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NHL announces new draft lottery system

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The NHL announced some tweaks to its draft lottery system this afternoon, changes that will go into effect beginning with this year's draft in Newark, N.J.

For the first time in league history, all 14 non-playoff teams will have a chance at obtaining the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft -- as opposed to the previous system, under which a certain number of teams (bottom five in the league) could move up no more than four spots and get the top selection via lottery.

There is a new, weighted system in place for the lottery, which takes place April 29 on the eve of the Stanley Cup playoffs. No team in the lottery can fall more than one spot in the order, which is to say the 30th-place team cannot pick below second overall under this arrangement.

With three first-round draft picks for the first time in frachise history, the Blue Jackets figure to be a major part of this year's lottery and draft. John Davidson and new GM Jarmo Kekalainen also had three first-round picks during the 2007 NHL Draft, which was held at Nationwide Arena.

Here are the odds for the 14 clubs in lottery contention:

Team 1- 25%

Team 2- 18.8%

Team 3- 14.2%

Team 4- 10.7%

Team 5- 8.1%

Team 6- 6.2%

Team 7- 4.7%

Team 8- 3.6%

Team 9- 2.7%

Team 10- 2.1%

Team 11- 1.5%

Team 12 - 1.1%

Team 13- 0.8%

Team 14 - 0.5%

An important note from today's announcement: the odds of winning the lottery are unchanged from previous years. The teams in the drawing are ranked in inverse order of their regular season point totals, with team one being the club with the fewest points, and team 14 being the club with the most points among those outside of the playoffs.

The clubs outside of the lottery range will have their draft order determined by order of finish in the playoffs, similar to previous years.

One change with the draft is scheduling: prior to the NHL work stoppage, the draft was scheduled for its normal two days, but this year's draft in Newark will take place all in one day. It will begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 30 with live coverage on the NBC Sports Network, and continuing at 8 p.m. on NHL Network (U.S.).

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