The NHL Draft Lottery will take place this evening at 6:30 CST .. You can watch on Sportsnet and/or CBC and/or NBC just before Game 2 of Penguins vs Capitals.
As exciting as these things are in a strange sort of way for all the non-playoff teams, it’s likely that Winnipeg Jets fans have had their fill of Draft Lotto excitement over the last six seasons and would love nothing more for this to be the last one the team is a part of for some time in the future.
How It Will Work:
Being a Jets fan, you should know this deal already – especially given what happened last year – but just in case you need a refresher, here are the Coles Notes: All 15 non-playoff teams are eligible to win one of the top three picks in the 2017 draft via a lottery ball system. Each team has a weighted chance of winning one of those picks based on how they finished in the past regular season, with teams that finished the lowest (Colorado, Vancouver & Arizona) having much better odds than teams that just barely missed the playoffs (Islanders, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia)
The added twist to this year’s lotto is the addition of the NHL’s 31st club, the (don’t mention Las) Vegas (you’ll likely also leave out the next word) Golden Knights. They’ve been given the same exact odds to win one of these as Arizona Coyotes. Vegas could win a top three slot, but they won’t pick any lower than sixth in the first round. Every round after that they will pick in the third slot.
The actual draw itself is a four number lottery system much like a Lotto 6/49 draw. 14 balls (numbered 1 to14 obviously) are put in a machine and then randomly selected. Each team is assigned a list of four number combinations – the combinations assigned are also randomly generated – and teams with the better odds obviously being given a higher number of combinations. The order in which the four numbers are drawn does not matter as each combination will be unique.
The first pick will be drawn first, second is second and third… You get the idea.
So There Isn’t One Draft Winner, But Three?
Last year, technically the Jets won the draft lottery, it was just the second drawing. In pretty much every way the Jets walked away from last year as the biggest winners going from a possible sixth overall pick to number two, but you can make the case Columbus also had to feel pretty fortunate as well as they got to move up a slot from the four position and won the third lotto.
The Edmonton Oilers (who should have by all rights picked second and thank God they didn’t) and Vancouver Canucks (third pick) ended up a bit on the losing end as they both were knocked down two spots thanks to two other teams ahead of them winning two of the three draws.
The draft lottery as it is established now – this being the second year that it’s running in it’s current format – isn’t exactly all that favorable to teams that don’t finish absolutely last in the league and it’s all in the name of discouraging teams from “tanking”
Can The Jets Win It Again?
Of course, but the odds against are even higher than they are were last year. In 2016 they had a 7.5% chance of winning the top overall spot and a 7.8% chance at the second pick.
This year, as you see above the odds have dropped significantly (thank you season ending six game win streak?) to just under 3% range.
It will take mere moments into the announcement of teams – starting with the 15th overall pick – to figure out what the Jets fate in the upcoming draft will be…
If they are announced at 13 (or worse, 14th, 15th or 16th), then either the Islanders, Flyers or Lightning have won one of the three draws and have knocked everyone else down a rung on the ladder.
If they are announced at 12 – which is the spot they would be at normally if none of this lotto stuff happened at all – then the Jets didn’t win, but they at least will not have lost any ground either.
If you see Carolina, Los Angeles or Florida’s place card come up at the 12 spot, then strap in for the next five minutes or so because that means the Jets have lucked their way into a top three spot for a second year in a row.
Not impossible, just highly unlikely. It’s nice to dream right?