Seravalli: The NHL examining potential changes to draft format

Photo credit:Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
6 months ago
The NHL is a traditional league stuck in its ways for a while now. However, one thing that may be changing is the format of the entry draft.
Typically, the league will have all 32 teams and its prospects gather in one city of the draft. The excitement comes on the first day, as we have seen over the last few years. Last time out in Nashville, it was a historic moment with Connor Bedard going first overall. Still, the drama happened shortly after when Adam Fantilli went third to Columbus behind Leo Carlsson. The year before that, the Montreal Canadiens held the first overall pick in their city and didn’t take Shane Wright, which led to the famous stare-down when he eventually went fourth overall to the Seattle Kraken.
While those moments could still occur in some capacity in the new format, things will look different.
“The NHL sent a memo to all 32 teams this morning,” said Frank Seravalli. “It was very old school. It was “What would you like to see from the NHL draft moving forward? Please check a box and return.” The two options were to keep the status quo or decentralize the draft and have each operate in a virtual matter.”
The NFL has done this for a while now. They will invite a select amount of players to the draft, who then get to enjoy the ceremonies. They get the red carpet treatment with their families before waiting for their names to be called and having their moment with the commissioner, Rodger Goddell.
Six trades were made on the day of the 2023 NFL draft, including four of the first ten picks. Nine trades were made throughout the draft in the NHL, and not one first-round pick was moved.
“I love it,” continued Seravalli. “In some ways, it’s so decantations to have everyone in the same room. When those teams walk into the building, they are mostly paralyzed. They don’t want to make a move. They don’t want people seeing them call another general manager or talking face to face. They hate that even if they’re talking about the coffee, someone turns that into a story.”
“I think you’d be able to get so much more business done this new way. I have a feeling how many teams will want to change it; however, I don’t know if it will be in time for 2024. But, interestingly, the league hasn’t announced yet who will host the upcoming draft.”
Frank also mentioned that the league would continue to have a host city with all the festivities surrounding it.
It’s refreshing to hear that the NHL wants to change its way. Fans have seen it already to start the season by promoting Connor Bedard. Like it or not, the NHL needs to find ways to promote their players more and having future stars be the draw to draft weekend, rather than who Ken Holland is talking to about nothing, is a much better way to bring attention to the league.

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