The Canucks were closer to winning the NHL Draft Lottery than you think

Apr 30 2018, 11:57 pm

Another year, another disappointment at the NHL Draft Lottery for the Vancouver Canucks.

Is anyone surprised?

The Canucks, who have the worst record in the National Hockey League over the past three seasons, will draft seventh. While No. 7 is far away from No. 1, we now know that the Canucks were actually much closer than you think to winning the lottery this year.

The lottery show that you see on TV looks relatively simple, with deputy commissioner Bill Daly flipping cards to reveal the draft order as a bunch of hockey executives (no mascots allowed, apparently) sit emotionless in a television studio in Toronto. But the process is actually much more complicated (and boring, if you can believe it).

The lottery was conducted behind the scenes, with witnesses on hand. Four numbers were drawn, with each team having unique combinations that would have resulted in a win for them.

There were 1,000 combinations in total, with the Canucks holding 75 of them this year (ie. they had a 7.5% chance of winning).

The first three numbers drawn were 1, 4, and 14 – leaving the Canucks with two numbers remaining that would have seen them win the right to draft Rasmus Dahlin first overall. Buffalo, Arizona, and Chicago also had two combinations left that would have seen them win, while Ottawa had three.

As each number was drawn, the Canucks’ odds improved.

Before the last number was drawn, our team had an 18.2% chance of winning. If the number 8 or 10 was picked, Dahlin would be looking for a place to live in Vancouver right now.

But alas, the last number was 6 – meaning Buffalo got the big prize.

The Canucks were one number away from winning the lottery last season as well, though they had just one number (not two, like this year) remaining that would have secured the top pick. The Canucks needed 11 last year, but the final number was 12.

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