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How Does the NHL Draft Lottery Drawing Work?

Learn how the NHL Draft order is determined and watch a behind the scenes look at how the lottery balls are selected

by LA Kings @LAKings /

The 2019 NHL Draft Lottery will be held in Toronto on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App.

The lottery will set the order for the first 15 selections of the 2019 NHL Draft, which will be held at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on June 21-22.

How is the Order of the NHL Draft Determined?

Each of the 15 teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs (or the teams that have acquired the first-round pick of a non-playoff team) will participate. The odds of each team winning is allocated based on inverse order of the final season standings.

Three separate drawings will be held:

  • The first determines the No. 1 selection.
  • The odds for the remaining teams will be adjusted proportionally for the second drawing, which will determine the No. 2 pick.
  • Then, again, for the third drawing, which will determine the No. 3 pick. 

The remaining teams will then receive picks 4-15 based on inverse order of the standings. Any of the 15 teams can win the lottery, but no team can move back more than three spots.

How are Teams Selected?

Four-digit combinations are randomly generated by computers and then randomly assigned to the non-playoff teams.

There are 14 lottery balls, numbered 1-14. The balls are loaded 1-through-14 into the machine by a different lottery technician each year, with independent representatives as well as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman looking on.

Once the balls are loaded, the machine is switched on by the technician. An NHL representative calls for a draw of each of four balls at 15-second intervals, with Bettman making the draw.

Behind the Scenes at the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery Drawing

Video: Go inside the Draft Lottery drawing

When the winner of the first drawing is verified, the four balls drawn are released back into the machine. The same procedure follows for the second and third drawings.

Since a team can't win more than one drawing, a redraw is conducted after a repeat winner.

The results are verified and the people who witnessed the drawing, including one representative from each team, must stay in the room until the results are announced live on the air.

Which Team has the Best Odds for the No. 1 Pick?
Draft Position
Colorado Avalanche (via OTT)
LA Kings
New Jersey Devils
Detroit Red Wings
Buffalo Sabres
New York Rangers
Edmonton Oilers
Anaheim Ducks
Vancouver Canucks
Philadelphia Flyers
Minnesota Wild
Chicago Blackhawks
Florida Panthers
Arizona Coyotes
Montreal Canadiens

What are the Percentage Odds for Each Team's Draft Position?

How to Watch the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery
  • NHL Draft Lottery Drawing
  • Tuesday, April 9 at 5 p.m.
  • Online: NBC Sports App
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