Colorado Avalanche: Key Points for the Draft Lottery

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche are one of 15 teams competing for the first-overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. The Avs have the best chance at winning that pick.

The Colorado Avalanche have returned home after a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. That means the Avalanche finished with a 22-56-4 record and 48 points, making them last in the NHL by 21 points.

Time was finishing last in the NHL meant you automatically got the first-overall pick in the draft. However, the rules changed to try and prevent teams from tanking in order to secure that pick.

The NHL Draft Lottery will be held Saturday, April 29. While the time hasn’t been release yet, last year the lottery took place at 6:00 pm MDT.

Draft Lottery Rules

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All teams that didn’t make the playoffs participate in the draft lottery. This year the expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, is also participating. The lottery is used to select the order for the top three picks.

Each team is assigned odds based on its place in the standings at the end of the season. Unfortunately teams don’t get better odds for being especially bad. And because of the addition of the Golden Knights, the Colorado Avalanche only have a 17.936% chance of winning the first-overall instead of the 20% from previous years.

Once the team has been selected for the first pick, the draft lottery is run two more times for numbers two and three. The odds for the teams not selected for first overall will increase for picks two and three.

From there, the remaining selections are assigned based on placement in the standings.

That means the Colorado Avalanche, despite having a measly 48 points this season, can fall all the way to fourth.

How the Draft Lottery Works

Each NHL team not competing in the playoffs is assigned a series of four different numbers from 1 – 14. The number of numerical series depends on the team’s given odds for the draft lottery.

Here are the odds for the first pick:

  • Colorado Avalanche: 17.936%
  • Vancouver Canucks: 12.124%
  • Las Vegas Golden Knights: 10.321%
  • Arizona Couotes: 10.321%
  • New Jersey Devils: 8.517%
  • Buffalo Sabres: 7.615%
  • Detroit Red Wings: 6.713%
  • Dallas Stars: 5.812%
  • Florida Panthers: 5.411%
  • Los Angeles Kings: 4.509%
  • Carolina Hurricanes: 3.106%
  • Winnipeg Jets: 2.705%
  • Philadelphia Flyers: 2.204%
  • Tampa Bay Lightning: 1.804%
  • New York Islanders: 0.902%

As stated above, once a team is assigned the first-overall pick, the remaining teams see an increase in their odds for the second and then third picks.

Now, there are plenty of draft lottery simulators on the internet — and I’m going to run the Colorado Avalanche’s odds at the end of this post — but the NHL uses an actual system of balls in a cage like, well, the lottery.

So, what happens is the officials shake up the balls and select four. Those four numbers are matched to a team. For instance, last year one of the Avalanche’s numerical sequences was 3 5 11 13. So, if the officials had pulled those numbers, Colorado would have won that pick.

Last year the Colorado Avalanche had 35 numerical sequences assigned to correspond with its 3.5% odds. The Toronto Maple Leafs, who had the worst record last year, had 200 numerical sequences to correspond with its 20% odds.

The numerical sequences haven’t been released yet. However, based on those numbers above, the Colorado Avalanche should have around 179 sequences.

Running the Simulator

I found three NHL lottery simulators on the internet.

Possibly the most popular is Tankathon. The first time I ran the simulator, the Colorado Avalanche fell to the second-overall selection with the Dallas Stars jumping to first place. The second and third times, Colorado fell to #4.

Moving on. NHL Lottery Simulator is another option. The first time I ran the simulator, the Colorado Avalanche won the first-overall. Let’s stick with that.

Talk Hockey also has a lottery simulator. This one is more interactive — it slowly reveals the top three picks because you have to click the tab. In my first run, Colorado got the third-overall with the Arizona Coyotes winning first overall. The second time, the Avalanche won the first-overall, so I’m going to leave it there.

Next: Saying Goodbye to the Lost Season

The 2017 NHL Draft isn’t as talented as the last couple years. The top two picks are forward Nico Hishier and center Nolan Patrick, with players like defenseman Timothy Liljegren and center Gabriel Vilardi right behind. These are top-10 players in the previous year, but only Patrick and Hischier are maybe top-five.

So, even if the Colorado Avalanche get the first-overall draft pick, they’re not going to get a generational player like Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews. Nonetheless, they will get a good player who will help in the team rebuild.