Gary Bettman: “Nobody’s a Tank” in NHL for Top Draft Picks

Connor Bedard has had a rough fall in the NHL and pretty soon teams will be sending out any and all players in an effort to help their respective rosters lose hockey games. Still, according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, it’s not an ‘incident’ in his league. The fact that the NHL has a weighted lottery that gives the worst teams the best odds to draft a potential next-generation talent like Bedard doesn’t mean teams engage in this kind of nonsense.

“No one tanks because we have a weighted lottery,” Bateman told reporters. Ironically, he expected people to believe him when he said it too. He added, “You’re not going to lose games to increase your odds by a few percentage points. This is stupid. And frankly, suggesting tanking, I believe, is inconsistent with the professionalism of our players and our coaches.”

Yet, somehow, everyone knows teams do it.

Granted, players may not want to lose and they certainly don’t try when they’re on the ice. But that’s to say general managers don’t trade players to make sure a team has no chance of contending, and whatever they can do in the playoffs to acquire future draft picks and prospects won’t make their team worse. Funny nowadays. This is standard practice and the deeper the draft, the more teams will do it.

Alan Walsh, a prominent NHL player agent, tweeted, “Gary Bettman just made a ridiculous and wildly false statement at a media availability that there is no tanking in the NHL. Trust me when I tell you, NHL teams would rather finish than miss the playoffs by 2 points.” He added in a second tweet, “Takes me off the floor laughing so hard. On the planet (or in the hockey industry) There is no man who believes this absurd statement.”

Bettman tried to sell the fact that a 75% chance of getting the first pick isn’t swinging teams. “Our players and our coaches give their best to win,” he explained. Again, this particular statement is probably true. But, he wasn’t fooling anyone when he tried to sell the idea that teams and GMs couldn’t see the odds and started salivating at the idea of ​​the No. 1 overall pick. “And again, you’ve got something like a 75% chance that you’re not going to get the first pick because you could end up with the worst record in the league.”

The opposite is true of what Bateman is saying

The reality is, the NHL lottery encourages more teams to tank because more teams have a shot at the top pick when they do. The moment a league finishes at the bottom of the standings giving teams better odds than teams that just miss the postseason means that teams know they’ll be intentionally trying to miss by a wide margin. Teams that almost get there are actually penalized, with the exception that one could argue a team that isn’t competitive from the start sells fewer tickets each season.

Blackhawks NHL Draft Pick 2022

Not only that, but the NHL changed the lottery to ensure that teams that lose the lottery can only play so far. The league changed the odds multiple times to better control the results, and if the league itself thought its system was correct, it wouldn’t have needed to change the way lottery odds were handed out.

The real proof will come as a handful of teams at the bottom of the position begin to make moves before the March 3 trade deadline. If clubs like the Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes start dumping everyone for less than they probably should, that tells everyone what they need to know.

Next: The Devils are a team showing interest in the Sharks’ Timo Meyer





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