NHL Entry Draft
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 enter 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. Up to 1994, the order was solely determined by the standings at the end of the regular season. In 1995, the NHL Draft Lottery was introduced where only teams who had missed the playoffs could participate. The one lottery winner would move up the draft order a maximum of four places, meaning only the top five-placed teams could potentially pick first in the draft, and no team in the non-playoff group could move down more than one place. The chances of winning the lottery were weighted towards the teams at the bottom of the regular season standings. Beginning in 2013, the limit of moving up a maximum of four places in the draft order was eliminated, so the lottery winner would automatically receive the first overall pick, and any teams above it in the draft order would still move down one spot.
The first NHL Entry Draft (at that time known as the "NHL Amateur Draft") was held on June 5, 1963 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Quebec. Any amateur player under the age of 20 was eligible to be drafted. In 1979, the rules were changed allowing players who had previously played professionally to be drafted. This rule change was made to facilitate the absorption of players from the defunct World Hockey Association. Consequently, the name of the draft was changed from "NHL Amateur Draft" to "NHL Entry Draft". Beginning in 1980, any player who is between the ages of 18 and 20 is eligible to be drafted. In addition, any non-North American player over the age of 20 can be selected. From 1987 through 1991, 18 and 19-year-old players could only be drafted in the first three rounds unless they met another criterion of experience which required them to have played in major junior, U.S. college and high school, or European hockey.
In 1980, the Entry Draft became a public event, and was held at the Montreal Forum. Prior to that year the Entry Draft was conducted in Montreal hotels or league offices and was closed to the general public. The first draft outside of Montreal was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, in 1985. Live television coverage of the draft began in 1984 when the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation covered the event in both English and French for Canadian audiences. The 1987 Entry Draft, held at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, was the first NHL Draft to be held in the United States. SportsChannel America began covering the event in the United States in 1989.
Prior to the development of the Draft, NHL teams sponsored junior teams, and signed prospects in their teens to the junior teams. Players were signed to one of three forms: the "A" form, which committed a player to a tryout; a "B" form, which gave the team an option to sign a player in return for a bonus; and the "C" form, which committed a player's professional rights. The "C" form could only be signed by the player at age eighteen or by the player's parents, often in exchange for some signing bonus. The first drafts (up until the 1968 Amateur Draft) were held to assign players who had not signed with an NHL organization before the sponsorship of junior teams was discontinued after 1968.
Selection order and draft lottery
The selection order in the Entry Draft is determined by a combination of lottery, regular season standing, and playoff results. However, teams are permitted to trade draft picks. In all cases, the team considered is the original holder of the draft pick, not a team which may have acquired the pick via a trade or other means.
At the conclusion of the regular season, the 14 NHL teams not qualifying for the playoffs are entered in a weighted lottery to determine the initial draft picks in the first round, seeded according to regular season standing. The 30th-place team has the best chance of winning the lottery (20%) while the 29th-place team has an 13.5% chance of winning, with odds diminishing to a 1% chance for the 17th-place team. A single selection from the lottery pool is made, with the winning team improving its draft position to the number 1 spot, and no team dropping more than one place.
The remaining order is determined by the Stanley Cup playoff results. Whichever team wins the Stanley Cup is awarded the 30th and last pick, while the runner-up is given the 29th pick. The teams eliminated in the conference finals are awarded the 28th and 27th picks, with the 28th pick going to the team with the better regular season record. Remaining division winners are then sorted by points, then the rest of the field are ranked next, filling in the 26th through 15th picks. In both cases, better records result in later picks.
When teams lose their rights to a first round draft choice, because that player was not signed to a contract and consequently re-entered the entry draft or became an unrestricted free agent, they are awarded a compensatory draft pick. This selection will be the same numerical choice as the first round draft pick who was not signed, but in the second round. For example, if a team cannot sign the seventh overall first round draft choice, it will receive the seventh pick in the second round of the next draft as compensation.
All players who will be 18 years old on or before September 15 and not older than 20 years old before December 31 of the draft year are eligible for selection for that year's NHL Entry Draft. In addition, non-North American players over the age of 20 are eligible.
List of NHL Entry Drafts
|Draft||Location||City||Date||Total drafted||#1 pick|
|1963||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||June 5, 1963||21||Monahan, GarryGarry Monahan (Montreal Canadiens)|
|1964||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||June 11, 1964||24||Gauthier, ClaudeClaude Gauthier (Detroit Red Wings)|
|1965||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||April 27, 1965||11||Veilleux, AndreAndre Veilleux (New York Rangers)|
|1966||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||April 25, 1966||24||Gibbs, BarryBarry Gibbs (Boston Bruins)|
|1967||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||July 7, 1967||18||Pagnutti, RickRick Pagnutti (Los Angeles Kings)|
|1968||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||June 13, 1968||24||Plasse, MichelMichel Plasse (Montreal Canadiens)|
|1969||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||June 11, 1969||84||Houle, RejeanRejean Houle (Montreal Canadiens)|
|1970||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||June 11, 1970||115||Perreault, GilbertGilbert Perreault (Buffalo Sabres)|
|1971||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||June 10, 1971||117||Lafleur, GuyGuy Lafleur (Montreal Canadiens)|
|1972||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||June 8, 1972||152||Harris, BillyBilly Harris (New York Islanders)|
|1973||Mount Royal Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||May 15, 1973||168||Potvin, DenisDenis Potvin (New York Islanders)|
|1974||NHL Montreal Office||Montreal, Quebec||May 28, 1974||247||Joly, GregGreg Joly (Washington Capitals)|
|1975||NHL Montreal Office||Montreal, Quebec||June 3, 1975||217||Bridgman, MelMel Bridgman (Philadelphia Flyers)|
|1976||NHL Montreal Office||Montreal, Quebec||June 1, 1976||135||Green, RickRick Green (Washington Capitals)|
|1977||NHL Montreal Office||Montreal, Quebec||June 14, 1977||185||McCourt, DaleDale McCourt (Detroit Red Wings)|
|1978||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||June 15, 1978||234||Smith, BobbyBobby Smith (Minnesota North Stars)|
|1979||Queen Elizabeth Hotel||Montreal, Quebec||August 9, 1979||126||Ramage, RobRob Ramage (Colorado Rockies)|
|1980||Montreal Forum||Montreal, Quebec||June 11, 1980||210||Wickenheiser, DougDoug Wickenheiser (Montreal Canadiens)|
|1981||Montreal Forum||Montreal, Quebec||June 10, 1981||211||Hawerchuk, DaleDale Hawerchuk (Winnipeg Jets)|
|1982||Montreal Forum||Montreal, Quebec||June 9, 1982||252||Kluzak, GordGord Kluzak (Boston Bruins)|
|1983||Montreal Forum||Montreal, Quebec||June 8, 1983||242||Lawton, BrianBrian Lawton (Minnesota North Stars)|
|1984||Montreal Forum||Montreal, Quebec||June 9, 1984||250||Lemieux, MarioMario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins)|
|1985||Toronto Convention Centre||Toronto, Ontario||June 15, 1985||252||Clark, WendelWendel Clark (Toronto Maple Leafs)|
|1986||Montreal Forum||Montreal, Quebec||June 21, 1986||252||Murphy, JoeJoe Murphy (Detroit Red Wings)|
|1987||Joe Louis Arena||Detroit, Michigan||June 13, 1987||252||Turgeon, PierrePierre Turgeon (Buffalo Sabres)|
|1988||Montreal Forum||Montreal, Quebec||June 11, 1988||252||Modano, MikeMike Modano (Minnesota North Stars)|
|1989||Met Center||Bloomington, Minnesota||June 17, 1989||252||Sundin, MatsMats Sundin (Quebec Nordiques)|
|1990||BC Place||Vancouver, British Columbia||June 16, 1990||250||Nolan, OwenOwen Nolan (Quebec Nordiques)|
|1991||Buffalo Memorial Auditorium||Buffalo, New York||June 22, 1991||264||Lindros, EricEric Lindros (Quebec Nordiques)|
|1992||Montreal Forum||Montreal, Quebec||June 20, 1992||264||Hamrlik, RomanRoman Hamrlik (Tampa Bay Lightning)|
|1993||Colisee de Quebec||Quebec City, Quebec||June 26, 1993 and June 27, 1993||286||Daigle, AlexandreAlexandre Daigle (Ottawa Senators)|
|1994||Hartford Civic Center||Hartford, Connecticut||June 28, 1994||286||Jovanovski, EdEd Jovanovski (Florida Panthers)|
|1995||Edmonton Coliseum||Edmonton, Alberta||June 28, 1995||234||Berard, BryanBryan Berard (Ottawa Senators)|
|1996||Kiel Center||St. Louis, Missouri||June 22, 1996||241||Phillips, ChrisChris Phillips (Ottawa Senators)|
|1997||Civic Arena||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||June 21, 1997||246||Thornton, JoeJoe Thornton (Boston Bruins)|
|1998||Marine Midland Arena||Buffalo, New York||June 27, 1998||258||Lecavalier, VincentVincent Lecavalier (Tampa Bay Lightning)|
|1999||FleetCenter||Boston, Massachusetts||June 26, 1999||272||Stefan, PatrikPatrik Stefan (Atlanta Thrashers)|
|2000||Canadian Airlines Saddledome||Calgary, Alberta||June 24, 2000 and June 25, 2000||293||DiPietro, RickRick DiPietro (New York Islanders)|
|2001||National Car Rental Center||Sunrise, Florida||June 23, 2001 and June 24, 2001||289||Kovalchuk, IlyaIlya Kovalchuk (Atlanta Thrashers)|
|2002||Air Canada Centre||Toronto, Ontario||June 22, 2002 and June 23, 2002||290||Nash, RickRick Nash (Columbus Blue Jackets)|
|2003||Gaylord Entertainment Center||Nashville, Tennessee||June 21, 2003 and June 22, 2003||292||Fleury, Marc-AndreMarc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins)|
|2004||RBC Center||Raleigh, North Carolina||June 26, 2004 and June 27, 2004||291||Ovechkin, AlexanderAlexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)|
|2005||Westin Hotel Ottawa||Ottawa, Ontario||July 30, 2005||230||Crosby, SidneySidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)|
|2006||General Motors Place||Vancouver, British Columbia||June 24, 2006||213||Johnson, ErikErik Johnson (St. Louis Blues)|
|2007||Nationwide Arena||Columbus, Ohio||June 22, 2007 and June 23, 2007||211||Kane, PatrickPatrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)|
|2008||Scotiabank Place||Ottawa, Ontario||June 20, 2008 and June 21, 2008||211||Stamkos, StevenSteven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning)|
|2009||Bell Centre||Montreal, Quebec||June 26, 2009 and June 27, 2009||211||Tavares, JohnJohn Tavares (New York Islanders)|
|2010||Staples Center||Los Angeles, California||June 25, 2010 and June 26, 2010||210||Hall, TaylorTaylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers)|
|2011||Xcel Energy Center||St. Paul, Minnesota||June 24, 2011 and June 25, 2011||211||Nugent-Hopkins, RyanRyan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton Oilers)|
|2012||Consol Energy Center||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||June 22, 2012 and June 23, 2012||211||Yakupov, NailNail Yakupov (Edmonton Oilers)|
|2013||Prudential Center||Newark, New Jersey||June 28, 2013 and June 29, 2013
Revised to June 30, 2013
|211||Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)|
|2014||Wells Fargo Center||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||June 27, 2014 and June 28, 2014||210||Aaron Ekblad (Florida Panthers)|
|2015||BB&T Center||Sunrise, Florida||June 26, 2015 and June 27, 2015||211||TBA|
|2016||First Niagara Center||Buffalo, New York||June 24, 2016 and June 25, 2016||TBA||TBA|
- "NHL Draft – Historical Top Draft Picks". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- "NHL Draft Historic Locations". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- "NHL Draft History". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "NHL Draft History". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Kimelman, Adam (2009-06-10). "Picking top 3 all-time draft classes easy as 1 2 3". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Kreiser, John (2009-06-25). "Drafting by the Numbers". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Brunt, Stephen (2006). Searching for Bobby Orr. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-676-97651-9.
- "Islanders have best shot at top pick". National Hockey League. 2009-04-14. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Kimelman, Adam (2009-06-13). "Final order for Entry Draft set". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "Islanders win NHL draft lottery". National Hockey League. 2009-04-14. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- National Hockey League Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 8: Entry Draft
- "Entry Draft Eligibility". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
- KHL Junior Draft
- List of NHL first overall draft choices
- List of NHL players
- List of undrafted NHL players
- Taro Tsujimoto
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