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.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Hey Gregor,

    Interesting post regarding who won the top pick, and what they did with it over the past15 seasons. I believe however that you are suffering from ‘Gambler's Falacy’ by suggesting that "finishing 28th is better than finishing 29th". Your reasoning is based on past events that are in no way connected. In fact each draft lottery has no effect on the next one, much like flipping a coin heads 5 times in a row has no influence on the next flip (still 50/50 chance of heads or tails). Therefore Oiler fans should be hoping for the lowest finish possible so we have better odds at a #1 pick. The next question is the depth of talent in this years draft pool.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    If the Oilers end up with the first overall pick, there is no way Oilers management chooses anybody but Hall. The fan reaction to choosing anybody else would be so negative they'd practically be driven out of town. Not only that, seeing Hall and Eberle play the PP unit together and drive the offense of Team Canada had to cement their own opinions on the matter.

    • Muji 狗

      There's still a lot of time left between now and the draft. While Hall is the consensus #1 right now (and not even by a HUGE margin), it's not a guarantee. Not even close.

      e.g. Angelo Esposito was touted early on as a first overall pick. He would eventually plummet. He was drafted 18th overall while Kane went 1st.

  • Jmask5

    Imagine you flipped a coin three times, and it landed Heads, Heads, and On Its Side.

    By Gregor's logic, you're better off betting that the coin lands sideways on the next toss than betting tails. I mean, tails has never happened before, right?

    • Jason Gregor

      Actually Mike I didn't come remotely close to saying that.

      A coin landing on its side when you flip it is almost impossible.

      The 28th team has won the draft four out of 14 times…While the 29th hasn't once.

      And when the lottery goes this summer the 29th team has a staggerring 4.6% better chance to win than the 28th team. Yes, the 4.6 is so key, I'd bet on it every time. Please. At least make a sensible comparison.

      While the 29th has slightly better chance, it isn't that high that I would bet on it every time.

      Just because the 29th team has a better chance doesn't mean it will actually happen. And so far it hasn't. That is fact.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      It's not logic – it's superstition. It's the same reason why nobody wants to live on the 13th floor of a building. Past experience always dictates future tendencies.

      The bottom stair in my parents' house used to creak when you stepped on it. I always used to skip that stair because it made it easier to sneak in and out at night. To this day I skip the last step on staircases, regardless of the likelihood that I'll get in trouble (these days nil).

  • GSP

    Thanks for the reply to my post Gregor…and yes….my bad…was referring to Fowler.

    Must say, as a season ticket holder, I am getting overly frustrated with the way this team is playing. Yes I want them to finish in the bottom 5 so we can get a excellent prospect, but couldnt they at least put some effort in and give the paying fan some form of entertainment?

    Based on what I hear from fellow season ticket holders, how quiet the building was last nite and how early people bolted from the building last nite, I think management and/or Katz better step up to the plate or it could get ugly. I dont think Katz wants that given the new arena issue and taxpayer dollars.

    Any feel Gregor for how Katz is reacting to the serious dive the last 12 games?

    • stuubs

      I agree with your frustration.

      I'm a first year season ticket holder, and was stoked at the begining of the year. Then, as the year progress, we all know what is happening to the team, and sure that does affect the atmosphere of the game. However, there surely could be some improvements to the home game experience.

      At the moment, going to an Oil game is becoming a hassle, with the drive, it takes up a good 4 hours of the night a couple times a week. I'm having trouble giving away my tickets to some games.

      These days the loudest you hear the crowd, is when they are giving away Old Dutch potato chips. Surely, there are better options in creating a better Rexal experience.

  • Jmask5

    I think the 29th team should win eventually. The Odds are always the same no matter what. Just like when you flip a coin 10 times and it lands on heads all 10 ten times, it doesn't mean the next flip is surely to land on tails. Its still 50/50 no matter what.

  • Travis Dakin

    Thanks JG- It's clear in Black and white now. Bettman will see to it that the 1st pick goes to Carolina no matter what ! oh well if we fire our scouting staff prior to Draft and go with central scouting report,we will be ok. Hey- now theres an idea to save cash. Waive Horcoff, pick up his salary in the minors and fire the scouting staff and top end Brass. Utilize the central scouting report for your draft picks. I think the report cost $1000….lol…The potential of watching KLowe step up to the podium and make an off the board pick thinking he knows something no one else knows makes me feel nautious.
    Also, It will be interesting to watch how they handle the goal tending situation here going forward. Somehow, knowing the gong show operation Tambo will make a trade for a goalie !
    I sure do'nt have a warm fuzzy- sorry !!

  • Jmask5

    Great article but you really shouldn't say that 28th is better than finishing 29th. 28th has won the lottery more only by *chance*. 29th still remains a better hope for first overall.

    Anyone else think that the system is still too heavily weight to the last overall team since it's likely that they will keep the pick if someone <26th wins? Oh well…good thing the top two draft players are good this year.

  • GSP

    Hey Gregor….thanks for the number crunching…if I didnt know better this was posted by Willis under your handle..lol…I do have a question though…if the Oilers were to get the #1 pick overall….who do you think they would take? Is it a slam dunk they would take Hall or is Seguin or Cowan a possibility?

    Also…based on how Halak is playing in Montreal and the likelyhood he will be traded…do you think the Oilers would put a package together (including Deslauriers) to get him?

    • Jason Gregor

      @GSP
      @ Adam Dradinga
      @ Bookie
      @ JW

      So the 29th team has a meagre 4.6% better chance to win than the 28th team, but the 28th team has won it four more times. Are you saying that automatically the 29th team will eventually win in 4.6 more times?

      History has proven that under this formula, for reasons unexplained or probably not even possible to calculate the 28th team has had more success.

      Sure statistically the 29th team should be a better place to finish, but it is such a small margin over the 28th that right now the 28th team for reasons unexplained is the hot spot so it looks like a better bet.

      Doesn't mean it is, but history to date shows it is.

    • Jason Gregor

      I think you mean Cam Fowler the D-man, but I can tell you if they had the first pick they won't take Fowler.

      Neither Hall or Seguin is a slam dunk right now, but today, and there is six months until the draft, Hall is the guy they'd. I've spoke to a few different scouts and management types and they like both but seem to lean towards Hall today.

      I don't have a great feel about Halak from the organization. I'd have to ask.