The NHL Entry Draft is an annual meeting in which every franchise of the National Hockey League (NHL) systematically select the rights to available amateur ice hockey players who meet draft eligibility requirements (North American players 18–20 years old and Europeans of all ages entering league for the first time. All others are not eligible and must enter the league as unrestricted free agents). The NHL Entry Draft is held once every year, generally within two to three months after the conclusion of the previous season. During the draft, teams take turns selecting amateur players from junior, collegiate, or European leagues.
The first draft was held in 1963, and has been held every year since. The NHL Entry Draft was known as the "NHL Amateur Draft" up until 1979. The entry draft has only been a public event since 1980, and a televised event since 1984.
The National Hockey League announced changes to its Draft Lottery for 2016, a weighted system implemented and utilized to determine the order of selection in the first round of the NHL Draft for the 14 Clubs not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (or the Clubs that have acquired the first-round drafting positions of those non-playoff teams). The 14 Clubs not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (or the Clubs that have acquired the first-round drafting positions of those non-playoff teams) are entered into the annual NHL Draft Lottery, with odds determined by reverse order of regular season standings.
Beginning in 2016, the Draft Lottery will be utilized to assign the top three drafting slots in the NHL Draft, an expansion over previous years when the Draft Lottery was used to determine the winner of the first overall selection only.
Three draws will be held: the 1st Lottery draw will determine the Club selecting first overall, the 2nd Lottery draw will determine the Club selecting second overall and the 3rd Lottery draw will determine the club selecting third overall.
As a result of this change, the team earning the fewest points during the regular season will no longer be guaranteed, at worst, the second overall pick. That club could fall as low as fourth overall.
The allocation of odds for the 1st Lottery draw will be the same as outlined above for the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery. The odds for the remaining teams will increase on a proportionate basis for the 2nd Lottery draw, based on which Club wins the 1st Lottery draw, and again for the 3rd Lottery draw, based on which Club wins the 2nd Lottery draw.
The 11 Clubs not selected in the Draft Lottery will be assigned NHL Draft selections 4 through 14, in inverse order of regular-season points.
This year may not present the most star-studded NHL draft class in recent memory, but with a legitimate argument to be made between the top two prospects for the first time in years, it’s sure to provide some added excitement when the New Jersey Devils take the podium in Chicago on June 23.
One thing is for sure at this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Nico Hischier won’t be waiting a long time to hear his name called by a big league team. The native of Naters, Switzerland is expected to be a top three selection and will best fifth overall, the highest draft record for a Swiss player, held by Nino Niederreiter (2010, Minnesota Wild).
Gabriel Vilardi checks off nearly every box of what a team would want from an NHL prospect. His 6-foot-2, 193-pound frame gives him a great foundation to work with when it comes to moulding an NHL body and then there’s all the tangibles he possesses that have made him an elite two-way forward with the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires.
Though he has a couple of seasons of junior eligibility remaining, the time has come for Cale Makar to move on. Makar, an 18-year-old defenceman, has spent the past two seasons starring with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits.
Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are soaking up the spotlight heading into the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, but with so much talent between the pipes up for grabs, this could end up being remembered as the year of the goaltender.
With no dominant player as a consensus No. 1 and a field which many consider weak on the back end, a Canadian defenceman headed to an NCAA Division 1 program this fall is rated as one of the top prospects in the final rankings of candidates released by the International Scouting Service (ISS).
While many young NHL prospects will hear their names called this weekend in Chicago for the NHL Draft, there will also be those players who will not hear their name called.
Robert Thomas has inched his way up the rankings all year and finds himself in the top 25 with just over a month to draft day. Moving 43 spots since December where he debuted at #64, the London Knights high-scoring forward has made the steady rise to now sit at #21.
Conor Timmins has been climbing ISS Hockey’s rankings all season and is making his debut on the Top 31, jumping from #47 to #28. The 2014 OHL fourth round pick has been showing steady improvement all season and came into his own in the postseason prior to the Soo’s second round exit
The only junior A entry on ISS’s Top 31 Prospects this month (and this season), Cale Makar has been killing it since he joined the Bandits last year, earning AJHL and CJHL Rookie of the Year honours and this year’s league MVP award.
The 2017 NHL Entry draft has no shortage of size but Nick Suzuki is the outlier. Measuring at just shy of 5-foot-11, the shifty centreman is the smallest centre on the ISS Hockey’s Top 31.
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