Report: NHL proposes changes to draft lottery format, may affect Red Wings in 2021 draft

Detroit News

The Detroit News

The NHL has proposed changes to the draft lottery format, which could affect the Detroit Red Wings in the 2021 draft tentatively scheduled for July 23-24.

According to an NHL memo obtained by Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, there would be three major changes to the draft lottery:

►Teams would be limited to no more than two lottery wins in a five-year period

►Teams would only be allowed to jump 10 spots with a lottery win

►A reduction in the number of picks decided by the lottery, from three to two

Last year, the Red Wings had the worst overall record in the NHL and would’ve had the No. 1 overall pick before the draft lottery system was first introduced in 1995 but Detroit dropped to No. 4 in the lottery and selected Sweden’s Lucas Raymond.

Here’s what Detroit News columnist Bob Wojnowski said at the time after Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman “did the honorable thing, said he wasn’t surprised, and promised the Wings would get a great prospect with the fourth pick of the draft.”

“In the NHL, the random acts too often are comical and dumb,” Wojo wrote in a column on June 28, 2020. “The draft lottery was an embarrassment, and I know the rest of the sports world doesn’t care if a Detroit team got jobbed. And maybe it’s our fault too for not shrieking loudly about the possible consequences before the disaster unfolded.

“But with one of the worst regular-season records in franchise history, the Wings dropped from the No. 1 slot — and prized prospect Alexis Lafreniere — to No. 4. And here’s the ridiculous part: It’s exactly what the NHL planned to happen.”

Any changes to the draft lottery format would be subject to approval by the NHL’s Board of Governors. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the first two potential changes would not take effect until 2022 if approved, while the third would take effect this year.

Heading into tonight’s game against the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena, the Red Wings (7-16-3, 17 points) have the second-worst record in the league behind the Buffalo Sabres (6-14-3, 15 points).

Friedman also said a final decision on whether to postpone the 2021 NHL Draft because of the COVID-19 pandemic could come in the next few days.

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