four years.
Adding to Johnston’s report, Elliotte Friedman clarified that while the first two lottery changes won’t take effect until 2022, the reduction of lottery picks from three to two will be in place for the 2021 Draft Lottery.
That’s good news for the Kraken. Just as the Vegas Golden Knights did in 2017, the Kraken will have the 3rd best odds of winning the draft lottery and selecting 1st overall. In 2017, the expansion Golden Knights lost all three lottery drawings and ended up with the 6th overall pick. Fortunately, it now looks like that will no longer be a possibility for the Kraken. If the NHL’s proposed changes are enacted, the Kraken will be guaranteed a top-5 pick in the 2021 Entry Draft, as only two teams could potentially leapfrog their #3 spot.
As we celebrate improved odds of a higher draft pick, we also have a better idea of exactly when the pick will be made. Over the last few weeks, it had been reported that there was a push by some NHL executives and scouts to move the 2021 Entry Draft back to the summer of 2022. This would allow scouts to have more ability to watch players whose seasons had been cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. It appears we now have some more clarity on the matter, with an official announcement coming soon.
As Friedman pointed out, the fact that the NHL released the news now is an indication that the 2021 Entry Draft will remain at its currently scheduled dates: July 23rd and 24th. That will make for a busy and exciting week for Kraken fans, who will have the Kraken’s expansion draft on Wednesday the 21st followed by the 2021 Entry Draft on Friday and Saturday.