Tanking is a hot topic among sports circles and definitely an interesting one to discuss.
The fact is what the Sabres, Coyotes, Oilers and Leafs did at the deadline is what happens every year at the deadline. UFA’s are dealt as rentals to teams making a playoff push. Those players are thought as monthly rentals to see if they can push the team over the top to make a cup run. By no means is this a new strategy. It doesn’t just happen in hockey either. MLB and NBA have teams retool their roster by shipping away players to acquire picks and young prospects with hopes to have the young prospects hit their prime at the same time.
Deadline fire-sales are a part of all of the major sports, excluding the NFL, which makes the deadline day one of the most exciting days of the league year. Constantly searching the web for new rumors about your favorite team. Will they make a trade for that forward? Are they going to trade that defenseman away? The uncertainty of the deadline is why its such a rush, and such a favorite day.
The Anti tank crowd have one common argument. The problem people have with tanking, which is understandable, is that intentionally losing is disgraceful to the sport. The goal of all franchises is to win their respective sports championship. The idea of fielding a team that will finish last is the complete opposite of this goal and should fast track you to be looking for new work elsewhere.
Tanking isn’t going anywhere, and will continue for years to come. The argument against tanking has more support, because of the attention being brought to tanking itself and the number of teams tanking this year specifically for McEichel.
There really isn’t a guaranteed way to stop tanking, and stop teams from attempting to finish last to improve their chances at top draft picks. Redoing the draft order to negatively affect the team in last place is downright laughable. Telling the last place team, you have to select in the middle of the pack instead of first, is not a fix. Teams will not be able to rebuild their prospect pool, and have to rely on bringing in free agents to fill holes.
The draft lottery for hockey is close, it just needs a little more tinkering to be perfect. These next few years will be interesting, as leagues experiment with different lottery systems to find a happy medium.