Changes to draft lottery right before McDavid is no coincidence

Bruce Bennett

The NHL is reportedly changing the draft lottery, and if recent moves tell us anything it won't benefit the teams at the bottom.

The NHL GM's are all meeting in Florida this week to discuss the state of the NHL and some changes that they would like to see made. Although it seems that a 3-on-3 overtime isn't a part of the plan, a change to the NHL Draft lottery could be.

This will be the second year in a row that the lottery is changed, and although we don't know whether or not it benefits the teams at the bottom or the ones in the middle, the latter is more likely based on recent moves. Last year the NHL made it so all 14 teams who miss the playoffs were eligible to move up to the first overall pick, instead of just the bottom five. The NHL has been following the lead of the NBA, with both leagues hoping to discourage tanking as much as possible.

Now, the GM's look to change things even further. Why now? The incentive is bigger than it has been in past years as Connor McDavid becomes the ultimate prize in 2015. Why wouldn't other GM's want a better shot at a player many think could be one of the best to ever play, or at least a player that can turn around your franchise?

The Sabres have set themselves up to be near the bottom the the league barring a crazy off-season. They're among only a small handfull of teams that will likely be bad next year, largely outnumbered by teams who at least think they won't be in the bottom five. Thus, when it comes to a GM vote the majority didn't have that great of a chance to get that top overall pick. If their odds increase, suddenly the chance to add a gamechanger like McDavid is that much more of a possibility.

Whatever the case, if the NHL increases odds to teams outside the top five it is bad news for the Buffalo Sabres. If the team was planning on being the worst team in the league again next season, the worst they could have done under the current system was draft second. Jack Eichel is still a pretty good consolation prize. Under the new system? Who knows.

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