NHL's new draft lottery rules prevent Canucks from chance to win first pick

May 9 2022, 11:33 pm

Well isn’t this another case of Canuck luck.

Even if the Vancouver Canucks somehow buck the odds and “win” Tuesday’s draft lottery, they won’t get the first overall pick.

As the club with the second-best record among non-playoff teams this season, the Canucks enter the draft lottery with long odds of winning. Vancouver has just a 0.5% chance of having its number called first, which would result in getting to pick first overall in any other year since 2013.

But not this year.

nhl draft lottery 2022

Chicago’s pick was previously traded to Columbus, while Buffalo owns Vegas’ selection (NHL PR)

New draft lottery rules are in place, and they don’t favour the Canucks.

Only the top two picks will be decided by the weighted lottery, down from three, which was also the case last year. New this year is a rule that prevents teams from moving up in positioning by more than 10 spots.

That means that if the Canucks were somehow able to have their number picked first, they would pick fifth, not first.

The Canucks will likely pick 15th, barring the unlikely scenario that either they or Buffalo (with Vegas’ pick) moves up.

While the rules were in place by the NHL prior to this season, this must seem like bad luck for the Canucks, who have had the short end of the draft lottery stick more than most other teams.

The NHL began deciding the top three spots in the draft by weighted lottery in 2016, with every non-playoff team being given a shot to win.

Not only did the Canucks fail to win the lottery in four consecutive years from 2016 to 2019, they moved down in the order each time: two spots in 2016, three spots in 2017, one spot in 2018, and one spot in 2019.

The Canucks picked Olli Juolevi (2016), Elias Pettersson (2017), Quinn Hughes (2018), and Vasily Podkolzin (2019) in those years. Had the Canucks not dropped, they could have had the opportunity to select Pierre-Luc Dubois (2016), Cale Makar (2017), and Trevor Zegras (2019).

The Canucks haven’t picked in the first round in two consecutive years, which is a franchise first.

Detroit was the only other team to move down four times since 2016, while the total spots dropped by the Canucks (7), trailed only the Red Wings and Senators (8).

Not only have the Canucks never won the draft lottery, they’ve also never picked first overall in their 52-year history. Vancouver had a 50/50 chance to get the first overall pick in their inaugural season, but lost a game of chance to Buffalo in 1970 — the first example of ‘Canuck luck.’

Tuesday’s draft lottery can be seen on Sportsnet, with coverage beginning at 3:30 pm PT.

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