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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Permutations & Combinations (aka the NHL's Draft Lottery)

(Unfortunately this is one that I had multiple copies of in my files)

Quick: what's 14 x 13 x 12 x 11? It's 24,024.

What's that have to do with the Draft Lottery? Well, everything.

The lottery is conducted with the selection of four balls from a pool of 14. Once a ball is chosen, it is not replaced (so each ball can be selected only once). As if turns out, there are 24,024 possible "permutations" that can be chosen. However, when you change it to combinations (ie 1-2-3-4 is the same result as 4-3-2-1 or 2-3-4-1.... or 21 other permutations), there are only (24,024 divided by 24 = ) 1,001 possible results.

One of those 1,001 is thrown out (I don't believe that the NHL has ever identified which one it is) and the others are assigned to each of the teams.

Here are the odds of winning the lottery:

30th place team – Buffalo-- 25.0% 
29th place team – Florida -- 18.8%
28th place team -- Edmonton-- 14.2%
27th place team – Calgary -- 10.7%
26th place team –Islanders-- 8.1%
25th place team –Vancouver-- 6.2%
24th place team –Carolina-- 4.7%
23rd place team –Toronto-- 3.6%
22nd place team – Winnipeg-- 2.7%
21st place team – Ottawa-- 2.1%
20th place team – New Jersey--1.5%
19th place team – Nashville--1.1%
18th place team – Phoenix--0.8%
17th place team – Washington -- 0.5%

So, the Isles have a 8.1% chance of winning the lottery and picking 1st.
If Buffalo, Florida, Edmonton or Calgary win the lottery, the Isles will retain the 5th pick (68.7%)
Otherwise the Isles will have the 6th pick (23.2%)

As part of the Thomas Vanek deal, the Isles need to send their first round pick to Buffalo either this year or next.  The Isles have until June 1st to notify the Sabres which pick they will send to Buffalo.

Islander 1st overall picks:  Harris (1972), Potvin (1973), DiPietro (2000),Tavares (2009)
Islander 5th overall picks:  Kasparaitis (1992), Brewer (1997), Connolly (1999), Torres (2000), Niederreiter (2010), Strome (2011)
Islander 6th overall picks:  Dalgarno (1985), Scissons (1990)

The lottery will be held on Tuesday and televised beginning at 8:00 on NBC Sports Network and TSN.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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