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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Can't win for losing: The Skinny on the Draft Lottery change

The NHL announced two major changes to the draft lottery today.

Beginning this spring, the odds have been changed, which increases the chance that a team that finished higher in the standings will win the lottery.

The League published the following chart:

Non-Playoff Team
(Fewest Pts. to Most)
New Draft Lottery Odds Odds Under Former Allocation
1 20.0% 25.0%
2 13.5% 18.8%
3 11.5% 14.2%
4 9.5% 10.7%
5 8.5% 8.1%
6 7.5% 6.2%
7 6.5% 4.7%
8 6.0% 3.6%
9 5.0% 2.7%
10 3.5% 2.1%
11 3.0% 1.5%
12 2.5% 1.1%
13 2.0% 0.8%
14 1.0% 0.5%

So basically, the last place team now only has a 1 in 5 chance of retaining the top pick, down from a 1 in 4 chance last season.  But remember, if you go back only a couple of seasons the winner could only move up 4 spots, so the chance of the #1 team retaining the first pick was actually 48.2%.

Given the Connor McDavid hype, I guess this makes sense.  It potentially makes first-round draft picks of teams that will miss the playoffs but won't fall to the bottom of the league much more valuable. 

The Isles do not currently have a first round pick next spring; it belongs to Buffalo as part of the Vanek for Moulson trade.

The lottery will change further in the spring of 2016 when the top 3 picks will be awarded based on the lottery.  For the first time in the modern era the worst team in the NHL the previous year, having kept its own draft pick, could pick as low as 4th.

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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