Suppose they ditched the lottery 1, 2, 3 system (which is even more erratic than the previous system), why wouldn't they just take the fourteen teams that missed the playoffs and lottery the whole list, replacing them all randomly?
"Chaos" says one GM, "Disaster" says another.
Do you know why? Because the first overall pick is worth six times as much as the fourteenth overall pick. And no, I'm not kidding or exaggerating. First overall pick has about 60% chance to reach all star status in NHL while at 14th overall, about one in ten players drafted there will reach all star status. Team A equally misses the playoffs as team B, but team A is punished for trying.
The reason they'd be complaining is because the team that finished last and ends up drafting 8th will be upset. They'd have every right to be upset; they know the truth! And it convicts the system.
Points are an arbitrary way of saying who should go where, given that 1st overall is six times better than 14th overall. That's right, if you miss the playoffs 6 years straight but just outside of it, you're "as likely" to get an all star as the guy who missed the playoffs ONE year and tanked to last place.
The talent discrepancy means there's something fundamentally wrong with the system. Otherwise, they would just redistribute the fourteen teams. Dead last is as equally out of the playoffs as the 93 point 500 team. If you don't know about what it is to be "stuck in the margins", see the following teams in the last ten years: Toronto, Florida, NY Islanders, Atlanta/Winnipeg, Calgary, Columbus, NJ Devils, and Dallas... all teams that were try-harding but kept failing nearly every year because they never got the talent... that is... until they got that first overall (Florida, NY Islanders) that magically changed the fortune of their franchise!
To make an analogy of how illogical this system is, it's like saying that a handful of starving men get no food, but the guy starving 10% more than the other guys deserves a coupon that feeds him for half a year, while three people who starved slightly less the last 24 hours get coupons that feed them for three months, and the remaining lot get coupons that feed them for three weeks.
First step: acknowledge the problem.
Talent distribution in the NHL is completely uneven. Why even suggest solutions to it if the NHL doesn't acknowledge it as being highly faulty?
edit: My goodness, McKenzie just tweeted that they've met with the consideration of a 19 year old draft! Progress!
edit 2: I've written several solutions over the years:
1. change the draft age to 20 so homogenize the value of the top round players in the draft (you wouldn't even need 7 rounds after that).
2. Weighted lottery system depending not only on how well the team did that particular year, but in the years leading up to that year as well (teams who missed more consecutive playoffs would get better players, plain and simple...).
3. Amend lottery rules so that you can't pick at the same place you did in the last five years (if you picked 3rd overall in the last 5 years, you'd either move up or down based on a different priority system in place).