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NHL GMs are just as tired of the Oilers drafting 1st overall as you are

Taking luck out of the equation.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In the last six years, the Edmonton Oilers have held the first overall pick four times. St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong intends to fix the system that led to that outcome.

The NHL general managers are in Florida this week to discuss the state of the game and how to improve it. Armstrong reportedly intends to propose a change to the NHL draft lottery that removes luck from the equation.

Armstrong's system is simple: if a team jumps to the first overall pick in a year they didn't finish with the league's worst record, they are ineligible to do so again for five years. Armstrong explained further:

"As for the five years, I'd be moderately flexible on the number of years. But here's my point: just the theory that you can get lucky in winning the lottery once but that's it. If you earn the first overall pick by being the worst team in hockey, I think you should get that right. We set it up that way on purpose, especially in a lottery system where teams can move up. But I don't think we should be rewarded based on luck more than once every five years."

The issue of "luck versus deserving" has come up over the last two seasons. The Buffalo Sabres finished with the league's worst record in 2014 and 2015, and still watched the Florida Panthers pick Aaron Ekblad and the Oilers pick Connor McDavid first overall due to the lottery system.

Edmonton has drafted Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and McDavid first overall since 2010. And yet that hasn't kept them from being a wholly uncompetitive team. No wonder GMs are fearing that the system is leading to a talent drain. If the same team keeps drafting the best player year after year but never gets better, does the league as a whole suffer?

Lo and behold, the Oilers are primed to win first overall again in 2016 with the league's second-worst record. If Armstrong gets his way this week, that won't be the case.

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