The NHL draft lottery was bad to us back in 2007.
The Flyers were by far the worst team in the NHL that year -- the only time in their history they finished as the worst team in hockey, which through nearly 50 seasons is pretty impressive -- and yet, when the ping pong balls fell, the top pick was awarded to the Chicago Blackhawks instead of the Flyers.
Philadelphia missed out on consensus top choice Patrick Kane and instead drafted James van Riemsdyk with the No. 2 overall pick. As it turned out, Philly was not a patient enough place for the Central Jersey native JvR, and he was traded in 2011 after "disappointing" in his time here. Meanwhile .... well, we all know what Patrick Kane has done in Chicago since his draft year, including one particular goal that we shall not speak of.
Anyway, the point is that the draft lottery sucks -- and this year, it could suck a whole lot more. There are two prized prospects in this year's draft, Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid and Boston University stud Jack Eichel, so the NHL-worst Buffalo Sabres are guaranteed at least one of those two players. But the second-worst Arizona Coyotes could get bumped back to third in the draft order after the lottery, leaving them without one of those two big-name stars.
That's not to say any of the potential No. 3 picks in this draft are bad. There's Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin or McDavid's Erie teammate Dylan Strome, and surely they would be good picks too. But neither has the name recognition or flat-out game-changing potential that Eichel and McDavid do, so the Coyotes are certainly hoping that the Sabres win the lottery and that the draft order doesn't change.
How does the draft lottery work?
It's pretty simple. One team will win the lottery. That team will select first overall in the draft, and every other team will subsequently select in order of finish. If Buffalo wins the lottery, nothing changes. If Buffalo loses the lottery, they will select No. 2 overall behind the team that wins the lottery, then Arizona will select No. 3 overall, and then we'll go down the list.
The Philadelphia Flyers finished with the seventh-worst record in the NHL this season. That means they will select either No. 1 overall (if they win the lottery), No. 7 overall (if a team worse than them wins the lottery) or No. 8 overall (if a team better than them wins the lottery).
The odds of winning are slightly different this year versus in previous years, as you'll see in the chart below.
Non-Playoff Team (Rank)
2015 Draft Lottery (Old Odds)
|Odds of Staying Put||Odds of Falling|
|Buffalo (1)||20% (25%)||20.0%||80.0%|
|Arizona (2)||13.5% (18.8%)||20.0%||66.5%|
|Edmonton (3)||11.5% (14.2%)||33.5%||55.0%|
|Toronto (4)||9.5% (10.7%)||45.0%||45.5%|
|Carolina (5)||8.5% (8.1%)||54.5%||37.0%|
|New Jersey (6)||7.5% (6.2%)||63.0%||29.5%|
|Philadelphia (7)||6.5% (4.7%)||70.5%||23.0%|
|Columbus (8)||6.0% (3.6%)||77.0%||17.0%|
|San Jose(9)||5.0% (2.7%)||83.0%||12%|
|Colorado (10)||3.5% (2.1%)||88.0%||8.5%|
|Florida (11)||3.0% (1.5%)||91.5%||5.5%|
|Dallas (12)||2.5% (1.1%)||94.5%||3.0%|
|Los Angeles (13)||2.0% (0.8%)||97.0%||1.0%|
|Boston (14)||1.0% (0.5%)||99.0%||-|
So ... the Flyers have a 6.5 percent chance of landing Connor McDavid. Not likely. But hey, you never know.
The NHL draft lottery will reportedly be held next Saturday, April 18 before that evening's NHL playoff action.