Hockey fans have a little something extra to be excited about in addition to the ongoing action from the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery takes place Tuesday with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT on Sportsnet. The pending results will determine the order of the first 16 selections of this summer’s draft.
Representatives from the NHL’s non-playoff teams will gather at the NHL Network’s New Jersey studio for the live annual reveal of the top half of the first-round draft order.
The Montreal Canadiens carry the best odds this year after finishing a league-worst 22-49-11 only one season after a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. The Canadiens have held the No. 1 pick an NHL record five times, however all those instances occurred between 1963 and 1980.
The last time a Canadian franchise besides the Edmonton Oilers or Toronto Maple Leafs had the top pick was in 1996 when the Ottawa Senators used it to take Chris Phillips.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS YEAR’S LOTTERY?
The draft lottery underwent a couple tweaks to its format in 2021. Not only was there the addition of a 32nd franchise, the Seattle Kraken, but the NHL downsized to two lotteries instead of three. There had been separate draws held for each of the top three picks from 2016 to 2020.
Two new changes go into effect this year and the main alteration is a big one. Teams will now be restricted from moving up more than 10 spots in the pre-draft order. This means that unlike in the preceding years, not all teams participating in the lottery are eligible to win one of the top two picks. The main purpose for this change was to ensure the team that finishes last in the standings in the regular season won’t be slated to pick any worse than third overall.
Also going forward, no team can win the top pick in the draft lottery more than twice in a five-year span. Whichever team wins the No. 1 pick on Tuesday will only be eligible to do so one more time between 2023 and 2026. The Oilers, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils each won the draft lottery multiple times over the past decade.
WHAT CAN THE LOTTERY-WINNING TEAMS EXPECT IN JULY?
Tuesday’s draft lottery results will see one team cement its right to select consensus top prospect Shane Wright.
The Kingston Frontenacs star followed up a rookie junior season during which he scored 39 goals and 66 points by setting personal highs of 62 assists and 94 points in 63 games in 2021-22.
Wright will be preparing for an OHL playoff game against the North Bay Battalion while the lottery and television presentation is happening, but the forward has expressed his desire to be the top choice of whichever team wins the lottery.
Forwards Logan Cooley (USNTDP), Juraj Slafkovsky (Liiga’s TPS Turku), Matthew Savoie (WHL’s Winnipeg Ice), and defencemen Simon Nemec (HK Nitra in Slovakia) and David Jiricek (Extraliiga’s HC Plzen) are among the other top prospects in the 2022 draft class.
“The upper-end of this draft class is extremely diverse,” Sportsnet’s Sam Costentino wrote in his April NHL Draft rankings. “Not just from a nationality perspective, but from a hockey perspective. We have smaller, skilled forwards. We have plenty of right-shot options at both forward and defence. We have some massive defencemen, but there are also a few smallish, slick-skating D as well.”
The 2022 NHL Draft takes place July 7-8 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
WHICH TEAMS HAVE THE BEST ODDS TO WIN LOTTERY?
1. Montreal Canadiens (18.5 per cent)
2. Arizona Coyotes (13.5 per cent)
3. Seattle Kraken (11.5 per cent)
4. Philadelphia Flyers (9.5 per cent)
5. New Jersey Devils (8.5 per cent)
6. Chicago Blackhawks* (7.5 per cent)
7. Ottawa Senators (6.5 per cent)
8. Detroit Red Wings (6 per cent)
9. Buffalo Sabres (5 per cent)
10. Anaheim Ducks (3.5 per cent)
11. San Jose Sharks (3 per cent)
12. Columbus Blue Jackets (2.5 per cent)
13. New York Islanders (2 per cent)
14. Winnipeg Jets (1.5 per cent)
15. Vancouver Canucks (0.5 per cent)
16. Vegas Golden Knights** (0.5 per cent)
* – As part of the Seth Jones trade, Chicago will transfer its 2022 first-round pick to Columbus if it is not a top-two pick. If Chicago wins one of the two lotteries on Tuesday, Chicago will keep the pick and instead send its 2023 first-round selection to Columbus.
** – As part of the Jack Eichel trade, Vegas will transfer its 2022 first-round pick to Buffalo if it is not a top 10 pick. If Vegas wins one of the two lotteries on Tuesday, Vegas will keep the pick and instead send its 2023 first-round selection to Buffalo.
Montreal has a 25.5-per-cent chance of securing the No. 1 pick, even though the team has 18.5-per-cent odds to win the first draw specifically. That’s where the new lottery restrictions benefit the Canadiens this year since Montreal will still retain the top selection if any of the bottom five teams win the lottery.
Odds will readjust after the initial draw and the remaining 15 teams will have their odds increase proportionally for the second draw depending on which team wins the first lottery.
The 14 teams that don’t win either draw will be given the remaining selections in reverse order of most regular-season points.
The new lottery restrictions mean the Blue Jackets, Islanders, Jets, Canucks and Golden Knights won’t be eligible to land the top pick through the lottery this year.
The Coyotes, Kraken, Ducks and Sharks all have a chance at winning the No. 1 pick for the first time in franchise history.
NOTABLE LOTTERY SCENARIOS
The teams are now at the mercy of odds. All involved will obviously want the No. 1 or No. 2 pick yet depending on which way the numbers fall there could be a handful of notable best/worst case outcomes such as…
Neither Montreal nor Arizona win either lottery draw: The Canadiens and Coyotes were the only two teams to finish the season with fewer than 60 points in the standings. No team scored fewer goals than Arizona and no team allowed more goals than Montreal. Both teams have multiple first-round picks – Montreal has Calgary’s while Arizona also has Carolina’s and Colorado’s – but if either misses out on a top-two pick, the front offices and fan bases won’t be able to hide the disappointment. Teams with top-two odds have ended up without a top-two pick in three of the past five lotteries.
Buffalo’s night could fluctuate greatly with the Vegas variable: An optimist will envision the Sabres ending up with the first or second pick as well as the 16th-overall selection courtesy of Vegas. A pessimist would consider that Buffalo could get bumped out of the top 10, or possibly even watch the Golden Knights win an improbable top-two pick and then be stuck with Vegas’s 2023 pick that likely won’t be as high as the No. 16 spot if Vegas returns to the playoffs next year.
Columbus could wind up with two top-10 picks: The Blue Jackets are another team hoping to walk away big winners heading into the draft. The perfect night for Jarmo Kekäläinen’s club would see the Blue Jackets win a top-two pick with their own lottery selection as Chicago misses out on both. That way Columbus could end up with two in the top 10. Even if Columbus’s own name isn’t called, the Blue Jackets just don’t want to see luck fall Chicago’s way.
RECENT NHL DRAFT LOTTERY RESULTS
The NHL introduced the multiple-draw lottery system in 2016, the year after the Oilers ended up with Connor McDavid.
The team with the worst regular-season record has ended up with the first-overall pick in three of the past six years.
The biggest jumps up the board since multiple lotteries were introduced were the New York Rangers leapfrogging seven teams to win in 2020 and the New Jersey Devils jumping up four spots in 2017.
Notable wins in the second-place lottery saw the Flyers move up 11 spots in 2017 and the Hurricanes rise nine spots in 2018.
In 2021, the Sabres had the worst record, best odds and won the top pick, later selecting blueliner Owen Power first overall. The Kraken won the No. 2 pick despite having the third-best odds. The expansion team leapfrogged the Ducks and ended up selecting Matty Beniers second overall. Anaheim went with Mason McTavish after falling one spot to third overall.