TheAthletic.Com reports that the NHL is looking at a proposal to have a tournament among non-playoff teams to determine who gets the first overall draft pick.
But these are bizarre times.
That presumably means that the NHL resumes by going straight to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Teams that don’t make the playoffs generate ticket revenue by participating in the tournament for the top draft pick. It would mean extra TV money, too.
I’m glad the NHL didn’t do this in 1984. Goalie Vincent Tremblay would have gone from being the Penguins’ biggest asset to being their biggest liability.
The proposal sparks smart-ass questions, like: Do you advance by winning, or losing? (By winning. Duh.)
It sparks legit questions, like: How will the tournament be seeded? The draft lottery is weighted to give the lowest finishers the best chance of winning. So the bottom team, Detroit, should get top seed and home-ice advantage. But the Red Wings are, by far, the worst team. They might win a lottery. No way do they win this tournament.
NHL players don't get paid for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Would they play for free in this draft-pick tournament? The NHLPA might have something to say.
The pesky details aside, it’s not a bad idea. It rewards failure a lot less. If it's used beyond this year, it removes tanking from the equation. Teams that just miss the playoffs would have a good chance in the draft-pick tournament. No reason to take your foot off the gas.
It’s worth exploring. If this season ever resumes. It probably won’t.