Prospects News & Rumors: NHL Draft Lottery, Formenton, Sokolov & More

Today’s Prospects Rumors & News column is all over the board. First, it looks like the National Hockey League wants to make some rule changes to the Draft Lottery process. Also, a pair of Ottawa Senators prospects had a big night in the American Hockey League (AHL). Finally, one of the NCAA’s powerhouse programs locks down another talented commit.

NHL Proposes Draft Lottery Changes

According to Chris Johnson of Sportsnet, the NHL sent a memo to its teams on Monday mapping out some changes it wants to make to the Draft Lottery. The three changes proposed are:

  • No team can win the lottery more than twice during a five-year period.
  • Teams will only be allowed to jump up a maximum of 10 spots to win the lottery.
  • The number of picks determined by the lottery will be reduced from three down to two.

Any and all changes to the Draft Lottery have to be approved by the NHL’s Board of Governors before they can go into effect.

2020 NHL Draft Lottery
Changes are coming to the NHL Draft Lottery system. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/NHLI via Getty Images)

Johnston’s Sportsnet colleague Elliotte Friedman added that the first two changes are proposed for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, while the third change will start with this July’s draft.

Obviously, these changes are being proposed due to blowback from the 2020 Draft Lottery that saw the New York Rangers win the top overall pick despite finishing ahead of 13 other teams in the standings and qualifying for the playoffs. The Detroit Red Wings had, by far, the worst record in the league and were knocked down to the fourth-overall pick.

Alex Formenton & Egor Sokolov Score in Win

Things are not going great in Ottawa these days, but the future looks bright with a big crop of talented young players in the organization. Some of those players have been taking their lumps at the NHL level, while others are down in the AHL with the Belleville Senators.

Belleville beat the Laval Rocket 3-0 on Monday night behind an 18-save shutout by goaltender Filip Gustavsson. Alex Formenton scored the only goal the Senators needed early in the second period.

Formenton used his speed to easily get around a defender before using a quick snapshot to beat Montreal Canadiens’ goaltending prospect, Cayden Primeau, to the glove side.

Less than a minute later, Sokolov doubled up the score by picking off a pass in the neutral zone and then skating in and beating Primeau to the near post.

Formenton, the Senators’ second-round pick (47th overall) in 2017, now has three goals in eight games. He has played in 10 NHL games since being drafted, scoring just one goal. The 21-year-old left wing is coming off a career season in which he scored 27 goals and 53 points in 61 AHL games.

Ottawa took Sokolov in the second round (61st overall) of the most recent draft last October, and this is his first professional season. After a slow start with no points in his first three games, he now has three goals and two assists in his last five games. He is tied with Logan Shaw for the team lead in both goals and points. Before turning pro, he spent three seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), where he scored 97 goals and 191 points in 184 games for the Cape Brenton Screaming Eagles.

Brent Johnson Commits to North Dakota

According to Russ Bitely of, Johnson, a right-handed defenseman, has committed to the University of North Dakota. The 17-year-old will not arrive on campus until the 2022-23 season.

Johnson is currently enjoying a successful rookie campaign with the Sioux Falls Stampede in the United States Hockey League (USHL). In 36 games, he has 11 goals and 24 points to go along with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating. He currently sits sixth in scoring for USHL defensemen.

The current UND team is ranked second in the nation with an 18-5-1 record. One could joke that Johnson heading to Grand Forks, ND means he will one day be a Senators prospect too. The Fighting Hawks currently have four Ottawa draft picks on their roster in Jake Sanderson, Jacob Bernard-Docker, Shane Pinto and Tyler Kleven.

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