Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman revealed in his 32 Thoughts column that NHL teams had officially voted to 'decentralize' the NHL Draft, with the new format expected to take effect starting with the 2025 NHL Draft.
The 32 NHL teams cast their votes Tuesday, Oct. 24, and the results showed that 30 of the 32 teams voted in favor of the change. Previously, we found that one of the more potent factors in this change was the timing of the NHL Draft. Free agency typically opens on July 1, and the draft has been held only days before. That makes for a very intense, crammed week that doesn't lend itself to the necessary strategic planning required to get those days right.
Some had also expressed concern about the current/previous format, because with the tables arranged so closely together, teams felt passersby could eavesdrop on them and get an ear for what their goals and ideas might be.
Is the new NHL Draft format a good thing for fans?
Once the new NHL Draft format is put into place, it will be conducted in a manner similar to that of the NBA Draft and the NFL Draft. Teams will send in their picks via war rooms, and the prospects will attend the physical draft alongside NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Bettman will then announce the selection, and that's more or less all there is to it.
Lastly, Friedman hints at the 2024 NHL Draft being held at The Sphere in Las Vegas, NV. This location has long been speculated as the home of the 2024 NHL Draft, and it would appear that this is starting to gain more momentum, especially given that the Vegas Golden Knights just won the Stanley Cup. This would give the NHL one last chance to flex a successful expansion team before they move on to the new format in 2025.