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The Sarnia Sting's Nail Yakupov is expected to be drafted first overall in this year's NHL entry draft.

Tim Fraser/Tim Fraser/The Globe and Mail

This is, incredibly, the 18th year of the NHL's draft lottery system, which was designed basically after the Ottawa Senators "tanked" in order to pick Alexandre Daigle in 1993.

Karma may have caught up with them there.

The lottery system is pretty complicated, but the basics are that teams can only move up a maximum of four spots and down a maximum of one spot. Only one team "wins" the lottery – everyone else moves based on the team that won.

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That leaves every team with a maximum of only three different spots they can pick in. (The Toronto Maple Leafs, for example, can end up with the first, fifth or sixth overall pick.)

With the draft set to be held at TSN's studios on Tuesday night at 8 p.m., here's a run through of the percentages for all 14 non-playoff teams and where they can end up.


Highest possible pick

Next highest pick

Lowest pick

1. Columbus

1st - 48.2%


2nd - 51.8%

2. Edmonton

1st - 18.8%

2nd - 42%

3rd - 39.2%

3. Montreal

1st - 14.2%

3rd - 56.1%

4th - 29.7%

4. NY Islanders

1st - 10.7%

4th - 66.7%

5th - 22.6%

5. Toronto

1st - 8.1%

5th - 74.7%

6th - 17.2%

6. Anaheim

2nd - 6.2%

6th - 80.7%

7th - 13.1%

7. Minnesota

3rd - 4.7%

7th - 85.4%

8th - 9.9%

8. Carolina

4th - 3.6%

8th - 89%

9th - 7.4%

9. Winnipeg

5th - 2.7%

9th - 91.8%

10th - 5.5%

10. Tampa Bay

6th - 2.1%

10th - 94%

11th - 3.9%

11. Washington*

7th - 1.5%

11th - 96.1%

12th - 2.4%

12. Buffalo

8th - 1.1%

12th - 97.6%

13th - 1.3%

13. Dallas

9th - 0.8%

13th - 98.7%

14th - 0.5%

14. Calgary

10th - 0.5%


14th - 99.5%

Just to be clear, that's the full range of possibilities for every team, so Montreal, for instance, can only wind up with the first, third or fourth pick.

Meanwhile, the teams on the low end there, like Calgary, are almost guaranteed to stay where they finished the year. Only three teams ranked beyond the top five, including the Devils a year ago, have "won" the lottery and moved up.

*- pick acquired from Colorado

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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