Seattle Kraken: Big NHL Entry Draft Changes Will Hurt Us Long-Term

The adjustments to the NHL Entry Draft that were announced yesterday will have a negative impact on the Seattle Kraken long-term.

The changes, which will minimally impact the Seattle Kraken this season, see the following adjustments to the rules for the 2021 Draft:

  • the number of Draft Lottery draws will be reduced from 3 to 2; meaning the last-placed team in the league will pick no lower than 3rd overall.

The following adjustments will come into effect at the 2022 Draft, which hopefully means that don’t affect the Seattle Kraken at all:

  • limiting the maximum move-up for the lottery winner to 10 spots; only 11 teams can win the Draft Lottery instead of the 16 that could previously.
  • no team can win the Draft Lottery more than twice in a five-year period.

Indeed, short-term there should be very minimal repercussions. The Seattle Kraken are setting their sights high and hoping for a play-off spot in their debut season, hence the 2022 Draft is irrelevant.

Likewise, the changes to the 2021 Draft should see us dropping to fifth overall, at worst. We should be maintaining the same 22.8% chance of drafting in the top two.

Right now, the general consensus is seeing Owen Power or Luke Hughes in those spots. Neither would be a bad starting point for the Seattle Kraken prospect pool!

Long-term, these adjustments are hopefully more about preventing our rivals drafting too many first overall picks. Indeed, we’ll certainly be hoping that the Seattle Kraken have a future as a regular contender and thus are more concerning themselves with the lower end of the first round.

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What if the Seattle Kraken end up struggling?

However, that’s not to say that we won’t spend some time struggling.

Unfortunately, we now have to finish in the bottom-11 as opposed to simply missing the play-offs; that is, if we’re hoping to win the Draft Lottery and a first overall pick.

The adjustment that sees a last-placed team picking a lowest of third overall is a nice change. Hopefully, one we won’t be contemplating anytime soon though.

The worst damage this does is really if we end up sitting on the cusp of play-off contention. It becomes very challenging in that middle group, whereby the team isn’t play-off level but isn’t a basement dweller.

Previously, that still gave teams a chance at picking up a high-end talent. Moving forward, we’ll be the first team never to have had that chance afforded to it.

Right now, it’s going to be a case of seeing how Ron Francis sets about building our roster. Once we know of the talent there, we can start assessing whether these moves do us significant damage. Or just minor long-term pain.