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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Permutations & Combinations and Longshots of Longshots (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 – Colorado-- 18.0% 
29th place team – Vancouver-- 12.1%
Expansion team -- Las Vegas -- 10.3%
28th place team -- Arizona-- 10.3%
27th place team – New Jersey -- 8.5%
26th place team –Buffalo-- 7.6%
25th place team –Detroit-- 6.7%
24th place team –Dallas-- 5.8%
23rd place team –Florida-- 5.4%
22nd place team – Los Angeles-- 4.5%
21st place team – Carolina-- 3.2%
20th place team – Winnipeg--2.7%
19th place team – Philadelphia--2.2%
18th place team – Tampa Bay--1.8%
17th place team – ISLANDERS-- 0.9%

So obviously the Isles will need the equivalent of a 99:1 shot to come in to win the lottery.  Remember, this is the first year that they are determining the first three picks via lottery so the Isles' chances of moving up are (infinitesimally) larger.

No team seeded lower than 8th has ever won the draft lottery -- in 2011 New Jersey move from 8th to 4th, using their pick to select Adam Larsson.

The Isles have won the lottery twice, moving from 4th to 1st in 2000 (DiPietro) and retaining the first pick in 2009 (Tavares)

On the good side, the Isles can't move down -- barring a lottery miracle the Isles will pick 15th.

Islander 1st overall picks:  Harris (1972), Potvin (1973), DiPietro (2000), Tavares (2009)

Islander 15th overall picks:  Bossy (1977), Tambellini (1978), Nilsson (2003), O'Mara (2005), and Pulock (2013)

The lottery will be held tonight and televised beginning at 8:00 on NBC  and CBC.
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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