Well, Tank Nation, it all comes down to this. The Vancouver Canucks will find out their positioning for the next month’s draft lottery tonight, as they play their 82nd and final game of the 2022-23 season.
The Canucks are in a tight race with the St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings, and Washington Capitals, with all four teams playing their final game tonight. The quartet of teams has each been eliminated from the playoffs and they have nothing to play for, except for the tank.
The Canucks are currently in 23rd place, tied with St. Louis in points (81), but below them due to the regulation wins tiebreaker. Detroit is right behind the Canucks, with 80 points, while the Washington Capitals have 79 points.
That’s a big change from two months ago. When Bruce Boudreau was fired on January 22nd, the Canucks were seven points behind Detroit, 10 points behind St. Louis, and 17 points behind Washington.
Vancouver was in 27th place then. Depending on tonight’s results, the Canucks could finish anywhere between 22nd and 25th.
The good news for draft-eyeing fans is the Canucks will lose the tiebreaker with the other three teams. The bad news is, they’ll need help to drop in the standings.
Detroit plays on the road tonight against a powerhouse Tampa Bay team, though the Lightning doesn’t have anything to play for. Washington hosts the New Jersey Devils, a team still gunning for first place in their division. St. Louis, meanwhile, is on the road in Dallas, against a Stars team still eyeing first place.
The Canucks have by far the weakest opponent of the four teams in this turtle derby, the Arizona Coyotes, at Mullet Arena in Tempe.
In order to drop below the Red Wings, the Canucks need to lose tonight’s game in Arizona and have Detroit pick up at least a point. If Vancouver loses in overtime or a shootout, they’ll need the Red Wings to win.
To drop below the Capitals, the Canucks need a regulation loss in their own game combined with a Washington win.
The Canucks will remain below the Blues as long as they don’t pick up more points than St. Louis tonight.
So how does this affect Vancouver’s pursuit of Connor Bedard?
If the Canucks finish 22nd, they’ll have just a 3% shot at winning the first overall pick. If they drop to 25th, they’ll have 6% odds.
That’s not a big drop in absolute probability — just a 3% difference. What it will affect greatly is their most likely draft position.
The team that finishes 22nd (currently St. Louis) will have a 79.9% chance of picking 11th. The 23rd team (currently Vancouver) has a 73.3% chance to pick 10th, while the 24th team (currently Detroit) has a 64.4% shot to pick ninth. The 25th team (currently Washington) has a 44.4% chance of picking eighth.
The draft lottery is set for May 8, at 4 pm PT. The NHL’s regular season concludes tomorrow, with the Stanley Cup Playoffs beginning on Monday.