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Report: NHL team suggested tournament to decide draft lottery

Darren Helm #43 of the Detroit Red Wings battles for the puck with Connor Brown #28 of the Ottawa Senators during the first period at Little Caesars Arena on January 10, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The coronavirus outbreak putting sports on hold has caused all sorts of ideas to surface on how leagues can resume their seasons or complete other standard processes.

One such idea was regarding a draft lottery and came from an NHL team.

A source told Craig Custance of The Athletic that a team submitted a plan that involved a tournament to decide who picks first overall in the upcoming NHL Draft. As Custance notes, this plan would have to give some weight to a team like the Detroit Red Wings, who are the worst team in the league by far. That could include giving those teams home games and an easier path to winning the tournament, for which the prize is the top draft pick.

There are a number of factors at play here.

To start with, the NHL suspended its season as teams had between 11 and 14 games remaining. It’s not clear whether the league will eventually play those missed games, which could be a factor in deciding whether it’s necessary to stray from the current draft lottery format.

Playing the rest of the season as previously arranged appears unlikely. Fan interest, scheduling complications, cost-benefit analysis and the to-be-determined severity of coronavirus’ impact on society are all at play in that decision.

But a draft lottery tournament could be one solution to give otherwise not-relevant teams games to play if the playoff-bound clubs jump straight into a postseason upon league resumption.

The Coyotes entered the season pause in fifth place in the Western Conference Wild Card and 22nd in the NHL overall with 12 games to go.

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