UPDATE 2: Draft Lottery: a primer

Many are wondering what are the odds and rules regarding the draft lottery, since it seems likely the Oilers will be a major player in the lottery. Here is a quick breakdown of what could happen between now and the 2010 draft in Los Angeles.

The history of the lottery since its inception in 1995:

1995 – Los Angeles was 7th, moved to 3rd; Ottawa retained 1st overall pick and took Bryan Berard (they traded him along with Don Beaupre and Martin to the Islanders for the 2nd pick Wade Redden and Damien Rhodes) and the Kings choose Aki-Petteri Berg.

1996 – Ottawa retained 1st overall pick and chose Chris Phillips.

1997 – Boston retained 1st overall pick and took Joe Thornton.

1998 – Tampa Bay was 3rd, moved to 1st and got Vincent Lecavalier. Nashville dropped to second and took David Legwand.

1999 – Chicago was 8th, moved to 4th and traded the pick to the Islanders. Atlanta retained 1st overall pick and took Patrik Stefan.

2000 – NY Islanders was 5th, moved to 1st and took Rick Dipietro. Atlanta dropped to second and took Dany Heatley.

2001 – Atlanta was 3rd, moved to 1st and took Ilya Kovalchuk, while the Islanders dropped to 2nd. They traded the 2nd pick (Jason Spezza) along with Zdeno Chara and Bill Muckult to the Senators for Alexei Yashin. What a horrible trade for the Islanders…WOW.

2002 – Florida was 3rd, moved to 1st and then ended up trading picks with Columbus and ended up taking Jay Bouwmeester 3rd overall.

2003 – Florida was 4th, moved to 1st but traded the pick again. They traded the 1st pick (Marc-Andre Fleury and 73rd pick (Daniel Carcillo) to Pittsburgh for the 3rd pick (Nathan Horton), 55th pick (Stefan Meyer) and Mikael Samuelsson.

2004 – Washington was 3rd, moved to 1st and they took Alex Ovechkin, while Pittsburgh dropped to #2 and took Evgeni Malkin. The Hawks were the big losers dropping down a notch to #3 and settled on Cam Barker.

2005 – Pittsburgh (all 30 teams had a chance at #1) and took Sidney Crosby.

2006 – St. Louis retained 1st overall pick and took Erik Johnson.

2007 – Chicago was 5th, moved to 1st and took Patrick Kane. The Flyers dropped to 2nd and took James Van Riemsdyk.

2008 – Tampa Bay retained 1st overall pick and chose Steven Stamkos.

2009 – NY Islanders retained the 1st overall pick and took John Tavares.

In the 14-year history of the lottery, 2005 doesn’t count because everyone had an equal chance, the team holding the first pick has retained the pick seven times. But the team with the first pick has only won it five times, good for 35%.

It has been mentioned that the last place team has a 25% chance of winning the first pick, but that is technically inaccurate.

Here are the odds based on finish:

30th place has 25.0%
29th place has 18.8%
28th place has 14.2%
27th place has 10.7%
26th place has 8.1%
25th place has 6.2% (can only move up to 2nd pick)
24th place has 4.7% (can only move as high as 3rd)
23rd place has 3.6% (can only move as high as 4th)
22nd place has 2.7% (can only move as high as 5th)
21st place has 2.1% (can only move as high as 6th)
20th place has 1.5% (can only move as high as 7th)
19th place has 1.1% (can only move as high as 8th)
18th place has 0.8% (can only move as high as 9th)
17th place has 0.5% (can only move as high as 10th)

However, since only the bottom five teams have a chance at the first pick, the 30th ranked team actually has a 48.2% chance of maintaining the first overall choice. They can lose the lottery and still maintain the first pick, as long as the winner of the lottery is not the 26th -29th team.

Finishing first gives you the best chance, but based on the first 14 lotteries, finishing 28th is better than finishing 29th, because four times out of 14 the 28th place team has won the lottery and moved up to first. The 29th ranked team has never won.

Isn’t it fitting then that the Oilers currently sit in 29th spot in the league. While you cheer for the DFF or the Fall for Hall, keep in mind that the 29th position of the bottom five teams that has never won the lottery. Bottom five but not second last should be your motto!

Updates from team skate…

One could argue that if the Oilers were preparing for April they would have been better served to go to Palm Springs and golf, but instead they hit the ice today for the first of a two-day mini-camp.

Day one of a brief two-day mid-season training camp started today at 12:30…

  • The first few minutes focused on lots of one-on-one battle drills, and other drills.
  • They would start as a two-on-one drill that would move down the boards into a one-on-two drill. J.F Jacques rubbed Marc Pouliot out against the boards and Pouliot came up lame. Not sure if he re-aggravated his pubic/groin injury but he didn’t return to the ice.
  • Lubomir Visnovsky was on for the entire first session and looked like he should be ready to return Tuesday v. the Predators.
  • Next they focused on breakouts and the forecheck.
  • Tom Renney would stop a drill when players made a wrong read or if the forecheckers didn’t disrupt the breakout to his liking.
  • There were lots of stoppages instructing players about commitment, making the right decision and where the coach wants them to be. Anticipate correctly was another theme.
  • Bryan Pitton was in goal in place of Devan Dubnyk who will get some more starts in Springfield this weekend.
  • 1:26… They place both nets in one zone, each at the hash marks along the boards. The coach would dump the puck into a corner and then play one-on-one for about 20 seconds.
  • Staios/Brule… Nilsson/Cogliano, Penner/O’Sullivan,Gagner/Strudwick, Moreau/Pisani, Smid/Horcoff, Jacques/Souray, Stone/Stortini, Visnovsky/Gilbert, Grebeshkov/Potulny. And then they started again in different pairings.
  • Stone was only one to score with a nice move on JDD.
  • Souray and Moreau went head-to-head and Souray fell awkwardly into the end boards. He got up and was fine.
  • Strudwick was robbed on a nice pad save by Pitton, after he stepped by Nilsson.
  • Patches O’Sullivan undresses Grebeshkov but rips one off the post
  • Pitton with a sweet saucer pass sends Gilbert in all alone but he misses the net.
  • Drill ends at 1:37 and the flood with a second session to follow.

Second update from this afternoon’s skate

The second session started at 1:58…

  • The usual basic opening drill. A full-length horse shoe type drill, except three guys would come down the wing a few strides behind one another and fire shots to warm up the goalies.
  • Then they move into three-on-one rushes.
  • You get a sense that the coaches might tweak their systems a bit, because so far the system is not working with the skill-set of this team.
  • After a four-minute white board meeting they resume five-on-five play. Focusing on how they want to breakout of their zone between the top of the circles and the blueline. This is an area where the Oilers have turned over way too many pucks, so any wrong decision/play in that area results in an instant whistle.
  • There is also an emphasis on getting off the ice quickly and skating hard ALL the way to the bench. They’ve been whistled for too many men penalties more than they’d like.
  • Horcoff with the first goal on a great no-look 60-foot pass from Nilsson to spring Horcoff and Penner on a two-on-one… Horcoff beats Pitton through the five hole.
  • Next shift out Penner beats Pitton from the top of the circle blocker side.

Then they skated for about ten minutes before Quinn finished practice around 2:30. Overall nothing eventful, but it is clear that coaching staff wants more from this team. And as I mentioned earlier expect a few small tweaks in how they play when they return against Nashville on Tuesday. Not that I think those changes will make much of a difference this season, but it could help some of the younger guys improve in small areas that should be beneficial long term.