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The NHL Is At Least Considering Having A Tournament To Determine Who Gets The 1st Overall Draft Pick

The Athletic - According to an NHL source, at least one team has submitted a lottery proposal that would include a tournament in which lottery teams play for the first-overall pick. At its face, the idea sounds radical but structured the right way this has the potential to be a real asset for the league.

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. 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.

Will it happen? Probably not. But should it happen? Abso-goddamn-lutely. We've got one of the best prospects of the past 10 years coming up in this 2020 NHL Draft and you simply cannot have a season that ended in March determine which teams gets a Crosby/McDavid/Matthews. I know that Detroit has been doing everything in their power to be the most dog shit hockey team the world has ever seen. I mean good lord. 17 wins in 71 games? Live look at the 2019-20 Detroit Red Wings doing everything they can for Lafreniere. 

This is a franchise who made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in more consecutive years than they had wins this season. That would be the case even if they got a full 82 games in. And yes, the Senators suck ass as well. So did all the California teams. I mean nobody has ever sucked or will ever suck more than the 2019-20 Detroit Red Wings, but that's besides the point. Because the fact of the matter is that Alexis Lafreniere is too much of a game changer to just let a bunch of ping pong balls determine which franchise he turns around and spends his career with. You want Lafreniere? Just like my guy $20 Chef would say, you gotta earn it. 

Here's how I would do it. There were 7 dog shit teams in the league this year. Detroit, Ottawa, LA, San Jose, Anaheim, NJ and Buffalo. So since 4 of those teams are from the east and only 3 are from the west, let's have the Devils vs Sabres as a play-in game. You give Detroit and Ottawa automatic byes to the next round. So then you have the winner of NJ/BUF play against LA, and you have San Jose vs Anaheim. You guys all understand how brackets work from there so I shouldn't have to explain it any further. But the final series should definitely be a best-of-3. There was also that idea getting floated around about a 24-team playoff whenever the league resumes, so this actually makes the numbers work out perfectly with the remaining 7 teams playing for the 1st overall pick. 

Again, it probably will never happen but nothing would make me happier than to see the Red Wings spend an entire year being one of the most horrific teams in sports history only to end up losing out on Lafreniere after getting their doors blown off by San Jose. Maybe I still just have a hatred for Detroit after the '97 Cup Final, but I need to see it happen. 

P.S. - The Premier Lacrosse League already has a separate playoff bracket for the 1st pick in that next year's draft, so credit to lacrosse for continuing to be the most innovative sport on the planet. 

P.P.S. - While we're talking about drafts, I've recently fell down of wormhole of watching clips of Connor Bedard. He's the first player to be granted exceptional status in the WHL and is a 2023 NHL Draft prospect. So don't worry, Red Wings fans. You guys have plenty more reasons to suck in the future.