After a lockout wiped out the 2004/2005 season the NHL had to come up with a plan on how to decide the draft order for the "Sidney Sweepstakes." Sidney Crosby had been heralded as the #1 choice for the 2005 draft since he was 14 years old, and now the NHL had the dubious task of trying to come up with a "fair" process to determine which franchise would choose him first overall.

Some have suggested the actual lottery was rigged to allow Pittsburgh to draft the league’s next great player. Regardless of that fact rumour, the rules they came up with prior to the lottery were as follows:


Each team began with three balls in the lottery barrel. For every playoff appearance in the three previous seasons or No. 1 overall picks in the previous four years they lost a ball. No team would end up with less than one ball.

Under that scenario Buffalo, Columbus, NYR and Pittsburgh had the best chance of drafting Crosby with each of them having the maximum three balls.

Even though Columbus had a first overall pick in the previous four years, 2002, they didn’t lose a ball because they traded up to get that pick. Florida won the lottery that year and traded the pick to the Blue Jackets.

Anaheim, Atlanta, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, and Phoenix had two balls. Atlanta lost a ball due to the Kovalchuk pick in 2001, while the rest all lost one due to one playoff appearance in the previous three seasons.

While Boston, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, New Jersey, NYI, Ottawa, Philly, San Jose, St.Louis, Tampa, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington had one.

Florida ended up losing two balls because they won the lottery in 2002 and 2003. They ended up trading both picks away, so not only did Florida screw themselves by trading down from #1 both years, and losing both deals, they also lost two balls in the 2005 lottery. Fail.

 Here are the results of the 2005 lottery. 

1 Pittsburgh Penguins                     3 balls                      
2 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim            2 balls
3 Carolina Hurricanes                     2 balls
4 Minnesota Wild                              2 balls
5 Montreal Canadiens                     1 ball
6 Columbus Blue Jackets              3 balls
7 Chicago Blackhawks                    2 balls
8 Atlanta Thrashers                          2 balls
9 Ottawa Senators                            1 ball
10 Vancouver Canucks                      1 ball
11 Los Angeles Kings                       2 balls
12 San Jose Sharks                          1 ball
13 Buffalo Sabres                              3 balls
14 Washington Capitals                   1 ball
15 New York Islanders                      1 ball
16 New York Rangers                       3 balls
17 Phoenix Coyotes                          2 balls
18 Nashville Predators                     2 balls
19 Detroit Red Wings                        1 ball
20 Philadelphia Flyers                      1 ball
21 Toronto Maple Leafs                    1 ball
22 Boston Bruins                               1 ball
23 New Jersey Devils                       1 ball
24 St. Louis Blues                             1 ball
25 Edmonton Oilers                         2 balls
26 Calgary Flames                           2 balls
27 Colorado Avalanche                    1 ball
28 Dallas Stars                                  1 ball
29 Florida Panthers                          1 ball
30 Tampa Bay Lightning                  1 ball

* Sharks traded the 12th pick (Marc Staal), the 49th (Chad Denny) and #207 (Myles Stoesz) to the Thrashers for the #8 pick (Devin Setoguchi).

**Thrashers then traded down again. Moving the #12 pick (Marc Staal) to the Rangers for the #16 pick (Alex Bourret), and #41 pick (Ondrej Pavelec).

***Flyers traded down. They moved the #20th pick (Kenndal McArdle) to the Panthers for the 29th pick (Steve Downie), 2006 second round pick (Cory Emmerton. 41st pick).

****Capitas acquired the #27 pick (Joe Finley) from the Avalanche for the 47th pick (Tom Fritsche) and the 52nd pick (Chris Durand).

2013 DRAFT

Outisde of the sheer lunacy of this lockout, it is eerie how eight years later the consensus first overall pick is from the same hometown, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, as Crosby. Nathan McKinnon is lighting up the QMJHL with 17 goals and 26 points in 14 games. While some will try to hype a McKinnon/Seth Jones battle, Mckinnon will be the first pick next summer.

We don’t know for sure if the NHL would use the same scenario as 2005, but I don’t see any reason why they would change it. Going off of the 2005 rules the Edmonton Oilers, despite never making the playoffs, will have only one of the fifty balls in the barrel.

Seventeen teams will have one ball:


San Jose
Los Angeles
New Jersey


Six teams will have two balls:

St. Louis
Tampa Bay

Seven teams will have three balls:




Hopefully we see hockey and not another league-wide lottery, but if we do have a lottery three Canadian teams have the best odds of winning. 

The Flames have never had a top-five pick. They’ve picked sixth three times, Cory Stillman in 1992, Daniel Tkaczuk in 1997 and Rico Fata in 1998.

The Jets have had four top-five picks. They took Dale Hawerchuk 1st overall in 1981, Dave Babych 2nd overall in 1980, Stu Barnes 4th overall in 1989 and Aaron Ward 5th overall in 1991.

The Leafs have had seven top-five picks:  Wendal Clark 1st overall in 1985, Scott Thornton 3rd overall in 1989, Gary Nylund 3rd overall in 1982, Lanny McDonald 4th overall in 1973, Al Iafrate 4th overall in 1984, Luke Schenn 5th overall in 2008 and Morgan Rielly 5th overall in 2012.

Let’s hope there is hockey so we can mock the fans of the team with the worst record, rather than complain about how the NHL rigged the lottery and gave Phoenix/Quebec the first overall pick.

**Keep in mind there has to be a new CBA before they can hold the draft. In 2005 the draft was held on July 30th at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa.**

  • SmellOfVictory

    How would a dispersal draft work if lets say this lockout took down a team like Phoenix, which is swirling out there. Probably a ploy by the owners but what if it happens once the season is cancelled, please dont tell me the Oilers would get the first pick off the Coyote roster.

    • Jason Gregor

      Very unlikely they allow contraction, but if they did I’m not sure anyone knows what would happen.

      If they went off the previous season, Columbus would get the first pick because they were the worst team. Edmonton would get 2nd pick, they won lottery remember, but I don’t see the NHL contracting a team.

      • RexLibris

        If the league were to do a dispersal draft with a team like, say the Coyotes, and the Oilers got 2nd overall pick, I’d say that’d be a case of grand Ekman-Larsson-y.

        Wow, that was Principe-worthy.

        Okay, my apologies. I’d better quit before Jonathan revokes my internet privileges.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    And now the conspiracy theories begin. What a great way to turn the Columbus franchise around and allow them to pick the cold #1 ball. Canadian teams on the other hand haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the first pick.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I havent posted in a while…

    I will start off by saying I want hockey back more than anything. I am sooooooooooooooo tired of reading articles or hearing it mentioned on the news or where ever with some caveat stating “…assuming there is a season this year.”

    I quite honestly dont care for either side of this negotiation. Its become obvious hockey is a business to the owners and players and the actual joy of the game doesnt come close to their love of the all mighty dollar. I appreciate where the players are coming from and understand why they are (and even probably should) be holding out because this is going to be an ongoing thing with more and more cut-backs as the years pass if they dont hold out. The players are not doing themselves any favours however. Just yesterday I heard a quote from Toews crying poor because they just aren’t being treated fairly or paid their fair value with the recent cut backs. How does a kid so young lose touch of reality so quickly to not realize in 1 year (with his contract, endorsements, etc.) he will make more than your average collection of people will make in their lifetime. It’s simply not relate able and they should simply say nothing at all and fans will naturally support the heroes they cheer for on a nightly basis.

    It saddens me to think they are negotiating a deal that would span 5 or 6 years because I can all but guarantee there will be some sort of work stoppage again when it expires.

    In my opinion I honestly dont think either side is going to blink any time soon and dont believe there will be a season this year. On the plus side, to see that at least the Flames will be given some of the better odds at winning the Mackinnon or Jones sweepstakes. From my understanding Mackinnon is a highly touted prospect and if they win (still not great odds) I could see this being the turning point for a team very obviously in its demise. I always wonder though, have we seen Iggy and Kipper for the last time in a Flames Jersey the last game of last season?

  • T&A4Flames

    Yea, I don’t quite find this to be fair. LA having just won the lottery, shouldn’t have that good of odds to get anywhere near a top ten pick.

    3 balls for the 14 teams out of the playoffs last year in the same manner as described, thus improving the chances for teams that haven’t made the PO’s or picked 1st overall in the 3 years prior. A separate lottery for those teams that made the PO’s last year.

    Or, we could just go in reverse order for the bottom 14 teams to how the last draft went which would have CGY picking 1st overall. OH YEAH!!! Hey EDM would still pick #14, not bad considering their last few drafts.

  • That 2005 draft was rigged. How did Calgary end up picking 26 of 30 with 2 balls? They were the last place team in terms of those with the most balls (just ripe for double entendres…).

    No other way to put it than that draft was totally rigged. And now, you think Calgary and those other Canadian teams have a chance?

    Hell no. The pick will go to Phoenix (as a way of boosting their attendance with a young hot “next Sid the Kid”) or Columbus (as compensation for not having the ASG there or for just being a terrible team). No way the Flames will even pick top 5. We would’ve had a better chance playing the season.