2018 NHL Draft

Draft Lottery Preview

Steve Kournianos  |  04/27/2018 |  Nashville  |  

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When: Saturday, April 28th, 2018
Where: Sportsnet Studios, Toronto, ON
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT (Before San Jose-Vegas game)
Networks: Sportsnet, TVAS (Canada), NBC Sports Network (U.S.)
Teams: Buffalo, Arizona, Vancouver, Montreal, Chicago, Edmonton, Ottawa, Detroit, Dallas, NY Rangers, NY Islanders, Carolina, Florida, Philadelphia.

RULES

NASHVILLE (The Draft Analyst) — The NHL’s 2018 draft lottery, which will be broadcast around the world on Saturday, April 28th,  is both simple and complicated at the same time. The 15 teams that fail to make the playoffs (or the team they traded their pick to) are assigned numeric odds based on how poorly they placed in the standings. The team with the worst record — in this year’s case, the Buffalo Sabres — has the best chance of winning the lottery, while the non-playoff team with the most points (AKA The Best Loser) has the lowest.

Back in the day, draft positioning was awarded NFL style — finish last, get the first pick. Finish second to last, get the second pick, and so on. Pretty straightforward, no? Plus it removed any doubt from the draft order, which every year is locked in on the last day of the regular season. The NHL and NBA, however, do things a tad differently, probably since both leagues under similar NFL-style systems had examples of teams doing everything in their power to lose and get the highest pick. It’s called “tanking”, and the NHL has gone to great lengths to keep garbage teams on the competitive up-and-up as their miserable seasons come to a close.

The draft lottery is a big deal, and the NHL treats it as such. Officials act pretty “Secret Squirrel” about this process in terms of avoiding any leaks or outside actors who could manipulate the process in their favor. The drawing itself is done in a secure area inside Sportsnet’s studios in Toronto. I mean, it’s not Fort Knox-secured, but for non-military operations, it’s an impregnable area nonetheless. To me, the room looks like a storage area in the building’s basement that they doll up and cater for presentation purposes. You figure all this league revenue would be enough to maybe spring for a fancier locale, but I digress. League commissioner Gary Bettman orchestrates the event for the dozen or so team representatives, a randomly-selected media member (yeah, right) and a camera crew records the event to hopefully dispell any accusation of wink-wink funny business. Off to the side are a handful of NHL lackeys in suit jackets who usually look way too uncomfortable to be involved in a such a high-stakes event. For whatever reason, the lackeys all look under 30 years old.

The league uses a mechanical air-blowing lotto machine that jumbles 15 numbered ping pong balls (1-15). These balls don’t have team logos on them. Just numbers between 1 and 15, and each ball dances and bounces inside the plastic air chamber, awaiting for a league “official” (I use that term loosely) to release each ball into the chamber to reveal the number. Do this four times, and you have yourself a drawing. Do three drawings, and there’s your NHL Draft lottery. The first drawing determines the owners of the first overall pick, the second and third identify the teams picking 2nd and 3rd overall.

The league “official” draws each ball via a remote-controlled device that looks like the control unit on Darth Vader’s chest — three colored buttons, one which releases the numbered ping pong ball into the chamber. Each “drawing” is four presses of a button, with each press revealing a number. The order of the numbers after four presses — say, 2, 13, 4, 11 — is then scrubbed alongside a pre-determined list of team-assigned codes (see picture). The team that finished worse in the standings gets more code combinations, hence the draft lottery “odds”. For example, when the league says Buffalo has an 18.5% chance of winning the lottery, is just an easier way of saying the Sabres have 18.5% of the 1000 or so number combinations.

Now, the system seems ok, but the remote operator manically gazing at the bouncing balls as he releases them seems way too sketchy for my blood. I mean, how do we know this dude isn’t some eagle-eyed ex-CIA numbers prodigy with 20/10 vision who graduated Princeton and owns the Army record for longest sniper kill? Hopefully Commissioner Bettman tells the young lad to face away from the ping pong machine as he presses the button.

The 12 teams not selected in the 2018 Draft Lottery? That’s the easy part. Picks four through 15 will be based on NHL regular season standings. For example, if the team with the seventh slot (Blackhawks) wins the drawing for 2nd overall and the 10th team (Islanders) win the third pick, then the two teams that finished second and third-worst in the standings will drop to picking 4th and 5th overall, respectively. This is what happened last year when New Jersey (5th slot), Philadelphia (12th spot) and Dallas (8th slot) each won the lottery drawings to dump the three worst teams standings-wise — Colorado, Vancouver, Arizona and Vegas — out of the top three entirely.


ODDS

DRAFT RANK TEAM FINISH 1OA ODDS TOP-3 ODDS
2018 1 BUFFALO 18.50% 49.40%
2018 2 OTTAWA 13.50% 38.80%
2018 3 ARIZONA 11.50% 33.90%
2018 4 MONTREAL 9.50% 28.80%
2018 5 DETROIT 8.50% 26.10%
2018 6 VANCOUVER 7.50% 23.30%
2018 7 CHICAGO 6.50% 20.40%
2018 8 NY RANGERS 6.00% 19.00%
2018 9 EDMONTON 5.00% 16.00%
2018 10 NY ISLANDERS 3.50% 11.40%
2018 11 CAROLINA 3.00% 9.90%
2018 12 NY ISLANDERS (CGY) 2.50% 8.20%
2018 13 DALLAS 2.00% 6.60%
2018 14 PHILADELPHIA (STL) 1.50% 5.00%
2018 15 FLORIDA 1.00% 3.30%

TOP PROSPECTS

APR JAN SEP NAME POS TM LG
1 1 1 Andrei Svechnikov RW Barrie OHL
2 2 2 Rasmus Dahlin LHD Frolunda SHL
3 3 3 Filip Zadina LW Halifax QMJHL
4 6 8 Adam Boqvist RHD Brynas J20 Superelit
5 4 5 Joe Veleno C Drummondville QMJHL
6 8 6 Brady Tkachuk LW Boston Univ. HE
7 12 22 Oliver Wahlstrom RW U.S. U18 NTDP
8 5 4 Ty Smith LHD Spokane WHL
9 7 18 Joel Farabee LW U.S. U18 NTDP
10 10 10 Quinn Hughes LHD Michigan Big-10
11 11 15 Rasmus Kupari C Karpat SM-Liiga
12 9 7 Jesperi Kotkaniemi LW/C Assat Liiga
13 17 48 Barrett Hayton C Sault Ste Marie OHL
14 16 33 Noah Dobson RHD Acadie-Bathurst QMJHL
15 14 11 Bode Wilde RHD U.S. U18 NTDP
16 13 17 Akil Thomas C Niagara OHL
17 19 23 Evan Bouchard RHD London OHL
18 20 28 Vitali Kravtsov RW Chelyabinsk KHL
19 15 16 Ryan McLeod C Mississauga OHL
20 30 31 Jacob Olofsson C Timra IK Allsvenskan
21 55 77 David Gustafsson C HV71 SHL
22 49 40 Rasmus Sandin LHD Sault Ste Marie OHL
23 31 42 Grigori Denisenko LW Loko Yaroslavl MHL
24 22 13 Ty Dellandrea C Flint OHL
25 85 NR Ivan Morozov C Mamonty Yugry MHL
26 47 47 Isac Lundestrom C/LW Lulea SHL
27 44 36 Jesse Ylonen RW Espoo United Mestis
28 24 37 K’andre Miller LHD U.S. U18 NTDP
29 28 46 Dominik Bokk RW Vaxjo SHL
30 25 74 Alexander Alexeeyev LHD Red Deer WHL
31 18 12 Jared McIsaac LHD Halifax QMJHL


HISTORY

DRAFT TEAM RANK ODDS (1OA) FINISH +/- PLAYER SELECTED
2017 COLORADO 1
18.0%
4 -3 CALE MAKAR
2017 VANCOUVER 2
12.1%
5 -3 ELIAS PETTERSSON
2017 VEGAS 3
10.3%
6 -3 CODY GLASS
2017 NY RANGERS (ARI) 4
10.3%
7 -3 LIAS ANDERSSON
2017 NEW JERSEY 5
8.5%
1 +4 NICO HISCHIER
2017 BUFFALO 6
7.6%
8 -2 CASEY MITTELSTADT
2017 DETROIT 7
6.7%
9 -2 MIKE RASMUSSEN
2017 DALLAS 8
5.8%
3 +5 MIRO HEISKANEN
2017 FLORIDA 9
5.4%
10 -1 OWEN TIPPETT
2017 LOS ANGELES 10
4.5%
11 -1 GABE VILARDI
2017 CAROLINA 11
3.2%
12 -1 MARTIN NECAS
2017 VEGAS (WIN) 12
2.7%
13 -1 NICK SUZUKI
2017 PHILADELPHIA 13
2.2%
2 +11 NOLAN PATRICK
2017 TAMPA BAY 14
1.8%
14 E CAL FOOTE
2017 VEGAS (NYI) 15
0.9%
15 E ERIK BRANNSTROM
2016 TORONTO 1 20.0% 1 E AUSTON MATTHEWS
2016 EDMONTON 2 13.5% 4 -2 JESSE PULJUJARVI
2016 VANCOUVER 3 11.5% 5 -2 OLLI JUOLEVI
2016 COLUMBUS 4 9.5% 3 +1 PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS
2016 CALGARY 5 8.5% 6 -1 MATT TKACHUK
2016 WINNIPEG 6 7.5% 2 +4 PATRIK LAINE
2016 ARIZONA 7 6.5% 7 E CLAYTON KELLER
2016 BUFFALO 8 6.0% 8 E ALEX NYLANDER
2016 MONTREAL 9 5.0% 9 E MIKHAIL SERGACHEV
2016 COLORADO 10 3.5% 10 E TYSON JOST
2016 NEW JERSEY (OTT) 11 3.0% 12 E MIKE MCLEOD
2016 OTTAWA (NJ) 12 2.5% 11 E LOGAN BROWN
2016 CAROLINA 13 2.0% 13 E JAKE BEAN
2016 BOSTON 14 1.0% 14 E CHARLIE MCAVOY
2015 BUFFALO 1 20.0% 2 -1 JACK EICHEL
2015 ARIZONA 2 13.5% 3 -1 DYLAN STROME
2015 EDMONTON 3 11.5% 1 +2 CONNOR MCDAVID
2015 TORONTO 4 9.5% 4 E MITCH MARNER
2015 CAROLINA 5 8.5% 5 E NOAF HANIFIN
2015 NEW JERSEY 6 7.5% 6 E PAVEL ZACHA
2015 PHILADELPHIA 7 6.5% 7 E IVAN PROVOROV
2015 COLUMBUS 8 6.0% 8 E ZACH WERENSKI
2015 SAN JOSE 9 5.0% 9 E TIMO MEIER
2015 COLORADO 10 3.5% 10 E MIKKO RANTANEN
2015 FLORIDA 11 3.0% 11 E LAWSON CROUSE
2015 DALLAS 12 2.5% 12 E DENIS GURYANOV
2015 BOSTON (LAK) 13 2.0% 13 E JAKUB ZBORIL
2015 BOSTON 14 1.0% 14 E JAKE DEBRUSK
2014 BUFFALO 1 25.0% 2 -1 SAM REINHART
2014 FLORIDA 2 18.8% 1 +1 AARON EKBLAD
2014 EDMONTON 3 14.2% 3 E LEON DRAISAITL
2014 CALGARY 4 10.7% 4 E SAM BENNETT
2014 NY ISLANDERS 5 8.1% 5 E MICHAEL DAL COLLE
2014 VANCOUVER 6 6.2% 6 E JAKE VIRTANEN
2014 CAROLINA 7 4.7% 7 E HAYDN FLEURY
2014 TORONTO 8 3.6% 8 E WILLIAM NYLANDER
2014 WINNIPEG 9 2.7% 9 E NIKOLAJ EHLERS
2014 ANAHEIM (OTT) 10 2.1% 10 E NICK RITCHIE
2014 NEW JERSEY 11 1.5% FORFEIT N/A NO PICK
2014 NASHVILLE 12 1.1% 11 E KEVIN FIALA
2014 ARIZONA 13 0.8% 12 E BRENDAN PERLINI
2014 WASHINGTON 14 0.5% 13 E JAKUB VRANA
2013 FLORIDA 1 25.0% 2 -1 ALEKSANDER BARKOV
2013 COLORADO 2 18.8% 1 +1 NATHAN MACKINNON
2013 TAMPA BAY 3 14.2% 3 E JONATHAN DROUIN
2013 NASHVILLE 4 10.7% 4 E SETH JONES
2013 CAROLINA 5 8.1% 5 E ELIAS LINDHOLM
2013 CALGARY 6 6.2% 6 E SEAN MONAHAN
2013 EDMONTON 7 4.7% 7 E DARNELL NURSE
2013 BUFFALO 8 3.6% 8 E RASMUS RISTOLAINEN
2013 VANCOUVER (NJ) 9 2.7% 9 E BO HORVAT
2013 DALLAS 10 2.1% 10 E VALERI NICHUSKIN
2013 PHILADELPHIA 11 1.5% 11 E SAMUEL MORIN
2013 ARIZONA 12 1.1% 12 E MAX DOMI
2013 WINNIPEG 13 0.8% 13 E JOSH MORRISSEY
2013 COLUMBUS 14 0.5% 14 E ALEX WENNBERG