NHL Ditches Draft-Pick Compensation For Hiring Coaches, Executives

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — The NHL eliminated its policy Tuesday that allowed teams to seek compensation when other franchises hired away a coach or executive under contract.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told the Board of Governors that as of Jan. 1, the league will revert to its old policy that gave teams the right to grant or deny permission to other franchises to talk to coaches and executives under contract. But if a coach or executive does switch teams, no compensation will be allowed.

“I think on balance, it just wasn’t worth the debate, the confusion, the uncertainty that flowed from it,” Bettman said. “Frankly, I thought the old policy worked very well. … One of the caveats that I put into place when I agreed to implement the revised policy a year ago was if there are any problems with this, we will scrap it and go back to what we had. That ultimately happened.”

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly gave a report on the history of the policy and how it worked for 10 years and what happened this past year with the change. Bettman then asked the governors if there were any questions or comments and then said he was changing the policy back.

“I think people, having heard the presentation and seen the experience over the last year, decided that what we had that worked well for 10 years roughly was probably the best way to go,” Bettman said.

The league had a one-year trial run that allowed either a second- or third-round pick to be given as compensation for coaches and executives under contract even if they had been fired.

There were seven cases where draft picks were given away, including the Toronto Maple Leafs giving up third-round picks to sign coach Mike Babcock from the Detroit Red Wings and general manager Lou Lamoriello from the New Jersey Devils.

“It’s unfortunate for us the year they tried it out was a year in which we were seeking, but I can’t complain and look back,” Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said. “If we had to go out and do it all over again, we would still go out and do it if we were acquiring somebody like Mike and Lou. At the end of the day, there are certain things you can control and certain things you can’t, so I support their decision today.”

Thumbnail photo via Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock

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