Gary Bettman on Connor Bedard Draft Lottery: ‘Nobody Tanks’

Commissioner Gary Bettman uttered words that had a lot of folks around the hockey world scratching their heads: “Nobody tanks”.

“Nobody tanks because we have a weighted lottery,” said Bettman. “You’re not going to lose games to increase your odds by a couple percentage points. That’s silly. And frankly, suggesting tanking, I believe, is inconsistent with the professionalism that our players and our coaches have.”

via Daily Faceoff
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Gary Bettman says NHL has no tanking issue

2021 nhl draft gary bettman
Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Ryan Johnson greets NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after being selected as the number thirty-one overall pick to the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the Montreal Canadiens hosting the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, Bettman met with the press where the question about tanking was brought up.

Let’s face it, several teams are really not dressing their best possible lineups in an effort to get the most lottery balls to draft phenom Connor Bedard.

Bedard, 17, currently has 81 points and counting in just 33 games for the WHL’s Regina Pats.

According to the commissioner, there’s no reason to do tank because even if you finish dead last, you only have a 25% of winning the lottery. While that’s true, here’s the odds for current teams winning the first overall selection per Tankathon:

  • Blue Jackets 25.5%
  • Ducks 13.5%
  • Blackhawks 11.5%
  • Coyotes 9.5%
  • Sharks 8.5%
  • Canucks 7.5%
  • Canadiens 6.5%
  • Senators 6%
  • Flyers 5%
  • Blues 3.5%
  • Canadiens (via Panthers) 3%

The separation between the top five teams is between 1 to 7 points. You can rest assured that by the time the trade deadline passes on March 3, those teams will jettison as many veterans as possible in order to improve their odds.

Whether you want to call that tanking or not is up to you.

One of Bettman’s harshest critics, agent Allan Walsh took to Twitter as soon as he heard the comments.

“Gary Bettman in a media availability just now made the ridiculous and wildly false statement there is no tanking in the NHL,” he wrote. “Trust me when I tell you, NHL teams would rather finish dead last than miss the playoffs by 2 points. Finishing in 17th place is a disaster.”

The NHL Draft Lottery was introduced in 1995 as a measure to prevent tanking.