Only the 14 teams that do not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, or clubs that acquired those clubs’ first-round draft picks, participate in the drawing.
Fourteen balls, numbered 1 to 14, are placed in a lottery machine. The machine expels four balls, forming a series of numbers. The four-digit series resulting from the expulsion of the balls is matched against a probability chart that divides the possible combinations among the 14 participating clubs.
The team that finishes the regular season with the fewest points in the League (30th overall) is assigned the greatest number of combinations, representing a 25% probability that their combination would emerge.
The club selected in the Draft Drawing may not move up more than four positions in the draft order. Thus, the only clubs with the opportunity to receive the first overall selection are the five with the lowest regular-season point totals, or those that acquired an eligible club's first-round draft picks. No club can move down more than one position as a result of the Draft Drawing.
The probability of a team being selected in the Draft Drawing:
|Rank at End|
|of Regular Season||Percentage of Selection|
Results of Previous Draft Drawings
||Effect On Draft Order||Player Selected|
|1995||Los Angeles||Moved from 7th to 3rd||D Aki Berg|
|1996||Ottawa||Retained 1st selection||D Chris Phillips|
|1997||Boston||Retained 1st selection||C Joe Thornton|
|1998||Tampa Bay||Moved from 3rd to 1st via trades||C Vincent Lecavalier|
|1999||Chicago||Moved from 8th to 4th||RW Pavel Brendl *|
|2000||NY Islanders||Moved from 5th to 1st||G Rick DiPietro|
|2001||Atlanta||Moved from 3rd to 1st||LW Ilya Kovalchuk|
|2002||Florida||Moved from 3rd to 1st||LW Rick Nash **|
|2003||Florida||Moved from 4th to 1st||G Marc-Andre Fleury ***|
|2004||Washington||Moved from 3rd to 1st||LW Alex Ovechkin|
|2005||Pittsburgh||n/a||C Sidney Crosby|
|2006||St. Louis||Retained 1st selection||D Erik Johnson|
|2007||Chicago||Moved from 5th to 1st||RW Patrick Kane|
|2008||Tampa Bay||Retained 1st selection||C Steven Stamkos|
|2009||NY Islanders||Retained 1st selection||C John Tavares|
* San Jose was selected, but Tampa Bay held the right to exchange first round selections with the Sharks.
** NY Rangers obtained Chicago's pick in a trade (via Vancouver and Tampa Bay). The Rangers selected RW Pavel Brendl fourth overall.
*** Columbus obtained Florida's pick in a trade. The Blue Jackets selected LW Rick Nash first overall.
^ Pittsburgh obtained Florida's pick in a trade. The Penguins selected G Marc-Andre Fleury first overall.
^^ Due to a work stoppage, the draft order was not based on the previous seasons standing; all 30 teams were eligible for the first-overall selection.