NHL missed chance to create controversy with the entry draft

Kyle Beach #12, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Kyle Beach #12, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The NHL has come out with a Stanley Cup Playoffs plan, including the Chicago Blackhawks, and a draft plan, something that was outlined yesterday.

With the NHL looking for a way to shake things up and salvage the season somehow, one proposal was to have the entry draft in June before any more hockey was to be played. After yesterday’s announcement, there’s no way that will happen.

And to that, I say, “BOO!”

The draft lottery will be June 26th, and any shot at doing something really different vanished. Having the draft before the playoffs would have been amazing, and memorable.

People would be talking about the”Pandemic Draft” for as long as anyone remembers it. The results would be debated, and there would be no end of frustration at the results regardless of who won the Stanley Cup.

Nothing creates publicity quite like controversy, and setting the draft before a return to play would have ignited nothing but animosity among the various team’s fans.

This season was going to be memorable anyway. Why not really go all out when you have the chance and do something really different?

What’s the problem, really? Its all but assured that Detroit and Ottawa will pick first and second, so basically teams are fighting over a shot at the third overall pick, or maybe something around there?

The draft is a gamble. Consider for a moment some picks that never really panned out for the Chicago Blackhawks, and were first rounders…

Cam Barker, 3rd overall in 2004

Jack Skille, 7th overall in 2005

Kyle Beach, 11th overall in 2008

Mark McNeill, 18th overall in 2011

None of these players became the impact players they were expected to be.

Not to mention that even if a team does extremely well in the draft, they won’t have very long before the salary cap becomes an issue. The Maple Leafs are a perfect example. They have tons of talent but are now being forced to trade valuable players away because they’re up against the cap. According to CapFriendly, they have essentially no cap space at all.

Winning the draft lottery doesn’t equate winning the cup.

Just look at Edmonton, Chicago’s first opponent in the post-season.  For over 10 years, it was only in 2017 and 2008 when they had a pick in the draft that was outside of the top 10. No, seriously. 2007 was Sam Ganger at 6. If high draft picks really equaled success then the Oilers would be winning every year, but until they drafted McDavid they were terrible.

The NHL blew it in a way that only the NHL could. When offered the chance to try out ideas that might have seemed outrageous before this year, the league changed as little as they could and went with what might be the most vanilla option possible.

Next year’s cap will probably shake things up more than this year’s entry draft, but I digress.

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At this point, what’s most important is that hockey appears to be making a return. The Blackhawks are back, and who wouldn’t take winning the Stanley Cup over a high draft pick?