The 2019 National Hockey League entry draft will be great for Vancouver. Too bad it won’t be better for the Vancouver Canucks and the struggling teams that need it most. The league’s draft lottery, which determines the draft order in connection with the final standings, began in 1995 as a failsafe mechanism to police the worst teams and ensure “tanking” and finishing last would not guarantee the first-overall pick. But the NHL revised the lottery in 2013 and three years later turned it into an entertainment spectacle whose clear priority is not to steer top draft picks to the most needy teams but to engage fans in all the markets where teams have missed the Stanley Cup playoffs. So last year, the New Jersey Devils bolted from fifth (based on a 26th-place finish) to first in the draft order, the Philadelphia Flyers to second from 13th and the Dallas Stars to third from eighth. The Canucks, meanwhile, who finished 29th after their worst season this century, fell three spots in the draft order and picked only fifth. The previous year, the Canucks fell to fifth from third, fulfilling the most likely mathematical outcome by losing two places. The Canucks are headed towards another bottom-five finish this season. And in a year where as few as two Canadian teams may make the playoffs, other needy clubs like the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators are also mathematically likely to lose the draft lottery and pick behind teams that finished ahead of them.
Despite hosting NHL draft, Canucks still likely to lose lottery
Sportsnet | Feb 28