NHL still discouraging tanking — but less — with draft lottery changes

Justin Cuthbert
·2 min read
The NHL has approved a series of changes that will go into effect over the next two years. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
The NHL has approved a series of changes that will go into effect over the next two years. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Taylor Hall can only do so much for a franchise, now.

Several reputable sources confirmed Tuesday that the NHL will adopt three proposed rules changes to its draft lottery system after a week-long vote from the board of governors. The changes will reward bad teams to an extent, but "tanking" will be, we'll say, mildly discouraged, with teams now only allowed to win the lottery twice in a five-year period.

The most significant change is that only two lottery balls will be pulled when previously the first three draft selections were determined at random. This means that the last-place team each season will secure the No. 3 overall selection at worst.

Also new, teams can only move up 10 spots in the draft lottery. Where all 14 non-playoff teams that missed the postseason were in the running for the No. 1 overall selection previously, moving forward only 11 teams will have a weighted shot at having its pick of the litter.

The move from three draws to two will take effect this summer, while the other two rules changes will be adopted in 2022.

For the most part, these changes make sense. Teams still can't bottom out without risk, but will, when rebuilding, assuredly secure a higher quality set of draft picks than were once promised.

It's believed the Detroit Red Wings' fate over the last few seasons was a driving force behind these changes. After more than a quarter century run of postseason appearances, in which they sacrificed future for the present, admirably, Steve Yzerman's Red Wings haven't been chosen in the lottery, and therefore haven't selected in the top three, over the last three seasons.

This despite finishes of fifth-last, fourth-last and dead-last.

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