This year’s race to the #1 draft pick has underlined the fact that teams do their best to improve their chances at getting the #1 pick. Case in point- Tampa Bay lightning icing Vincent Lecavalier with an eighth of the season to go. With the playoffs out of reach, Tampa decided it was best to schedule their best player for surgery so that he has time to rehab for next season. I don’t see it as that, I see it as a way to improve their chances to the #1 draft pick. I think this tanking of your team is against the idea of sport, a slap in the face to your fanbase and just generally uncool and square.
What do I propose? A playdown for draft seeding. This would happen immediately after the regular season and involve the teams that missed the playoffs. It would take a week to complete and allow the playoff bound teams some rest before the grind of the playoffs. Seeding would be based on how teams performed in the regular season and home ice advantage would always default to the team with the worst record. When everything is said and done the draft positions would be based on how far teams made it in the playdown.
The bracket would set up in an eastern and western bracket and teams would be reverse seeded based on how they finished in the regular season. This is what I propose with teams for the 2009 season to show the seeding (click on image for larger view):
A draft playdown has some great possibilities:
- Gives fan bases of poor teams something to cheer for
- Opens up hockey to a fanbase that loves brackets
- Reduces the risk of teams tanking it and resting their best players to get a good draft seed
- Gives all non playoff bound teams a chance at the # 1 pick
- Generate more revenue for non-playoff bound teams
- Allows teams to try-out prospects in their farm system
- Gambling potential!!!
I like it and I hope you do to.