Detroit Red Wings: Big NHL Draft Changes Help the Yzerplan

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It only took the Detroit Red Wings being bumped three picks to finally institute change. The NHL Draft will see some massive tweaks aimed at improving lottery odds for the lower rung teams while limiting the number of times a team can win the draft during a five year window. Though it feels too little too late, any change to the system is welcomed as it should help the Red Wings notch a higher pick.

With Seattle entering the league and promised the third best odds to pick, and the Red Wings holding the fourth worst record in hockey, they currently have the fifth best odds to land the #1 pick. Don’t hold your breath though if you’re a frequent flier on Tankathon. In ten tries from your humble author, the Wings picked once at the top spot. In this same simulation, the highest they picked was #5.

It’s almost as if Tankathon has Gary Bettman’s cheat codes for the Draft.

A few interesting points:

  • Only the top two spots are eligible for the lottery. Getting rid of that third draw is important as the Red Wings can possibly snag a top two this year and next. I’m hardly optimistic about this because I have the last four lotteries to consider and the Wings’ draft luck is right up there with Darren Helm’s scoring on a breakaway.
  • A team can only move up a maximum of ten spots to win the draft. In addition to that, a team can only win the lottery twice in a five year window. These changes kick in for the 2022 Draft with Shane Wright.

Does point number two above encourage Wings fans to stomach one more truly awful year?  With Wright being the crown jewel of the draft, it might be another long season should Steve Yzerman decide to improve marginally but continue the plan of short term deals on players who can deliver picks and/or prospects at the deadline. After watching another game where Detroit failed to score, is it really worth another season of indifference and grasping at straws for signs of progress?

Taking the long view, yes. In theory, they should have a shot at that top pick whether they’re the 11th worst or the worst team next season. But just thinking about another year of suffocating defense and a lack of offense is just so disheartening.

Cynical fans, burned by draft lotteries of the past, will shrug their shoulders at the rule shifts. Hopeful fans see this as an opportunity to finally have things bounce Detroit’s way.

I hope there’s some luck in the Red Wings’ draft future. Though their lack of it certainly influenced the changes, it remains to be seen if they benefit from the new rules. But it does stand to reason that the Yzerplan is helped by the new tweaks to the system.

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