Skip to Main Content
NHL Draft

NHL Draft Lottery changes announced for 2021

Drawings reduced to two; limits added in 2022 for teams that win, move up

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

The 2021 NHL Draft Lottery will be reduced from three drawings to two as part of changes announced Tuesday.

The changes, approved by the NHL Board of Governors, will determine the order of the NHL Draft for the teams that do not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Two other changes will begin with the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery:

-- Teams will be restricted from moving up more than 10 spots if it wins one of the lottery draws.

-- Teams cannot win the lottery more than twice in a five-year period. Wins in the lottery prior to 2022 will not be counted toward this total.

The NHL said the changes will reduce the likelihood of the worst-finishing team dropping in the draft order and not retaining the right to the No. 1 pick; reduce the magnitude of any possible drop in draft order for the worst-finishing team; limit the number of teams eligible to win the No. 1 pick (based on final regular-season standings); and limit the number of times the same team can benefit from winning a lottery drawing.

The 2021 NHL Draft is scheduled for July 23-24.

Since 2016, the draft lottery has used three drawings with any team that did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs having a chance to win one of the top three picks.

The reduction to two drawings ensures that the team that finishes last in the NHL standings would pick no lower than No. 3. Under the current system, the team that finished last in the NHL standings could drop to No. 4, which occurred in 2017 (Colorado Avalanche), 2019 (Ottawa Senators) and 2020 (Detroit Red Wings).

The restriction on teams moving up more than 10 places in the first round means the bottom 11 teams in the standings are eligible to win the No. 1 pick. The bottom 12 teams would then be eligible for the No. 2 pick if one of them doesn't win the first drawing.

The 15 teams that fail to qualify for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the expansion Seattle Kraken, who begin play in the 2021-22 NHL season, will be involved in the 2021 lottery. The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery will include the 16 teams that miss the playoffs next season.

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.