closeThis post was published 6 years 3 months 13 days ago which may make its content inapplicable to the current Islanders roster and/or team news. This site is not responsible for any misunderstanding.

Once again, it’s that very special time of year for the NHL – The Fall of the Balls.

That’s not a crazy innuendo for something either, it’s just reality. This season though, it’s not just called the Draft Lottery, the NHL decided to change things up and re-name it – the NHL Draft Drawing

Each year once the season has completed and right before the playoffs – the NHL hold their annual draft lottery drawing live on television. The teams all have a specific weight (or number of balls in the machine) that will determine where they will select in the NHL Entry Draft in June.

It’s a convoluted system that I only understand because I have been watching closely for a few years now, as the Islanders have now been a lottery team the last four consecutive years. It’s easiest to explain for the bottom five place teams in the league (teams that finish 30 to 26). Those bottom five teams have the best chances at moving up and picking number one overall – and the chances drop off pretty significantly after those spots.

Take a look (emphasis added on the Islanders chances):

Odds of winning the NHL Draft Drawing
Edmonton (30th place) – 25.0 percent
Colorado 29th place – 18.8 percent
Florida 28th place – 14.2 percent
Islanders 27th place – 10.7 percent
Ottawa 26th place – 8.1 percent
Atlanta 25th place – 6.2 percent
Columbus 24th place – 4.7 percent
New Jersey 23rd place – 3.6 percent
Boston (Via Toronto) 22nd place – 2.7 percent
Minnesota 21st place – 2.1 percent
Colorado (conditional/optional from STL) 20th place – 1.5 percent
Carolina 19th place – 1.1 percent
Calgary 18th place – 0.8 percent
Dallas 17th place – 0.5 percent

Some simple rules, no team can jump up more than five spots and no team can move down more than one – so the very worst the Islanders can do tonight is the 5th overall selection, if they retain their selection – it will be the 4th overall selection, and if their 10.7% chance comes in – they will pick first overall for the second time in three years.

Here is a handy chart that I had made last year, and have since updated for this years Lottery:

Year Selected Effect On Draft Order Player Selected
1995 Los Angeles Moved from 7th to 3rd D Aki Berg
1996 Ottawa Retained 1st selection D Chris Phillips
1997 Boston Retained 1st selection C Joe Thornton
1998 Tampa Bay Moved from 3rd to 1st via trades C Vincent Lecavalier
1999 Chicago Moved from 8th to 4th RW Pavel Brendl *
2000 NY Islanders Moved from 5th to 1st G Rick DiPietro
2001 Atlanta Moved from 3rd to 1st LW Ilya Kovalchuk
2002 Florida Moved from 3rd to 1st LW Rick Nash **
2003 Florida Moved from 4th to 1st G Marc-Andre Fleury ***
2004 Washington Moved from 3rd to 1st LW Alex Ovechkin
2005 Pittsburgh n/a (Lockout) C Sidney Crosby
2006 St. Louis Retained 1st selection D Erik Johnson
2007 Chicago Moved from 5th to 1st RW Patrick Kane
2008 Tampa Bay Retained 1st selection C Steven Stamkos
2009 NY Islanders Retained 1st selection C John Tavares
2010 Edmonton Oilers Retained 1st selection LW Taylor Hall

Who do you think that the Islanders will draft out of the top pics? A defenseman or a forward? Let’s hear what you think.