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.
Gabriel Vilardi has established himself as a workhorse who is ultra-competitive in the offensive zone. He has deceptive speed and an easy long stride to stay ahead of the defenceman.
A real competitor who has many above average aspects and skills to his game, Owen Tippett’s most highly rated skill is his ability to shoot the puck. One of the hardest shooters in the draft with a lightning quick release, he doesn’t always the accuracy behind his shot.
Ultra-competitive Michael Rasmussen is a high intensity, skilled power forward who has shown flashes of a potential top 10 pick this season. He has a great combination of power and skill.
Cody Glass is a competitor and enjoyed a huge growth spurt since the end of last season which saw him grow two inches and put on nearly 25 pounds. It has showed as he is among the league leaders in the WHL.
Cale Makar has really started to turn heads with his offensive capability. Likes to skate the puck deep into the offensive zone and create offence. Possesses a real heavy, hard wrist and likes to shoot often from between the circles
Highly touted prospect Nico Hischier was one of the best at the recent Ivan Hlinka tournament. He is a very creative and effective centreman who has very good hockey sense and has the potential to be a deadly power play playmaker.
Nolan Patrick is ready to suit up in his third full season in Brandon after coming off a 102-point season in his sophomore campaign. Patrick’s elite hockey sense mixed with his goal scoring and skating ability make him a dynamic threat in the offensive zone.
It’s time for this year’s class to get ready for the spotlight. Players like Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier have spent most of their lives honing their hockey skills in pursuit of their dream of making it to the NHL. Now they’re closing in on that reality as we get closer to the 2017 NHL Draft.
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).
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