NHL Draft Lottery: What It Really Means

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When talking about the NHL draft lottery confusion is an understatement. Here we try to break down the lottery in the simplest way possible while also talking about the night’s biggest winners and losers.

The big question going into the draft lottery is who is going to get the number 1 pick. The lottery was established to prevent teams from tanking towards the end of a season in order to climb to a higher pick in the draft. But how does this technique really work?

In past NHL draft lotteries, the 14 worst NHL teams were all given the opportunity to win the number 1 pick. According to your regular season record you were assigned odds of winning the lottery, with the worst team having the best chance of taking home the top pick. The 2016 lottery rules were changed , making it possible to fight for top 3 spots in the draft creating more diversity and more drama.

In this years lottery, 3 picks will be made. The first lottery winner will receive the number one pick, second lottery winner receives the second pick, and the third lottery winner receives the third overall pick. The remaining 11 teams who do not win the lottery will be placed from least points to most point in the 2015-2016 season, receiving the 4th and 14th pick, respectively. This new format is different from past years as the worst team in the league is no longer guaranteed the second pick, even if they lose the lottery. Instead, this year, they can drop as low as 4th overall pick.  As for the remaining 16 teams that are participating in the playoffs, their order is determined by first being divided into groups. The first group contains all the playoff teams that did not win their division, ordered based on points earned during the season, with the least points obtained drafting at number 15. Next, the division winners from the regular season are also ordered according to points earned. No matter the circumstance, the team who was able to endure 4 rounds of intense playoff hockey, the Stanley Cup champion, will always draft dead last.

This years odds and results are as followed.

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The Toronto Maple leafs have won the lottery and will be picking 1st overall at the upcoming draft June 24-25 in Buffalo, NY. The Winnipeg Jets won the 2nd lottery pick, with only a 7.50% percent chance leap frogging the Flames, Blue Jackets, Canucks, and Oilers. The Columbus Blue Jackets won the 3rd lottery pick, upgrading from their points based 4th pick.

The big winners? The Toronto Maple leafs, who were able to retain their number 1 pick, and the Winnipeg Jets who were able to jump from 6th overall to 2nd overall.

Toronto winning the lottery has huge implications for the organization. With current President Brendan Shanahan and General Manager Lou Lamoriello, the Leafs look to be in good hands moving forward. The overhaul began during this years trade deadline, where they managed to dump dead weight in Dion Phenauf, Shawn Matthias, Roman Polak, Nick Spaling, James Reimer, Jeremy Morin, and Daniel Winnik. This allowed the Leafs to utilize their last three 1st round picks, including William Nylander (2014), Frederick Gauthier (2013), and Morgan Rielly (2012). These young talents were able to gain experience in the NHL, during a meaningless season for the Leafs, to better equipped them for the upcoming NHL season.

With the 1st pick in the NHL draft the Toronto Maple Leaf will most likely select the 18-year-old Auston Matthews, an American born, 6 foot 2 inch, left-handed Center. In this years World Junior Classic, Matthews was an assistant captain for the USA U20 team and recorded 7 goals in 7 games with 4 assists. With the impending pick and development of this promising young player, the Maple Leafs look to be in a very good place to be competitive in the near future.

Hope this post was helpful in clearing up the complexity of the draft. Please leave any comments for us and we will do our best to respond.

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