Analysis

NHL draft lottery: Maple Leafs have best odds

This year's NHL draft lottery isn't just for the top pick - two other draws will be held to determine which teams get the second and third choices. Check out the odds Canadian teams have of landing a top-three pick.

How the process works and which teams have the best chance of winning

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, left, presides over the NHL draft lottery with a representative of audit firm Ernst & Young in 2005 in New York City. (Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

This year's NHL draft lottery isn't just for the top pick – two other draws will be held to determine which teams get the second and third choices.

Changes agreed to in 2014 go into effect this year and make it possible for the worst team in the standings to fall outside of the top three picks, but no lower than fourth.

Here are the teams ranked by their current odds of landing the top pick – which is based on point percentage – after games scheduled to be played on Sunday, April 10, the final day of the regular season. 

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs - 20 per cent
  2. Edmonton Oilers - 13.5 per cent
  3. Vancouver Canucks - 11.5 per cent
  4. Columbus Blue Jackets - 9.5 per cent
  5. Calgary Flames - 8.5 per cent 
  6. Winnipeg Jets - 7.5 per cent
  7. Arizona Coyotes - 6.5 per cent
  8. Buffalo Sabres - 6 per cent
  9. Montreal Canadiens - 5.5 per cent
  10. Colorado Avalanche - 3.5 per cent
  11. New Jersey Devils - 3 per cent
  12. Ottawa Senators - 2.5 per cent
  13. Carolina Hurricanes - 2 per cent
  14. Boston Bruins - 1 per cent

Draft lottery explained

The NHL lays out how the lottery works:

  • The lottery machine is loaded with 14 balls, each bearing one number, 1 to 14
  • One set of four numbers is drawn from the machine, with each ball expelled from the machine at a ten-second interval
  • Without regard to the order the numbers are drawn, there are exactly 1,001 four-number combinations
  • Each of the 14 teams is assigned the number of combinations corresponding to the odds allocated to them by their regular-season finish
  • That means the team given a 20 per cent chance to win the lottery is represented by 200 of the 1,001 possible combinations, the team with a 13.5 per cent chance is assigned 135 combinations, and so on

The winners

Previous draft lottery winners and who they selected:

  • 2015: Edmonton Oilers - Connor McDavid
  • 2014: Florida Panthers - Aaron Ekblad
  • 2013: Colorado Avalanche - Nathan MacKinnon
  • 2012: Edmonton Oilers - Nail Yakupov
  • 2011: New Jersey Devils* - Adam Larsson
  • 2010: Edmonton Oilers - Taylor Hall
  • 2009: New York Islanders - John Tavares
  • 2008: Tampa Bay Lightning - Steven Stamkos
  • 2007: Chicago Blackhawks - Patrick Kane
  • 2006: St. Louis Blues - Erik Johnson

*New Jersey won the lottery in 2011, but the rules stipulated they could only move up a maximum of four spots, raising them from the eighth overall pick to the fourth. Edmonton selected first that year, drafting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

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