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2013 NHL Draft: Stars Have Good Chance Of Top Pick If Season Is Cancelled

Though a cancellation of the season would be bad news for hockey fans and the sport in general there is a silver lining for the Dallas Stars when it comes to the Draft.

Everyone remembers the Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes from 2005...
Everyone remembers the Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes from 2005...
Justin K. Aller

With no deal in sight and the chances of a cancelled season still relatively high there is a silver lining to this dark cloud: The Dallas Stars would be in a very good position when it comes to the 2013 Draft. Considering how the lottery worked in 2005 there is a good chance that, if following relatively the same criteria, the Stars have a chance at a very high pick. In 2005, the lottery essentially worked as follows:

Each team had three balls that could be selected and for every 1st overall pick and playoff position in the past four years a ball was removed until they have a minimum of one. The Dallas Stars have not reached the playoffs in the past four years but neither have they received a first overall pick giving them three balls. Only five other teams would have the maximum three, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild. Four teams would have two balls, and twenty would have only 1. What does that mean? It means the Stars have the joint top odds to get first overall and essentially a 50% chance of getting a top 10 pick.

However, I personally don't believe that this system would be used again, simply because the Edmonton Oilers have had more first overall picks than hot dinners these past few years. I imagine that it's possible it could be expanded to the top three or maybe five. Why? Because if they remove a ball based solely on first overall then it would unfairly disadvantage the Oilers against those teams which it has been finishing around who would have the full quota of three balls.

For example, the Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs have finished in the bottom five in the past four years but both the Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs will have the full three balls and the Avalanche would have two. In 2005 there had been four different teams who had the first overall picks in the years preceding it so there was a balancing force for the teams at the bottom of the league.

However, there is obviously a good reason why those teams who finished in the bottom three or five did so. Any system would have to take into account this, but also the fact that the Oilers have nearly had all the first overall picks. One solution to this could be to limit those teams who have had picks in the top three or give only lose a single one of their three balls. A team couldn't be reduced to one simply because they finished in the bottom three or five twice in the last four years. If they finished in the bottom five and also got a playoff position in the past four years they would be reduced to one however, for example the Montreal Canadiens.

This is just one possible, and very rough, solution to the problem of how to handle the NHL Draft Lottery. It's possible that they will just decide to use the system from 2005 but I still think they will use a similar, if slightly varied, system. However its likely that whatever the system they decide to use the Dallas Stars will likely have a very good chance at a top 10 pick. Using the old system from 2005 the Stars would have over a 50% chance of getting a top 10 pick and around a 6% chance of the top pick.

As my own math is poor I found this breakdown of the likelihood of the Stars getting certain picks (The source if a HF board but the maths looks about right):

Range % Chance
1st 6.0
Top 3 17.4
Top 5 28.2
6-10 23.9
11-15 19.4
16-20 14.7
21-25 9.7
26-30 4.1
Top 10 52.2
Top 15 71.6
Bottom 15 28.4
30th 0.3

In Summary: If the season is cancelled the Stars are right in there for the MacKinnon Sweepstakes or a top pick.