Red Wings organization cheated 4 years in a row at NHL Draft Lottery


The Detroit Red Wings were fleeced for the fourth year in a row at the NHL Draft Lottery.  Where do they go from here?

After a string of 25 straight playoff appearances, the Detroit Red Wings entered their fourth consecutive NHL Draft Lottery a couple of short weeks ago.  For the fourth time, in four tries, the Red Wings lost draft position.

The lottery had been established initially to prevent organizations from tanking.  It is a format that is not just implemented within the NHL; the NBA also uses a similar arrangement.

When a team goes from picking twelfth to third like the Chicago Blackhawks in 2019, of course, that fanbase is going to love the lottery, for a year.  The problem is that type of movement prevents the bottomfeeders from landing the young talent needed to turn their franchise around.

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The Red Wings were not tanking in 2019-20, they were simply atrocious. It’s an organization that continued to limp its way to the playoffs year after year only to be swiftly eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. For some connected to the organization, unwisely so, the playoff streak was more important than starting to rebuild with significant building blocks already in place.

The Detroit Red Wings had an opportunity to rebuild with a firm foundation still in place, but choose otherwise. Sure, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Nicklas Kronwall were aging, but who more perfect to take the next generation under their wing as Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom did with them early on in their careers.

The Detroit Red Wings are the perfect example of why the NHL Draft Lottery needs to be changed.

This past season’s lottery results once again justify why the system needs to be changed.  When you consider everything that is going on in the world, something seems a bit dubious surrounding the 2020 lottery results. Was the lottery fixed to maintain interest in the NHL during a time when all sports may resume together?

The Red Wings owned the second-best odds (18.5%) at landing the first-overall pick; the Ottawa Senators combined their odds and the San Jose Sharks odds, which they acquired in the Erik Karlsson trade, earning themselves a 25% chance at obtaining the first-overall selection.  Both walked away, unsatisfied, and downright angry.

Instead, a team to be named later will be picking first, in turn, winning the Alexis Lafreniere sweepstakes.  Entering the lottery, this scenario had a mere 2.5% chance of happening, yet, here we are.

Yes, a team that has earned the right to compete for the Stanley Cup once the league returns to play will have an opportunity to bolster an already playoff-caliber lineup with a generational talent like Lafreniere.

The Senators who are in dire need of a superstar talent to get fans back into their arena won’t have the opportunity to draft the consensus top-ranked player entering the NHL draft.  The same goes for the Red Wings.

Sure, both organizations will have the ability to draft a highly-skilled athlete, but in this case, there is a drastic difference between an elite talent and Alexis Lafreniere.  It furthermore justifies the lottery format is flawed and needs to be changed immediately.

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The Red Wings will now be forced to decide between a handful of tier-two players rather than a franchise-changing prospect.  It’s expected that Quinton Byfield will be the second-overall pick, and that will leave the Wings choosing between defenseman Jamie Drysdale, center Marco Rossi, center Lucas Raymond, and center Tim Stutzle.

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