Prospect Ramblings: The lottery’s luckiest (and unluckiest)

Hayden Soboleski


This probably isn't the first post-NHL-draft-lottery post you've read in the last 12 hours, and right now every team is either lamenting the format or drooling about what players will be available at their pick. The DobberProspects team will be doing  full mock draft in due time, but in the immediate aftermath of last night's shocking results, let's take a look at which teams came out the luckiest and unluckiest:


 Team  Pick order  Odds of this position
 New Jersey Devils  1  8.5%
 Philidelphia Flyers  2  2.4%
 Dallas Stars  3  6.4%
 Colorado Avalanche  4  51.9%
 Vancouver Canucks  5  30.7%
 Vegas Golden Knights  6  18.1%
 Arizona Coyotes  7  9.7%
 Buffalo Sabres  8  21.4%
 Detroit Red Wings  9  14.8%
 Florida Panthers  10  32.8%
 LA Kings  11  26.4%
 Carolina Hurricanes  12  20.6%
 Winnipeg Jets  13  14.3%
 Tampa Bay Lightning  14  91.2%
 New York Islanders  15  97.0%


Luckiest team:

The Devils, Flyers, and Stars all made big jumps at the lottery, but by the odds of landing where they did – the Philidelphia Flyers are by far the luckiest organization in the league. Only a 2.4% chance at the 2nd-overall spot, and looks like the anti-tanking mechanics have done Ron Hextall and co. a big favor.


Unluckiest teams: 

This is a less obvious observation. Most people will tell you (justifiably) that Colorado got royally…disserviced. They had the best odds of any team at the top picks, but ended up picking 4th. But the reality is that this position was always the most likely for them with a 51.9% chance. 


The team that actually ended up in the least likely position (in a bad way) respective to their finish was the Arizona Coyotes. They actually had a better chance at landing the 1st-overall-pick than they did at landing in 7th, and if that isn't a low-PDO situation I don't know what is. 


So, by the numbers (and the way I interpret them), Arizona was the unluckiest team in the lottery. I do however see the need to look at this a different way. Even though Arizona ended up in an unlikely spot – 7th rather than the most likey 6th – getting burned in this range isn't even close to as damaging as the Avalanche missing out on the 1st. So here's another list of numbers to help determine which team's fans have the right to be the saddest right now:


 Team  Actual position  Pre-lottery position  Difference
 New Jersey Devils  1  5  -4
 Philidelphia Flyers  2  13  -11
 Dallas Stars  3  8  -5
 Colorado Avalanche  4  1  +3
 Vancouver Canucks  5  2  +3
 Vegas Golden Knights  6  3  +3
 Arizona Coyotes  7  4  +3
 Buffalo Sabres  8  6  +2
 Detroit Red Wings  9  7  +2
 Florida Panthers  10  9  +1
 LA Kings  11  10  +1
 Carolina Hurricanes  12  11  +1
 Winnipeg Jets  13  12  +1
 Tampa Bay Lightning  14  14  0
 New York Islanders  15  15  0


From this table, based only on movement in the standings, we see that Colorado, Vancouver, Las Vegas, and Arizona all got moved (the wrong direction) the same amount. And if this is how we want to gauge unluckiness, then the Colorado Avalanche get first dibs on sympathy since moving 3 spots out of the top pick is a worse fate than moving 3 spots out of the 4th spot. In this regard, its absolutely fair to say Colorado got robbed the most.


Even so, let's take a step back and look at the big picture:

  • Colorado has MacKinnon, Jost, Rantanen, and whatever the return is for Duchene.
  • Vancouver has Boeser, Dahlen, and Demko.
  • Arizona has Keller, Strome, and too many other talented youngsters to list without upping my word count way higher than I want to on a Sunday morning. 


The team that needed their position most in this draft was the Vegas Golden Knights. They will be starting from scratch and have very little in the organization cupboard to base a future around. They dont have a history of picks, and by all odds will have a mediocre team in the upcoming season. The ownership group also paid half a billion dollars for the franchise. They both deserved and needed a top spot in the draft and they got shafted, so despite any math saying otherwise, they are my pick for the league's unluckiest team in the lottery.



The top tweet of the night regarding the NHL Draft Lottery undoubtedly goes to fellow Kingston-native Taylor Hall with this hilarious (and more than a little sad) beauty:


Thank you to the wonderful website for providing the data I used in these Ramblings.



As always, thank you for reading and best of luck in round two of your playoff pools!

Hayden Soboleski





Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Logan Stankoven 9.0 8.0
Mavrik Bourque 8.5 9.0
Justin Hryckowian 5.5 6.0
Andrei Buyalsky 4.5 3.5
Ivan Ivan 4.5 7.0
Matthew Stienburg 3.5 6.0
Oskar Olausson 7.5 8.5
Sampo Ranta 6.0 6.5
Tristan Luneau 7.5 8.0
Zachary Nehring 4.5 5.0