TORONTO — NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly defended the current draft lottery which awarded the first overall pick and presumably highly coveted prospect Alexis Lafreniere to the New York Rangers, the 24-team format of the NHL Return to Play and bristled at the notion the round-robin games were meaningless.
The Deputy Commissioner spoke with National Hockey Now, which includes PHN, reporter Rob Simpson for a wide-ranging, opinionated, and at times friendly but stirring debate.
“I hope we never have to see it again, but it served its purpose,” Daly said of the two-tiered draft lottery which could have awarded the top overall pick one of several teams which would have otherwise qualified for the NHL playoffs based on regular-season performance.
According to Daly, the NHL created the two-phase lottery to engage the seven worst teams and their fanbases, but the league also felt it needed something for the teams which were thrust into the Qualifying Round without making it to the NHL playoffs.
One thing Pittsburgh Hockey Now, Simpson and Daly firmly agree upon was the extraordinary job which the NHL event staff did to create the “bubble hockey” for both the Toronto and Edmonton hubs, in a short period of time.
“My heroes,” Daly said in earnest of the team leaders.
You’ll also notice the photos of dignitaries, U.S. Presidents, and Canadian Prime Ministers on the wall behind Daly. Simpson delivered the goods in the extensive chat with is a must-watch for hockey fans.
Simpson is National Hockey Now reporter in the Toronto Hub, and worked with PHN on Penguins coverage in the Qualifying Round series, and is covering the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders in the NHL Return for the National Hockey Now family.