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The Official Site of the Winnipeg Jets

2017 NHL Draft Lottery Primer

by Ryan Dittrick @ryandittrick /

2.7 per cent of the time, it happens every time.

Will the Winnipeg Jets hit the jackpot for the second straight year? We're about to find out.

Here's everything you need to know about the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, which goes down tonight live from the Sportsnet studios in downtown Toronto.

Prior to last year, a single lottery determined only the first pick - meaning, at worst, the team finishing with the fewest points in the regular season would pick no lower than second overall. But for the second straight year, three separate draws will assign the first, second and third overall selections, giving teams multiple chances to improve their drafting position.

But the odds aren't quite what they used to be.

The expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who begin play this fall, are in the mix this year, increasing the number of teams to 15 and reducing everyone else's odds in the process. For example: Last year's lottery winner, the Toronto Maple Leafs - who finished 30th in 2016 - had a 20 per cent shot at winning the first pick. This year, the odds for the last-place Colorado Avalanche have been reduced to 18 per cent as a result.

The Golden Knights have been granted the same odds of winning the first pick as the third-worst regular-season team, the Arizona Coyotes (10.3 per cent)

The Jets, meanwhile, have a 2.7 per cent chance of landing 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 12-15.

The Jets have a 76.4 per cent chance of staying right where they are now at No. 12. But as you may recall nearly one year ago, with less than a 1-in-10 chance, Lady Luck smiled on Winnipeg.

Tweet from @NHLJets: We're picking 2nd overall!

For the Jets to pick 13th (14.3 per cent), any of the three teams that finished higher in the standings (Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders) would have to win one of the three lotteries. To fall back to 14th (0.5 per cent), two of those teams would have to win; 15th (<0.1 per cent)…you>get the idea.

But don't take our word for it. Give a try or 10 with this handy and super addicting simulator created by Rob Zaenglein of Buffalo.


In past years, 14 balls numbered one to 14 were placed in the drum and drawn in 10-second intervals to produce a four-number combination. Each team has been assigned the number of combinations proportional to their odds. With a 2.7 per cent chance to win the No. 1 pick, the Jets would own 27 of the 1001 possible combinations (the series 11, 12, 13 and 14 is classified as a re-draw).

The combinations are assigned at random by Bortz & Company, while the drawing process is supervised by the accounting firm Ernst & Young.


The lottery results will be broadcast live on CBC and Sportsnet beginning at 6:30pm CDT, just prior to Game 2 of the Second Round series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.  

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 15th
Colorado Avalanche 18.0% 16.0% 14.1% 52.0%                      
Vancouver Canucks 12.1% 11.8% 11.3% 34.0% 30.7%                    
Vegas Golden Knights 10.3% 10.3% 10.1% 11.8% 39.3% 18.1%                  
Arizona Coyotes 10.3% 10.3% 10.1% 2.1% 22.8% 34.6% 9.7%                
New Jersey Devils 8.5% 8.7% 8.8%   7.2% 33.0% 28.7% 5.2%              
Buffalo Sabres 7.6% 7.8% 8.0%     14.3% 38.2% 28.7% 2.6%            
Detroit Red Wings 6.7% 7.0% 7.2%       23.4% 39.7% 14.8% 1.2%          
Dallas Stars 5.8% 6.1% 6.4%         33.7% 37.9% 9.5% 0.5%        
Florida Panthers 5.4% 5.7% 6.0%           44.7% 32.7% 5.4% 0.2%      
Los Angeles Kings 4.5% 4.8% 5.1%             56.5% 26.4% 2.7% 0.1%    
Carolina Hurricanes 3.2% 3.4% 3.7%               67.8% 20.7% 1.3% <0.1%  
Winnipeg Jets 2.7% 2.9% 3.2%                 76.4% 14.3% 0.5% <0.1%
Philadelphia Flyers 2.2% 2.4% 2.7%                   84.3% 8.3% 0.1%
Tampa Bay Lightning 1.8% 2.0% 2.2%                     91.2% 2.9%
New York Islanders 0.9% 1.0% 1.1%                       97.0%


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