Free Market NHL

Section 2: NHL Draft Cup

M.G. McIntosh





In addition to a free market NHL, I think there should be a playoff for the first overall draft pick. Let’s call it the Draft Cup. This would serve to replace the lottery and allow talented players a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup sooner. It would be seeded in reverse order to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, pitting the last place team against the 9th place team.


In the past, there were complaints of teams “tanking” in the standings so they would have a better chance of getting the 1st overall draft pick. This led to the NHL bringing in the lottery system in the first place. I think it would be better if teams had to compete for it instead. Basically, it’s too easy for a team to draft one position (say center) multiple years in a row and not actually fill out the rest of the team. This is an easy way to tank in the standings. Where’s the goaltending? Who’s playing defense? The team can lose every game and still have multiple first overall draft picks. This is why the Edmonton Oilers sucked so bad. Look at their recent  1st overall picks: Taylor Hall (2010), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011), Nail Yakupov (2012),  Darnell Nurse (2103), Leon Draisatl (2014) and Connor McDavid (2015). All of them are great players. Only one of them is a  defenseman (Darnell Nurse). To this day, the Edmonton Oilers are having goalie issues.

Obviously, there is no guarantee that a highly rated player is available for the position you want to fill (in this case a goaltender) and that may have contributed to the current situation in Edmonton. Or it could be a case of a savvy team opting for sub-par goaltending to help them tank in the standings. Either way, we need to incentivize teams to compete. To fill the holes in their rosters sooner rather than later. To always have to be competitive. This is how you improve the league. And it means that each team will have to draft and develop players better because they will need to get more out of their lower draft picks to stay competitive.


  1. Teams find ways to compete and remain competitive
  2. Drafting and scouting are improved
  3. Player development improves
  4. No more 5-year “rebuilds”
  5. More reasons to trade
  6. More reasons to scout the European Leagues
  7. Teams will take care of dressing room problems sooner
  8. Teams will take care of Management and Coaching issues sooner


I can see many ways that the league will improve with the addition of Free Market NHL rules and a NHL Draft Cup and I hope that they try it out. It’s worth it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s