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2016 NHL Draft Lottery Primer

by Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) / Winnipeg Jets

You know what luck is?

"Luck," wrote the great Tennessee Williams, "is believing you're lucky."

So what do you believe, Jets fans?

The 2016 NHL Draft Lottery is coming up in just a few hours. Here’s what you need to know:

In past years, a single lottery determined the first overall selection, meaning, at worst, the team finishing with the fewest points in the regular season (in this case, the Toronto Maple Leafs) would be guaranteed a Top 2 pick. This year, it’s possible – even likely with their 47.5% chance – to fall as low as fourth.

Now, for the first time ever in its history, three separate draws will assign the first, second and third overall selections, giving teams multiple chances (and better-than-ever odds) to improve their drafting position. The Jets, for example, have a 7.5% chance of claiming the first pick – but if they’re unsuccessful on the initial draw, their odds will increase in the subsequent two. For the Jets (or any team) to improve their drafting position, they must win one of the three lotteries. You either move up into the Top 3, hold your current position or move backward in the selection order. As a result, the Jets can pick anywhere from 1-3, or 6-9.

(Remember: The Jets have TWO first-round selections again this year after acquiring Chicago's pick in the Andrew Ladd trade. With the Blackhawks eliminated in the first round, that pick will either be 22nd overall.)    

For the Jets to remain in sixth (17.5%), any three of the bottom five teams (the Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames) would have to win the three lotteries.

For the Jets to pick seventh (39.3%), any of the eight teams that finished higher in the standings would have to win one of the three lotteries. To pick eighth (17.9%), two of those teams would have to win; ninth (1.7%)…you get the picture.

But don't take our word for it. Give a try or 10 with this handy simulator created by Rob Zaenglein, a PHP developer out of Buffalo.


Fourteen balls numbered one to 14 are placed in the drum and drawn in 10-second intervals to produce a four-number combination. Each team has been assigned the number combinations proportional to their odds. With a 7.5% chance to win the No. 1 pick, the Jets own 75 of the 1001 possible combinations (11, 12, 13, 14 is classified as a re-draw).

The lottery results will be broadcast live Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada, just prior to a Second Round series playoff game.

Here is the full breakdown of the odds for each team: 

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th
Maple Leafs 20% 17.5% 15% 47.5%
Edmonton Oilers 13.5% 13.1% 12.5% 35.2% 25.8%
Vancouver Canucks 11.5% 11.4% 11.3% 14.2% 37.8% 13.8%
Columbus Blue Jackets 9.5% 9.7% 9.8% 3.1% 27.3% 33.2% 7.4%
Calgary Flames 8.5% 8.8% 9% 9.1% 35.5% 25.5% 3.7%
Winnipeg Jets 7.5% 7.8% 8.2% 17.5% 39.3% 17.9% 1.7%
Arizona Coyotes 6.5% 6.9% 7.2% 27.9% 39.1% 11.7% 0.8%
Buffalo Sabres 6% 6.4% 6.8% 39.2% 34.8% 6.6% 0.3%
Montreal Canadiens 5% 5.4% 5.6% 51.8% 28.6% 3.4% 0.1%
Colorado Avalanche 3.5% 3.8% 4.2% 64% 22.8% 1.6% 0.02%
New Jersey Devils 3% 3.3% 3.6% 73.6% 15.9% 0.6% 0.003%
Ottawa Senators 2.5% 2.7% 3% 82.3% 9.3% 0.1%
Carolina Hurricanes 2% 2.2% 2.5% 90.1% 3.2%
Boston Bruins 1% 1.1% 1.3% 96.6%


The consensus No. 1 pick is Auston Matthews, with big Finns Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi not far behind on NHL Central Scouting’s list of the top European skaters.

Matthews, a Phoenix native, played pro this past season over in Switzerland, leading the Zurich Lions with 24 goals and finishing second in points with 46 in just 36 games. Had he played a full season (50 games), he easily would have topped veteran Robert Nilsson for the team lead in points.

Auston Matthews (Getty Images)

Matthews appeared at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship earlier this year, posting 11 points (7G, 4A) in seven games, co-leading the Bronze Medalist Americans with the No. 2-rated North American skater, Matthew Tkachuk.
Both Laine and Puljujarvi played pro in the Finnish Liiga and were instrumental in their country’s gold medal-winning performance at the World Juniors. Puljujarvi led the way, pacing all skaters with five goals and 17 points in seven games, while Laine wasn’t far off, tallying 13 points (7G, 6A) in that
asame span.

Puljujarvi also appeared at the World U-18s just last week in Grand Forks, recording seven points (5G, 2A) in just four games en route to gold.

The top-ranked North American skater, Pierre-Luc Dubois, hasn't received much fanfare due to the hype of the preceding trio, but is expected to be an impact player for the team lucky enough to draft him. The winger led the QMJHL's Cape Breton Screaming Eagles with 42 goals and 99 points this year, jumping from No. 7 to No. 1 in just a few short months down the stretch. Tkachuk, who fell from No. 1 to No. 2 at year-end, had 30 goals and 107 regular-season points before adding another 28 so far (14G, 14A) in just 28 playoff contests.
Stay tuned to for more on these prospects and many more over the next few months as we approach the 2016 NHL Draft.

European Skaters
Final Rank Midterm Rank Player Position Amateur Team League
1 1 Matthews, Auston Centre Zurich SWISS
2 3 Laine, Patrik Right Wing Tappara FINLAND
3 2 Puljujarvi, Jesse Right Wing Karpat FINLAND
4 4 Asplund, Rasmus Centre Farjestad SWEDEN
5 6 Rubtsov, German Centre Team U18 RUSSIA-JR.
6 5 Grundstrom, Carl Right Wing Modo SWEDEN
7 7 Korshkov, Yegor Right Wing Yaroslavl RUSSIA
8 10 Hronek, Filip Defenceman HR. Kralove CZREP
9 11 Borgstrom, Henrik Centre HIFK Jr. FINLAND-JR.
10 8 Lindstrom, Linus Centre Skelleftea Jr. SWEDEN-JR.
11 16 Dahlen, Jonathan Centre Timra SWEDEN-2
12 9 Moverare, Jacob Defenceman HV Jr. SWEDEN-JR.
13 13 Makinen, Otto Centre Tappara Jr. FINLAND-JR.
14 49 Kayumov, Artur Left Wing/Right Wing Team U18 RUSSIA-JR.
15 22 Carlsson, Lucas Defenceman Brynas SWEDEN
16 18 Cederholm, Jacob Defenceman HV Jr. SWEDEN-JR.
17 14 Bratt, Jesper Left Wing/Right Wing AIK SWEDEN-2
18 12 Steen, Oskar Centre Farjestad Jr. SWEDEN-JR.
19 15 Tuulola, Eetu Right Wing HPK Jr. FINLAND-JR.
20 27 Kuokkanen, Janne Left Wing/Centre Karpat Jr. FINLAND-JR.
21 85 Rasanen, Aapeli Centre Tappara Jr. FINLAND-JR.
22 35 Bjorkqvist, Kasper Right Wing Blues Jr. FINLAND-JR.
23 19 Svyrev, Igor Centre Magnitogorsk 2 RUSSIA-JR.
24 43 Svetlakov, Andrei Centre CSKA RUSSIA
25 61 Sosunov, Oleg Defenceman LOKO-YUNIOR YAROSLAV RUSSIA JR. 2
26 25 From, Mathias Left Wing/Right Wing Rogle Jr. SWEDEN-JR.
27 41 Koppanen, Joona Left Wing Ilves Jr. FINLAND-JR.
28 20 Koivula, Otto Left Wing Ilves Jr. FINLAND-JR.
29 75 Kurovsky, Daniel Right Wing Vitkovice Jr. CZREP-JR.
30 29 Najman, Ondrej Left Wing Jihlava Jr. CZREP-JR.
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