The NHL draft is a good idea in theory, but unfortunately, it has a major flaw in that an inept management that doesn’t try to improve can get results more quickly than a management team that is working hard to make the playoffs but is just a piece or two away. The most recent four cases would be Pittsburgh (four top 2 picks in a row), Washington, the Blackhawks, and Edmonton (3 first overall picks in a row).
While I agree that it’s only fair to give the weakest teams a shot at the best players, this leads to the opportunity to tank the season for a higher draft pick, especially when a player with truly superstar potential is available. (When I say superstar, I don’t consider the league to have more than about 5 or 6 superstars at a time…I think the word is incredibly overused. Crosby, Malkin, Weber, Stamkos, Ovechkin (maybe)…those are the only true superstars in the league right now in my mind. Maybe Claude Giroux, we’ll see if he keeps up this level of play).
He’s our crazy idea for the new CBA: Instead of rewarding tanking, why not have a single elimination tournament during the quiet period at end of the season before the playoffs to determine draft order? 14 teams miss the playoffs, so if we give the two worst teams a first round bye we have a four round tournament to determine draft order.
Everyone hates two things in sports: tanking and the layoff between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs. Not only would this tournament dissuade tanking, but it would be a blast to watch as a fan while giving the playoff teams four days to rest up and prepare. The NHL needs ratings, and it needs to differentiate itself in the crowded American sports market. Are you telling me you wouldn’t watch this as a prelude to playoff hockey? It’s way more exciting than the lottery, and there’s way less potential for someone to
David Stern Donaghy Sidney Crosby rig it for the betterment of the league, or even for the appearance of impropriety. By giving the worst two teams byes, we guarantee them at worst the #7 and #8 pick in the draft – still a great pick – but we also give teams who did their best to make the playoffs a chance at improving their club right away. I would make the “#1 seed” in the tournament the first team that missed the playoffs, and they would face the third worst team in the league. If they win, they would face the worst team in the league (coming off of a bye, no less) in round two, and so on bracket style. Just think of the upset possibilities! This is so much more fun than watching some fat guy open envelopes.
Imagine a team at the trade deadline debating whether to be a buyer or a seller, but knowing if they trade assets for a rental player and still miss the playoffs, they’ll have that rental player available for this tournament? The trade deadline might actually be interesting again! Think of the fans, packing in the house trying to cheer their way to a higher draft pick.
Think of a team like Calgary that refuses to rebuild and keeps trying to win. That is supposed to be the goal right? How fun would it be to watch Jarome Iginla busting his ass for the right to draft RNH as his future center. He’d fight the entire Maple Leafs team for that right. You’re not supposed to be able to tank for a few years and end up with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, kind of like you’re not supposed to survive on unemployment without looking for a job. Wouldn’t it have been a lot more fun this year for Calgary to be playing for the rights to Nail Yakupov rather than watching Edmonton and Columbus tanking their way there?
There’s so much more to go into here, but I’m deliberately trolling for comments. Let me know your thoughts!