2013 NHL Draft Lottery

Call me a pessimist. I’ve already come to terms with the loss of another NHL season, with hopes that there will be compromise and agreement in time to salvage a 2013-2014 campaign. Thinking in that mode saves me from disappointment and allows me to think of story lines from this coming summer, including the 2013 NHL Draft.

One can assume that with the loss of an entire season, a lottery systems similar to the one used in determining how to give the Penguins Sidney Crosby the 2005 draft order will be implemented. For those who have forgotten how that process worked:
-Each team starts with 3 ping pong balls

-Subtract 1 ball for each playoff appearance in the prior 3 seasons

-Subtract 1 ball for each #1 overall pick made in the last 3 drafts

-Each team gets at least 1 ball

Based on that simple process, the ping pong ball totals would look like this:

3 Balls: Calgary, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, Islanders, Toronto, Winnipeg

2 Balls: Anaheim, Colorado, Florida, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

1 Ball: Everyone Else

So, two Southeast Division teams have three ping pong balls in the hopper, while another two will have two balls. Poor Edmonton, despite not having seen playoff hockey in a long time, gets only one ball on account of winning the lottery in each of the last 3 seasons. Boo. Hoo. 

So is this the best way of determining the lottery order? Maybe. It certainly takes into account recent upward or downward trends in the standings. But a team like Dallas, with several high-end scorers and tons of upside, receiving the same number of balls as Toronto or Columbus seems odd. 

Let’s take a look at the breakdown if you look at the league as a whole, with the overall top-16 teams in the league (regardless of conference) losing a ball:

3 Balls: Carolina, Columbus, Minnesota, Islanders, Toronto, Winnipeg

2 Balls: Anaheim Calgary, Colorado, Dallas, Florida, Montreal, Rangers, Tampa Bay

1 Ball: Everyone Else

So Dallas and Calgary move down, while Montreal and the Rangers move up. Seeing as how I have problems giving either of those teams anything, I propose a simple twist to the lottery rules: Subtract one ball for EITHER a playoff appearance or top-16 finish in the overall NHL standings. That would take a ball away from Montreal and the Rangers, leaving a final draft lottery looking like this:

3 Balls: Carolina, Columbus, Minnesota, Islanders, Toronto, Winnipeg

2 Balls: Anaheim Calgary, Colorado, Dallas, Florida, Tampa Bay

1 Ball: Everyone Else

Does this account for trends (the Caps dropping from a 1 or 2 down to a 7th seed, St. Louis’ rise last season, Carolina’s ‘now stacked on paper’ team)? No. But in the spirit of compromise, it’s probably the best we can do.

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