draft lottery

A lot of the hype that surrounds entry drafts, for all sports, is unwarranted. It’s not that the draft can’t hugely affect the future of a team, it’s that beyond the first half-dozen picks or so, it’s awfully tough to figure out if a team drafted well or not. Because of that, we get a lot of hype in the form of “Our team is pumped because we drafted Name Namerson, Dude McHandle and Words O’Backcheck.” Sure, whatever.

But as I noted above, those first few picks, well…they rarely miss. They may not all become Sidney Crosby, but almost all of them end up being effective NHLers.

Tonight the NHL holds its annual draft lottery, where one lucky team gets word that they have the honour of picking first overall, and that they’ll likely have either Seth Jones or Nathan MacKinnon in their line-up next season. Also, we get to watch grown-ass men be super-awkward.

It’s on TSN, the NBC Sports Network and the NHL Network at 8:00 p.m. EST for those who’d like to follow along, comment and all the rest.


For starters, here are the odds each non-playoff team gets the #1 overall pick:

Team Odds
Florida Panthers 25.0%
Colorado Avalanche 18.8%
Tampa Bay Lightning 14.2%
Nashville Predators 10.7%
Carolina Hurricanes 8.1%
Calgary Flames 6.2%
Edmonton Oilers 4.7%
Buffalo Sabres 3.6%
New Jersey Devils 2.7%
Dallas Stars 2.1%
Philadelphia Flyers 1.5%
Phoenix Coyotes 1.1%
Winnipeg Jets 0.8%
Columbus Blue Jackets 0.5%

7:55: TSN just previewed a four-plus minute “The Hangover”-style clip that’s going to run later tonight involving Duthie, Dreger and the rest, which I’m really, really hoping shows up online later for me to share.

UPDATE: Here you go:

7:59: LET’S DO THIS.

8:01: I love that they use ping pong balls and a bingo popper machine for this. Like, given the effect the draft lottery has on teams, and thus their success, and thus their financial well-being, and all the rest…ping pong balls. That’s how we do this.

(Update: Nope. Envelopes. Just envelopes.)

8:04: It’s pretty crazy they do an entire show to highlight one team moving one spot.

8:06: The panel of team representatives in the draft lottery is always kind of hilarious. “Proud to be here representing our monumental failure over the past four months, James.” (That’s harsh, but come on, the awkwardness is exceptional.)

tsn dudes

8:09: Or as Tyler Dellow put it:

8:11: Seth Jones: “I think I’m a shutdown defenseman who can provide offense.” Teams: “Yeah that’s sort of appealing.”

8:13: Your International Scouting Service Top 10


8:15: McKenzie: “Four out of 10 scouts I polled had Jonathan Drouin ranked ahead of Nathan MacKinnon, and one actually had him number one overall.”

8:16: McKenzie’s Top 10: Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin, Barkov, Nichushkin, Lindholm, Monahan, Ristolainen, Zadorov, Nurse/Shinkaruk.

8:17: The worst part of this, undeniably, is the respectable older gentleman expected to react on camera to a possible gold card being pulled, but also not wanting to seem TOO excited.

8:19: LUMBUS and crew maintain their picks, don’t move up. This is a weird method. I thought we were doing popping balls?

8:20: What did I miss about this? Did we miss the ball part? There’s just names in envelopes, placed by the NHL??

8:21: Oh man, now they’re cutting to disappointed men who are further disappointed that they didn’t win the lottery. SO MUCH DISAPPOINTMENT.

8:22: Funny that they have some model posting the cards.


8:22: Hey, remember when the Avs were like, “Hey, we need a cornerstone d-man. Didn’t Erik Johnson go #1 overall? Let’s trade for him.” That was funny.

8:24: This is going to work out fine for Florida. It’s not like they’re so stacked up front they’re allowed to be bummed about getting a stud forward. Hell, they may have taken one with #1 anyway.

8:26: Kinda cool if Seth Jones does end up going to Colorado:

8:28: And finally, some Twitter thoughts:

8:32: Welp, that was fun. Until tomorrow, friends. Here’s official order of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft:

1.  Colorado Avalanche
2.  Florida Panthers
3.  Tampa Bay Lightning
4.  Nashville Predators
5.  Carolina Hurricanes
6.  Calgary Flames
7.  Edmonton Oilers
8.  Buffalo Sabres
9.  New Jersey Devils
10.  Dallas Stars
11.  Philadelphia Flyers
12.  Phoenix Coyotes
13.  Winnipeg Jets
14.  Columbus Blue Jackets

Comments (19)

  1. Discussion on the podcast tomorrow on this?

  2. Not on NHL Network

  3. NBCSN in the States.

  4. What happens if a team outside the top 5 gets the first overall pick? does their representative come sprinting into the room?

  5. Shit Bourney, you make the picture in MS Paint?

    Pretty classic..

  6. Teach me to Photoshop like you.

  7. They did the whole pre-made envelopes thing last year too. I was very surprised and confused. I don’t know what would be so difficult about actually showing the popping balls part; they showed the machine and insisted that they had used it. If they aren’t going to show us that, why bother using that crazy contraption? Why not just run a computer code?

    • Believe it or not, computer code is less secure than the balls. You have to be Danny Ocean to rig one of those things.

      But the reason for the envelopes is that there’s no way to have drama otherwise. The machine just pops out a number, and you know the winner instantly.

  8. This isn’t suspicious AT ALL. :) Still, if Bettman’s going to start rigging things (not that I’d ever think he would), he could do worse than rigging it in a smart way.

    It does suck for the Oilers – had Tampa or Florida won the pick, they might have entertained a trade for Jones and help the Oilers re-align their talent pool.

  9. Wouldn’t you need 1000 balls in a tumbler to get the percentages they use? Columbus @ 0.5% would be 5 balls? Dallas at 2.1% would be 21 balls? S’a lot of balls…

    • That’s true, but they do randomly pull a team somehow, so whatever the damn method is, let’s watch that.

    • Teams aren’t assigned individual balls, but rather combinations of numbers.

      So say if you had 5 balls numbered 0 – 9, you’d have 10,000 different combinations.

      You then assign Florida numbers 00000 – 02499, giving them 25% of the possible combinations to win the thing.

  10. Thanks for keeping me up to date on this. Last night the local Colorado news sports segment was as follows:

    Tim Tebow was cut from the Jets and his future prospects.
    Nuggets going down 3-1 in the NBA Playoffs.
    Update on Troy Tulowitzki’s injury.
    Payton Manning signing Johnny Cash at his charity function in Indianapolis.

  11. I think in the past they have 4 numbered balls picked to generate a number between 0-1000. That determines who wins the draft. And its always done behind closed doors because that wouldn’t be exciting to watch as opposed to someone opening envelopes.

  12. 30 minutes to show the world.. ermm north americans..umm a few hockey nuts (me included) the winner of the loser that could have been accomplished in ohhhhh 35 seconds.

    No overhype by TSN in anything at all. cough trade deadline month cough.

  13. “Kermit the Frog arms!” I loved this visual so much. So Colorado did this, right? Because that would be better than cleavage.

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