Just how close did the Montreal Canadiens come to getting Connor Bedard?
Closer than you might think.
The NHL draft lottery television show is a dramatic reveal of the top 16 picks, with deputy commissioner Bill Daly doing the honours.
The actual draft lottery is much less dramatic, held behind closed doors with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman overseeing the proceedings after reading pages of rules and regulations.
A lottery machine containing 14 balls, numbered 1 to 14, draws four balls to decide the first overall pick. There were 1,001 possible four-number combinations, regardless of sequence.
The winning combination of numbers, which belonged to the Chicago Blackhawks, ended up being 4, 5, 9, and 13.
Meanwhile, the Habs, who held an 8.5% chance of winning the lottery, had the 4, 5, 9, and 11 combinations in their possession. That means they were just one ping-pong ball away from having the chance to draft top prospect Connor Bedard instead of ending up with the fifth overall pick.
The Anaheim Ducks had better odds than any other team (25.5%) but won the second overall selection instead.
The Canadiens will get the first crack at the podium this year when they are selected fifth overall in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
“I think we’re going to be a really good hockey player at five,” general manager Kent Hughes told media members after the lottery results came in. “It’s a talented [draft] group, and we’re confident we’ll be getting a very talented player at five.”
The last time Montreal held that selection was back in 2005. They used the pick to select a young goaltender named Carey Price.