NHL Draft lottery set for Tuesday night; What are the odds and how does it work?

While most everyone is focused on the playoffs, there’s the other side of the coin for teams that are headed to the golf course. For those teams they’ve got the NHL Draft to look forward to at the end of June and for the teams that missed the playoffs, there’s one formality to take care of before that.

The NHL Draft lottery may not get quite the hype and publicity that it’s NBA brethren might, but the chances of a shakeup in the draft order are just as high. While the NHL lottery hasn’t quite produced the same Earth-shaking changes there’s always the chance that things will go against the grain given how the standings shake out.

At 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday (on Versus), the 14 teams that missed the postseason get to see if they can slide up the rankings at all. As for the odds of how a team can do in the lottery, the odds look like this:

Edmonton – 25.0%
Colorado – 18.8%
Florida – 14.2%
N.Y. Islanders – 10.7%
Ottawa – 8.1%
Atlanta – 6.2%
Columbus – 4.7%
New Jersey – 3.6%
Boston (from Toronto) – 2.7%
Minnesota – 2.1%
Colorado (conditional/optional from St. Louis) – 1.5%
Carolina – 1.1%
Calgary – 0.8%
Dallas – 0.5%

If you’re thinking that these odds differ from the NBA lottery, they don’t but the way the NHL does the lottery means that the teams that just missed out on the playoffs can’t steal their way to the first pick overall. In the NBA that has happened in the past. The NHL does things different so that teams that do the poorest don’t get totally screwed:

“Per NHL rules, the club selected in the Draft Drawing may not move up more than four positions in the draft order. Thus, the only clubs with the opportunity to receive the first overall selection are the five teams with the lowest regular-season point totals, or the clubs that acquired an eligible club’s first-round draft pick. No club will move down more than one position as a result of the Draft Drawing.”

That means that Edmonton, Colorado, Florida, the New York Islanders and Ottawa are the only teams with a shot at the No. 1 pick. Luck has been on the side of the No. 5 team in the past as the Islanders moved up from five to No. 1 back in 2000. That year they took Rick DiPietro first overall. In 2007, Chicago moved from fifth to first and drafted Patrick Kane with the top pick that year. Fate can be bountiful and cruel all the same apparently.

This year, there’s no definitive top player to be taken in the draft and any number of top prospects could go first. Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson, along with North American forwards Jonathan Huberdeau, Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sean Couturier should make up the top five in the 2011 draft. As to who could go where, your guess is as good as ours right now.

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record

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When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?

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You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
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If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.