The upcoming NHL Draft will be a much different one from those held previously. Not just does it feature generational talents Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel it also debuts a brand new set of NHL Draft Lottery rules. The lottery itself is expected to take place alongside the start of the playoffs, potentially the 18th of April.
So whats changed? Before this season the winner of the draft lottery could move up a maximum of five places. The odds were balanced so that those at the very top of the order, and lowest in the standings, had the best chance to win and to retain or gain the first overall spot.
This year there is a small change, whoever wins the draft lottery will pick first overall. All non playoff teams have a chance to move up to the top spot and there have been changes to the odds. The odds of winning have been improved for those teams who finished closest to the playoffs.
So how big are the changes?
|Draft Position (Pre Lottery)||Previous Lottery Odds||Current Lottery Odds|
Next year this gets even more complicated, with lotteries held for picks one, two, and three. Whoever finishes last in the NHL will no longer be certain to have a top two pick, instead they potentially could fall to fourth. For this year however the worst they could fall to is second.
What does this mean for Dallas? The Dallas Stars are currently, at the time of writing, 20th in the league standings. That is 11th in the table above. The Stars have a 3.0 percent chance of winning the lottery and claiming Connor McDavid for the victory green. Not likely odds but still better than the 1.5 percent chance they had to move up five spaces from the previous years.
Think of it like this however, there is a 55 percent chance that someone outside of the bottom three of the NHL could move up. Those odds aren't outrageous and there is a potential for someone to move up and grab the top spot.
With the Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, and Edmonton Oilers having raced to the bottom in their tank battle for either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel (The battle for McEichel as its been referred to) someone outside of them winning would be a dramatic event.
The Buffalo Sabres are intent on drafting Connor McDavid, with their GM Tim Murray telling the New York Times:
"I watch him too much and I think too much about him," said Murray, who has been scouting teenage N.H.L. prospects for 23 seasons. "I wish I could help myself.
If Buffalo were to lose the draft lottery it would be a kick in the teeth. If they did lose the lottery it sounds as if they would attempt to trade what it took to move up one spot to draft Connor McDavid. The price to move up however would likely be astronomical and the GM that trades away the pick to select McDavid might find themselves regretting it very quickly.
With the potential for someone outside of the bottom three to select first overall, draft lottery night sounds like it could be something to watch. Who knows what will happen?