NHL Entry Draft

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The 2008 NHL Entry Draft was held in Ottawa instead

The NHL Entry Draft , until 1978 NHL Amateur Draft , is an event of the NHL ice hockey league, at which the teams of the league can acquire rights to available amateur and youth players ( English to draft = convene).


The first NHL Amateur Draft took place on June 5, 1963 in Montreal at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. All amateur players who were 17 years of age and older and did not yet have a contract with a professional team could be signed.

In 1969 there was a rule change so that every amateur player under the age of 20 could be signed.

In 1979 the "Amateur Draft" was renamed "Entry Draft" so that players who had already played for a professional team outside of the NHL could be signed. This step made it easier for players to join the recently disbanded WHA .

From 1980, only 18 to 20-year-old North American players could be committed. For Europeans, the upper age limit remained open.

In the same year the Entry Draft also became a public event. Previously, Entry Drafts were held behind closed doors in hotels or the NHL office in Montreal. The 1980 NHL Entry Draft took place at the Montreal Forum and attracted 2,500 fans.

In 1985, the Entry Draft took place for the first time outside of Montreal, namely in Toronto . Canadian television began broadcasting the event back in 1984 ; In 1989, the USA followed suit .

From 1986 to 1994, in addition to the Entry Draft, the NHL Supplemental Draft was also carried out, in which college players could be drawn who were not eligible for the Entry Draft.

The draft

The NHL consists of 31 teams. In each round of the draft, each team has a so-called draft pick . This means that you can secure the rights to one player per round. However, the teams can hand over their draft picks to other teams in transfer transactions and also acquire draft picks from other teams, so that one transfer can have no or several draft picks in one round.

The order in the draft basically corresponds to the reversed final table of a season. So the worst team has the first choice in the draft and the best the last. The draft lottery was introduced to prevent teams from deliberately losing and thereby achieving a worse placement because they no longer have a chance of the play-offs .

The draft lottery

The draft lottery takes place shortly after the regular season. In the draft lottery are the 14 teams that missed the play-offs. The worst team before the lottery is ranked 1 and the best team is ranked 14th in the draft order. As of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the winner of the lottery will automatically receive the “first overall” draft pick, meaning that they can be the first team to choose.

This is a weighted lottery so that the worst team of the season has the best chance of getting the first draft pick. There are 14 balls in a drum, numbered from 1 to 14. Four balls are drawn, which then result in a number combination (e.g. 2-12-10-7), whereby the order of the numbers does not matter. There are 1001 different combinations of numbers, but the combination 11-12-13-14 is not counted, so there are 1000 possible winning combinations. The combinations are distributed among the teams. The team ranked first has the most with 250 combinations:

  1. 250 combinations (25% chance to win the lottery)
  2. 188 combinations (18.8%)
  3. 142 combinations (14.2%)
  4. 107 combinations (10.7%)
  5. 081 combinations (8.1%)
  6. 062 combinations (6.2%)
  7. 047 combinations (4.7%)
  8. 036 combinations (3.6%)
  9. 027 combinations (2.7%)
  10. 021 combinations (2.1%)
  11. 015 combinations (1.5%)
  12. 011 combinations (1.1%)
  13. 008 combinations (0.8%)
  14. 005 combinations (0.5%)

The team that has the correct combination of numbers is now promoted to first place.

Until the 2012 NHL Entry Draft , the rule was that the team that wins the lottery can only improve by up to four places in the draft order. So only the first five teams had the chance to get the first draft pick. With the 2012/13 season this regulation was finally abolished.

In 2005, when the entire NHL season was canceled due to the lockout , all 30 teams were in a modified lottery. See NHL Entry Draft 2005 .

Draft order

Thus the draft order of the 14 prematurely eliminated teams is determined. The remainder of the draft order until 2006 also consisted almost exclusively of the placements in the regular season. The play-off result only affected the team that won the Stanley Cup , as they were placed in 30th position. Since the NHL Entry Draft in 2007 , the draft positions of the teams that qualify for the play-offs have been based somewhat more on the success of the teams in the final round. The Stanley Cup finalist is in 29th position, the losing teams in the Conference Finals follow before:

position Season success
01st to 14th Not qualified for the play-offs
15th to 26th Play-off participants eliminated in the first two rounds
27. and 28. Conference Finals finalists
29 Stanley Cup finalist
30th Stanley Cup winner

The placements in the regular season are decisive for the draft order. In places 15 to 26, the “normal” play-off participants come first, then the division winners. The worst team receives the best draft position. This rule also decides between places 27 and 28.

The order is the same in each round, but draft picks are often transferred to other teams in swap deals before the draft. The team that receives a draft pick from another team has an additional option to select a player. It may well be that a team can choose a player twice and more often in a round because they have acquired draft picks in transfers.

Regulation until 2006

By 2006, the Stanley Cup winner was placed 30th in the order. In front of him stood the division winners of the regular season. The remaining play-off participants started from 15th place downwards.

position Season success
01st to 14th Not qualified for the play-offs
15. to 24./25. Play-off participants
25./26. until 29. Play-off participants and division winners
30th Stanley Cup winner


About two months before the draft, the NHL publishes rankings of the players who are available for election. There are four rankings in total: Outfield North America, Outfield Europe, Goalkeeper North America, and Goalkeeper Europe. The rankings make it easier for the teams to choose from more than 250 players and show who are the greatest talents from the NHL's perspective.

The so-called "combine" takes place three to four weeks before the draft. This is an event that brings together the world's most valued draftsmen and women to present themselves to the NHL teams. Those responsible for the teams have the opportunity to talk to the talents to find out whether the player is a good fit for the team. In addition, players must undergo medical examinations and fitness tests.

The decision

The Entry Draft takes place a few days after the Stanley Cup Final. The main responsible persons of all teams, the greatest talents and many fans come together. Draft parties are held all over North America.

After the NHL commissioner has given an opening speech, the draft begins. In turn, the general manager of each team or another representative of the team goes on stage and announces the choice of the team. The selected player is asked to go on stage, pulls on his new team's jersey, and photos are taken.

After the draft

If a player has been signed by a team, he belongs to the team's "system". But that's not a guarantee that he will ever play in the NHL. Many young players often stay with their original team for a year or more to develop, or continue to college to graduate.

Usually the most hopeful signed players are invited by their team to the training camp about a month before the start of the NHL season, where it is decided whether they will join the NHL roster, be slowly introduced to the NHL on a farm team , or whether they will be returned to their original team because they haven't got the class to play in North America.

The contracted player may not play for any other NHL team as long as the team that selected him owns the rights to him. If a team loses the rights to a player because they have not signed him within three years, the team receives compensation in the form of a draft pick.



Taro Tsujimoto
With Taro Tsujimoto, the star striker of the Tokyo Katanas from the Japanese ice hockey league, the first Japanese in the history of the ice hockey draft was selected by the Buffalo Sabers in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft . But just a few weeks later, it turned out that the player and the team didn't even exist. General Manager Punch Imlach had taken the liberty of joking that he didn't think much of the draft system. He'd simply picked a name from Buffalo 's phone book and selected the fictional player in the 13th round of the Entry Draft. The team name Tokyo Katanas translates into English as Tokyo Sabers. However, by the time the joke was cleared up, the NHL had already made the election of Taro Tsujimoto official and it had been reported in the media, including the respected The Hockey News . Tsujimoto therefore appeared in several official NHL record books that were published shortly after the draft. Only then did the NHL declare Tsujimoto's election to be an invalid draft pick.

Tops and flops

Often players are signed in the first round, and you can already see the new Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky in them . And the NHL scouts also rate these players as great talents. But in the end they turn out to be big disappointments for the team, such as B .:

  • 1994 Jason Bonsignore (1st round, 4th position) - Completed 79 NHL games, could not prevail
  • 1996 Alexander Wolchkov (1st round, 4th position) - only played three games in the NHL, returned to Russia
  • 1997 Matt Zultek (1st round, 15th position) - The Kings let the rights to him forfeit and he was drafted again two years later at position 56. He did not make the jump into the NHL and spent most of his career in the ECHL .
  • 1999 Pavel Brendl (1st round, 4th position) - In four seasons he only played 78 games and achieved only 22 points
  • 2000 Brent Krahn (1st round, 9th position) - Was used in a single NHL game and spent most of his career in the AHL
  • 2002 Petr Tatícek (1st round, 9th position) - Only played three games in the NHL and later moved back to Europe

But there are also often young players who are absolutely underestimated and are therefore only elected in one of the last rounds of the draft or do not even get into the draft. B .:

Result of the draft lottery since 1995

year Worst team Lottery winner First draft pick
1995 a Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings Ottawa Senators
1996 Ottawa Senators Ottawa Senators Ottawa Senators
1997 Boston Bruins Boston Bruins Boston Bruins
1998 Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa Bay Lightning
1999 b Tampa Bay Lightning Chicago Blackhawks Atlanta Thrashers
2000 Atlanta Thrashers New York Islanders New York Islanders
2001 New York Islanders Atlanta Thrashers Atlanta Thrashers
2002 c Atlanta Thrashers Florida panthers Columbus Blue Jackets
2003 c Carolina Hurricanes Florida panthers Pittsburgh Penguins
2004 Pittsburgh Penguins Washington Capitals Washington Capitals
2005 d - Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh Penguins
2006 St. Louis Blues St. Louis Blues St. Louis Blues
2007 Philadelphia Flyers Chicago Blackhawks Chicago Blackhawks
2008 Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa Bay Lightning
2009 New York Islanders New York Islanders New York Islanders
2010 Edmonton Oilers Edmonton Oilers Edmonton Oilers
2011 e Edmonton Oilers New Jersey Devils Edmonton Oilers
2012 Columbus Blue Jackets Edmonton Oilers Edmonton Oilers
2013 Florida panthers Colorado Avalanche Colorado Avalanche
2014 Buffalo Sabers Florida panthers Florida panthers
2015 Buffalo Sabers Edmonton Oilers Edmonton Oilers
2016 Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto Maple Leafs
2017 Colorado Avalanche New Jersey Devils New Jersey Devils
2018 Buffalo Sabers Buffalo Sabers Buffalo Sabers
2019 Ottawa Senators New Jersey Devils New Jersey Devils
a In 1995, lottery winner Los Angeles went from 7th to 3rd place
b In 1999 Atlanta was ranked # 1 as they were about to start their first NHL season, Chicago went from 8th to 4th as the lottery winner
c In 2002 and 2003 Florida transferred their first-round draft picks to Columbus (2002) and Pittsburgh (2003)
dIn 2005 all 30 teams were in the lottery as the 2004/05 season was canceled due to the lockout
e In 2011, lottery winners New Jersey went from 8th to 4th


Origin of the selected players

The table shows which leagues the players selected since 1969 come from. The Western Hockey League , the Québec Major Junior Hockey League , the Ontario Hockey League , US Colleges ( NCAA ), US High Schools (USHS) and international players are listed. Under "Others" you will find the players who were seeded from another North American league that has existed since 1969. Non-North American players who were playing on a North American team at the time of drafting will be assigned to that league and will not be considered international players.

Status: NHL Entry Draft 2011
total OHL WHL QMJHL NCAA USHS Intern. Other
9756 2072 1795 1019 1109 792 1937 1032

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Entry Draft Historical Draft Summary