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NHL Draft Lottery Odds: From 1-in-5 to 1 percent

The Islanders are in the bad kind of “one percent.”

NHL Draft Lottery Drawing
Hey, don’t look so bemused.
Photo by Abelimages / Getty Images for NHL

Despite a turnaround under interim head coach Doug Weight, despite finishing the season with six straight wins, despite having a roster that was mostly healthy all season, the New York Islanders narrowly missed the 2016-17 playoffs.

So narrowly, in fact, they were the closest team to not make it, which isn’t even a moral victory. What do they get for being the “best” non-playoff team?

Lottery hopes!

Albeit, not very good ones. In its continuing tweaks to try to make tanking not quite a sure thing, these days any non-playoff team with a first-round pick has a chance at winning the lottery for first overall pick. (And then, failing that, a chance at the second or third pick.)

But the odds, spread out over 15 non-playoff teams (remember, Vegas is part of this now), are pretty poor for the Islanders. The team with the best odds, the historically bad Avalanche, have just under a one-in-five shot. The Islanders, at the other end, have less than a one-percent chance.

Oh well. Here’s how they stack up for chances of getting the first pick, with the expansion Vegas Knights being dropped into the equivalent of the third-best slot:

Colorado Avalanche: 18%
Vancouver Canucks: 12.1%
Vegas Golden Knights: 10.3%
Arizona Coyotes: 10.3%
New Jersey Devils: 8.5%
Buffalo Sabres: 7.6%
Detroit Red Wings: 6.7%
Dallas Stars: 5.8%
Florida Panthers: 5.4%
Los Angeles Kings: 4.5%
Carolina Hurricanes: 3.2%
Winnipeg Jets: 2.7%
Philadelphia Flyers: 2.2%
Tampa Bay Lightning: 1.8%
New York Islanders: 0.9%


The lottery will take place Saturday, April 29. Coverage of the results will be on NBC Sports, CBC and TVA at 8 p.m. EDT that day.

Further Rules

Technically, there will be three lottery draws:

After the first draw, the odds for the remaining teams will increase on a proportionate basis for the 2nd Lottery Draw, based on which club wins the 1st Lottery. Draw, and again for the 3rd Lottery Draw, based on which club wins the 2nd Lottery Draw.

The 12 clubs not selected in the Draft Lottery will be assigned NHL Draft selections 4 through 15, in inverse order of regular-season points.

So while the Islanders have a horrible chance of getting the first overall pick, they have a slightly less horrible chance of getting the 2nd or the 3rd overall pick. How less horrible? “Proportionate.”

So there.