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Time to Improve the NHL’s Anti-Competition Rules

September 10, 2008 | By RotoRob | comment on this post

BY ROB REATH

During this league-driven era of parity, suppose your favourite team rises from the middle of the pack and begins to raise its play during the stretch, and then shocks the league by winning three rounds in the playoffs. Shouldn’t they be rewarded?

I think they should, but under Commissioner Gary Bettman’s new rules, teams are punished for advancing in the playoffs by having their draft picks drop deep near the bottom of the crop. The Stanley cup winner? They go last.

Isn’t that rather like those silly children’s leagues in soccer where nobody is allowed to win so it won’t make the kids on the losing team feel bad?

I don’t think the kid who scores 15 goals for his side feels too accomplished knowing it was all for naught, so maybe he stops at three and figures “why bother?”

Why try? Why want to win?

I think the fans of the teams who follow the draft and the organizations that ice the best product should be rewarded, in full.

How about this for an idea?

If your team wins the first round of the playoffs, your team is awarded the opposing team’s fourth round pick.

A win in the second round gets your team the opposing team’s third round pick.

Now you are cruising — you make it to the semi-finals and you get the opposing team’s second round pick.

And yes, you guessed it – make it to the finals and win and you snag the losing team’s first round pick at the draft.

It’s not like the losing team would be hurting because it would have captured several extra picks in the previous three rounds.

The lottery is cumbersome, is a divided process that only involves non-playoff teams and it adds weeks to the process of resolving the draft order.

If teams want to throw away their season and tank it to shoot for last place, they aren’t the team most people will be watching anyway. Throw the bottom five teams in a lottery and quit complicating the formula so that no one knows when their team will draft until the summer.

It’s ridiculous. No professional league has such a convoluted and confused draft system as the NHL. Since when is confusion a marketing team?

Last year, the Flyers went the conference finals and were so thrilled with their draft position in the first round that theu traded it and had to make a separate trade to move up just to get the 19th overall pick instead of 27th.

Does that sound like an organization rewarded for its miraculous turnaround from last place overall the season before to going to the final four in 2007-08?

Let’s put the emphasis back on winning and let teams compete for it all, the way the game was meant to be played.

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