In case you were so inundated by the double OT victory from behind by the Ottawa Senators to take the 2-0 lead over the New York Rangers, or the 6-2 massacre by the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Washington Capitals, last night (or yesterday late afternoon here on the west coast), the 2017 Draft Lottery took place. For teams that are not knee-deep in the postseason, this is an exciting event that could potentially have huge implications for the team’s future. Take, for example, last year’s Toronto Maple Leafs who ended up drawing #1 and drafting the incredible Auston Matthews, or the Edmonton Oilers who ended up drawing #1 in 2015 and drafting the very Connor McDavid the Ducks have to worry about right now. While Matthews and McDavid are generational #1 draft picks, the NHL Entry Draft still plays a huge role for each team’s building process. Therefore, the NHL Draft Lottery is incredibly important and you can bet all teams were tuned in, even if you were not.
How the Lottery Works
This is only supposed to be a recap, so for those of you who do not know how the NHL Draft Lottery works, I’ll make it short and sweet. In 2013, the NHL opened up the lottery to allow every team not qualified for the post-season a chance to win the first overall pick. This year was particularly intriguing because we also have the expansion team, Vegas Golden Knights being thrown into the mix of ping pong balls. They were given the same odds as the NHL team in 28th place this season, which ended up being the Arizona Coyotes (10.321%). The Knights were also guaranteed a pick no lower than an overall 6th selection.
Basically, the rest is simple. Besides Gary Bettman, there are a representatives from the different teams eligible for the top picks present during the drawing. There is a machine that has 15 ping pong balls numbered 1-15. Per Nhl.com:
The odds for the remaining teams will increase proportionately after each draw. But after the third draw, the remaining 12 clubs that were not selected are assigned selections numbering 4 through 15, from worst to best points from the regular season.
Team Odds Going Into the Lottery
- Colorado Avalanche - 17.936%
- Vancouver Canucks - 12.124%
- Vegas Golden Knights - 10.321%
- Arizona Coyotes - 10.321%
- New Jersey Devils - 8.517%
- Buffalo Sabres - 7.615%
- Detroit Red Wings - 6.713%
- Dallas Stars - 5.812%
- Florida Panthers - 5.411%
- Los Angeles Kings - 4.509%
- Carolina Hurricanes - 3.106%
- Winnipeg Jets - 2.705%
- Philadelphia Flyers - 2.204%
- Tampa Bay Lightning - 1.804%
- New York Islanders - 0.902%
Obviously, even with the odds, a team with lower chances can still snag the #1 pick. And this year, despite Colorado having the highest odds (17.936%) of drawing first, the team dropped to 4th with #1 going to the New Jersey Devils, #2 going to the Philadelphia Flyers, and #3 going to the Dallas Stars.
The Results (with Pre-Lottery Odds)
1 New Jersey Devils - 8.517%
2 Philadelphia Flyers - 2.204%
3 Dallas Stars - 5.812%
4 Colorado Avalanche - 17.936%
5 Vancouver Canucks - 12.124%
6 Vegas Golden Knights - 10.321%
7 Arizona Coyotes - 10.321%
8 Buffalo Sabres - 7.615%
9 Detroit Red Wings - 6.713%
10 Florida Panthers - 5.411%
11 Los Angeles Kings - 4.509%
12 Carolina Hurricanes - 3.106%
13 Winnipeg Jets - 2.705%
14 Tampa Bay Lightning - 1.804%
15 New York Islanders - 0.902%
The Philadelphia Flyers jumped the most spots going from the pre-draft chances of #13 to #2. The Vancouver Canucks once again dropped, as they went from #2 down to #5. The Vegas Knights will be selecting 6th overall with Arizona Coyotes following suit for 7th.
Now that the picks are set in place, let the mock drafts begin rolling in. Contrary to the couple years in the recent past, the 2017 NHL Draft is deemed to be a bit weaker. There is no wide consensus on who should be drafted as the #1 overall pick.
Currently, the Anaheim Ducks will have the 29th pick of the first round.
The 2017 NHL Entry Draft will be taking place in June 23-24 in Chicago.