It is obvious to all involved that someone is going to be unhappy with however the 2005 draft order is established. Whether you use last yearâ€™s standings, average the last 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 years, or give everyone an equal shot at drafting anywhere, someone is going to complain that it isnâ€™t fair. One of the suggestions Iâ€™ve seen is to simply give every team a 1 in 30 shot at picking 1st overall (or a 1 in 30 chance of drafting at any position in the first round). I guess my question in response would be â€œWhy have a draft at all in that case?â€ And as I thought about it, I wondered if thatâ€™s a valid question. The case for the draft as a talent equalizer might not be as valid in a hard cap world, and might still be addressed by how the league goes about assigning rookie contracts under a cap, etc. Anyways, hereâ€™s my suggestion for how the NHL can bring new players into the league in a capped world (assuming that happens), without an NHL Entry Draft system: (1) All 18 and 19 year old players signed by an NHL franchise will have their full NHL salaries count against that teamâ€™s salary cap (including signing and performance bonuses), whether they play in the NHL, the AHL (if deemed eligible in a new NHL/CHL agreement) or in junior. These deals need not be 2 way deals, but they can be if both parties agree. Additionally, any 18 or 19 year old player bought out will be bought out at 100% of their salary and potential bonuses, WHETHER those bonuses are hit or not. (2) There will be a 4.0 mil cap on 18 and 19 year old salaries per season (including any and all potential bonuses), with 18 year olds signing 2 year deals and 19 year olds signing 1 year deals. (3) Upon expiration of those initial contracts all 18 and 19 year old players will have their QO amount SET by the league, at an amount to be determined but something like 1.5 mil for the purposes of this exercise, regardless of their salary as an 18/19 year old. They will also be eligible for arbitration. (4) All NHL teams will be limited as to how many 18 and 19 year olds they are allowed to have on their reserve lists; no more than 3 at any one time, and no more than 2 can be signed in one "signing season" (5) A "signing season" will last 3 weeks, and end the day before unrestricted free agency begins. So it will span from something like June 10th to 30th. Teams that miss the playoffs will be eligible to sign players over that full 3 weeks, while those who make the playoffs will only be eligible to sign players over the last 2 weeks of the signing period. (6) Any player not signed as an 18 or 19 year old will not be eligible for NHL competition until they become a UFA. They would become a UFA on July 1st, in whatever is deemed to be their 20 year old season. For any player not signed as a 19 year old this will be 1 year after their last eligibility in the 18/19 year old signing season. These UFA's will be bound to some of today's rookie contract conventions, but not all of them. They will have to sign 3 year deals, limited to 2 mil per season (including all bonuses), but they will not have to be two way deals (though they certainly can be if both sides agree to it). Any thoughts?